A note of frustration creeps into the voice of Eric Dahli.
The president of the Cadboro Residents Association and a member of the Dead Boat Society stands next to one of the four boats that drifted on land within the span of few days in late January. Standing on a double-keel, its bow points into a grey sky in late January. Large patches of dark-green algae blotch its red-and-white hull. Anyone daring enough to step into cabin will have to climb over a collection of garbage.
“We [the Dead Boat Society] have reached out to everybody — social media, the Yacht club, the Coast Guard,” he said in describing efforts to find the boat’s owner. “We are running out of time. If we can’t find the owner soon, we are going to complete the process of taking ownership of this derelict vessel through a federal program called the [Receiver of Wrecks]. We will then take ownership of it, and remove it.”
Under the provisions of the program, salvors stand to receive reasonable compensation for their salvage costs and expenses from the owner of the boat. If the owner cannot be found, the salvage award may be the wreck, or all or part of the proceeds of its sale, but may not exceed the value of the wreck.
Dahli said time is of the essence when it comes to hauling this repeat offender off the beach. Should waves and wind get hold off it and smash it against shoreline, salvaging costs will get higher, he said.
The boat is the last of the three boats that stranded following the heavy winds that roiled the Greater Victoria region in the third week of January, starting Saturday, Jan. 21. By the morning of Sunday, Jan. 22, two boats (including the remaining holdout) had washed up. The other arrival that morning was a 40-foot long sailing boat with a live-aboard-owner. Three days later (Jan.25) it was back in the water.
A second, unoccupied sail boat also stranded near Ten Mile Point during the storms. The out-of-town owner received notice of what had happened, returned to the area, and helped return the vessel to the water on Jan 25.
The bad weather during the third week of January also led to a sinking of another boat in Cadboro Bay.
So what accounted for these incidents? In the case of the 40-foot long sailing boat, the owner believed he had done enough to secure his vessel against the winds by dropping two anchors. “He thought he had enough anchor and chain,” said Dahli. “Obviously, he didn’t.”
As for the second sailing point, its anchor line had been rubbing against the hull, and eventually gave away under the conditions, he said.
Less is clear about the two other boats.
These incidents won’t be their last of their kind, and confirm the need to bring some order to Cadboro Bay, said Dahli.