More needs to be done to deal with abandoned vessels

I ask Saanich to commit to dealing with wrecked boats through the Receiver of Wrecks

I saw your recent article referencing removal of the Pacific Sun King and two other boats from Cadboro Bay Beach by Saanich last winter.  The three boats lay there spilling diesel, oil, syringes, styrofoam insulation and other trash for over two months.  The Pacific Sun King’s hull remained intact because it was ferro-cement. The other two boats were fiberglass; one was badly damaged, and the other destroyed, by wave-driven logs.

Over the 26 years I have lived in Cadboro Bay, other beached fiberglass vessels have been pounded to pieces by wave-driven logs. Bits of boat and other trash then spread along the entire beach, to be (mostly) collected up by volunteers.  Combers six feet tall break onto Cadboro Bay Beach during the biggest southeast blows, and a large log propelled by those waves on a king tide is a 4,000-pound battering ram. I am at the beach every day, year round, and the sea there can be ferocious.

In March this year a 27-foot fibreglass vessel named Odin washed up on Cadboro Bay Beach near Gyro Park.  Residents have asked Saanich repeatedly to do something, to no avail.  The Odin is now stripped of its rigging and hardware by scavengers, and it will likely be destroyed in the next big storm.  Then my neighbours and I will be picking up trash for months.  I have requested Saanich to place a dumpster in the parking lot to receive the expected debris.  Saanich did that for us last year when the Pacific Sun King started to come apart.

A beached vessel, or a vessel in distress is defined in the Canada Shipping Act as a “wreck”. The Canada Shipping Act permits a person (including a municipality) to secure or take possession of a wreck, and then claim against the owner the costs of so doing.  If the owner can’t be found, or abandons the boat, the salvor can apply for ownership of the vessel. After various steps are taken, ownership of the boat is transferred to the salvor.

Last winter at least 15 vessels, some good, some junk, washed up on the beach at Cadboro Bay. My observation is that boats that come ashore on Cadboro Bay and are not immediately removed by the owner are derelict.  After weeks or months in the surf such a boat  is trash, and removing trash costs money.  Hence Saanich’s reluctance to get involved.

I say it is the job of some level of government to pick up trash.  When it comes to beached boats, municipal, provincial and federal governments wring their hands and point at each other, but in the end my tax dollars will be expended cleaning up trash related to derelict boats.  I say that the most cost-effective trash-pickup occurs at the municipal level, and when dealing with derelict boats, the sooner it is undertaken, the cheaper.

Saanich, I am told, spent $50,000 removing four boats from Cadboro Bay last year.  The Pacific Sun King dragged anchor for two days before it came ashore; there was no need for it to end up on the beach. I was told it might cost $600 to pull a 25-foot boat off when it is freshly beached. Better yet, if a boat is still floating it can be towed away from the surf line and secured before it even touches the beach; either course of action is perfectly legal under the Canada Shipping Act. The question of legislative jurisdiction, ownership of sea-bottom, ownership of foreshore, simply does not arise.

So, I ask Saanich to commit to dealing with wrecked boats through the Receiver of Wrecks,  and then ask the province for whatever additional funding will be required to do so.  I also ask Saanich to contract with a marine towing firm to secure boats that have broken loose but are not yet on the beach.

Jerry Donaldson

Saanich

 

Just Posted

Victoria cannabis dispensaries are busy in their first days of legal operation

The Cloud Nine Collective and The Original FARM opened their doors on April 15

Pacific FC kickoff party scores in Victoria Inner Harbour

5-a-side soccer field, mascot reveal, jersey pick up in Bastion Square and waterfront lot Saturday

Island cycling series boosts youth race schedule

New series creates opportunity for more youth competition

Colwood wins award for Sustainable Infrastructure Replacement Plan

Plan wins Award of Excellence in Government Finance

WATCH: Movie star and PACE alum Calum Worthy talks musical theatre and his career

“American Vandal” and “Austin and Ally” actor has been returning to the program for over 20 years

POLL: How often does your family use BC Ferries?

Navigating the lineups for BC Ferries is a way of life for… Continue reading

Crime Stoppers most wanted for Greater Victoria for the week of April 16

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

$6K raised in one day’s time for family of woman gunned down in Penticton

GoFundMe launched for family of Darlene Knippelberg, to pay for funeral costs and other expenses

Seven tips to travel safely this Easter long weekend

An average of three people are killed, and hundreds more injured, each Easter long weekend in B.C.

Parents say Austrian climber missing in Banff National Park ‘lived his dream’

David Lama, Hansjorg Auer and American climber Jess Roskelley have been missing since Wednesday

Six months after legalization, high prices and supply issues boost illicit pot market

It has been six months since Canada became the first industrialized country to legalize recreational cannabis

Seattle’s 4-20 ‘protestival’ enjoys tolerance, some support – and B.C. could do the same

Seattle’s Hempfest a large-scale occasions with vendors, prominent musical acts and thousands of attendees

B.C. mountain biker sent home from hospital twice, despite broken vertebrae

Released in Maple Ridge to go home with three fractured vertebrae

Most Read