Dead Boat Disposal team work midnight shift to pull boats from Caddy Bay

Group plans to remove ‘sunken, abandoned boats’ from B.C.’s shores

Under the cover of darkness a team of mariners assembled by the Dead Boat Disposal Society floated three wrecked boats off the beach of Cadboro Bay in the early hours of Friday morning.

The boats now lie, in tatters, under the sun in the Point Hope industrial shipyard where they are being sampled for chemicals and will then be torn apart and properly recycled and disposed of.

“It takes about two weeks to test them and then they’ll go to Dead Boat Heaven,” said John Roe, leader of the Dead Boat Disposal Society and who’s organized the disinterment of dozens of boats from their shallow watery graves. “The reason we were out at midnight (Thursday night, Friday morning) was to take advantage of the tide. We had divers in there for two of the boats, one which was submerged 20 feet.”

READ ALSO: ‘Gorge guy’ hangs hat on mayoral race in Esquimalt

One of the submerged boats was too rotten to follow the original plan of floating it – with air bags – to Point Hope. Instead it was taken out at Cattle Point. Another sailboat still remains on the beach near the playground of Cadboro-Gyro Park. It’s believed the owner is paying for removal which should be done shortly, though it’s been spray-painted and burgled.

The midnight mission marked the latest return of Roe, and his Dead Boat Disposal Society, which puts a new name on and old game. Roe has done more to restore the Gorge Waterway and remove wrecks from the shores of the South Island than anyone. In the 1990s Roe founded the Veins of Life Watershed Society that restored the heavily polluted Gorge to a swim-able status and sparked the $150 million restoration of Rock Bay.

Roe was part of the October, 2017 community clean up that removed about a dozen boats from both the Oak Bay and Saanich foreshores of Cadboro Bay.

Funding came from the federal government through it’s new Oceans Protection Plan. After submitting a detailed plan of removal for the boats, the OPP funded $30,000 for Thursday’s removal and the Capital Regional District funded about $10,000.

RELATED: Long abandoned boats cleared in Cadboro Bay

“The paperwork involved is just staggering,” Roe said. “It’d be far easier if people just donated them to us, turn them over before giving up on them.”

Roe started the paperwork for this removal on Jan. 21, 2018. It took a one year and three days to get it approved. But he also believes the approval process will be sped up substantively as he was working through a brand new program.

And that’s important, as the Dead Boat Disposal Society has a mandate to remove every sunken or abandoned boat from provincial shores.

“We’ve started here on the South Island but we’re moving out across the rest of B.C.,” Roe said.

Roe has 34 boats already targeted for removal. He is scheduled to survey boats in the waters of Sechelt and Ladysmith in coming weeks. They’ve identified boats in North Saanich, Brentwood, Tsehum Harbour, Sooke Basin, Galiano, and plenty of other locations and also plan to use sonar to identify sunken boats that are unseen.

“Now that we have the program in place, I understand the process of it,” Roe said. “I put it about 30 hours a week, I’m retired now, I didn’t want to sit around and whine, I’ve done this in the past, I know how to do it.

“We are gung-ho to go, there’s more to come.”

reporter@saanichnews.com


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

North Saanich man fears tougher moorage policies could cost him his home

Stewart Jackson has been living on a boat off Lillian Hoffar Park for about four years

Grave site at Ross Bay Cemetery vandalized overnight

Graffiti found on grave of Sir James Douglas

Thief robs Saanich liquor store at gunpoint, takes cash register

Police ask for public’s help with ongoing investigation

RCMP seek man who allegedly robbed Langford liquor store with a gun

Man described as six to six foot four tall, with slim build and light-coloured skin

Young Island skiers pick up medals at second Teck BC Cup in Prince George

Strathcona Nordic Ski Club athletes nabbed podium finishes

POLL: Do you support the proposed changes for ICBC?

Tuesday’s provincial budget predicted a shift from shortfall to surplus in wake… Continue reading

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers wanted list for the week of Feb. 18

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

Health officials confirm sixth COVID-19 case in B.C.

Woman remains in isolation as Fraser Health officials investigate

Study says flu vaccine protected most people during unusual influenza season

Test-negative method was pioneered by the BC Centre for Disease Control in 2004

Saskatchewan and B.C. reach championship round at Scotties

British Columbia’s Corryn Brown locked up the last berth in Pool B

Resident discovers five discarded hog heads in Vancouver Island ditch

WARNING: Graphic image may be upsetting to some readers

Canadian Premier League announces 2020 home dates for eight-team circuit

Pacific FC hosts FC Edmonton on April 11 in Langford

B.C. lawyer, professor look to piloting a mental-health court

In November, Nova Scotia’s mental-health court program marked 10 years of existence

Most Read