Skip to main content

As boating season nears, safety measures urged


With boating season upon us, people are being urged to prioritize safety before heading out on the water.

During the summer months, B.C.’s waterways are filled with recreational boats and thousands of commercial vessels, all vying for space.

According to Sean Baxter, the harbour master with the Vancouver Fraser Port Authority, some of the deep sea vessels are nearly 360 meters in length, the equivalent of up to six hockey rinks.

“Trade is growing through the port of Vancouver, and with that comes more opportunity for interaction between commercial vessels and recreational vessels,” he said.

Baxter said it’s important for recreational boat users to be vigilant while setting sail.

“Be deliberate with your actions,” he said. “Deep sea vessels can’t always see recreational vessels, especially in narrow channels. Stay to the right of the channel. Stay out of the way.”

While the water may appear calm, it can be deceiving, especially as you near the Lions Gate and Ironworkers Memorial bridges.

Sgt. Darin McDougall, with the Vancouver Police Department's marine units, said the funneling of the water through these narrow channels can create dangerous tides.

“They actually cause recreational boats to sink,” he said. “One or two a year in each of those locations.”

Danielle Wensauer, the associate director of marine safety and security with Transport Canada, said it’s crucial for people to be prepared before heading out.

She encourages recreational boat users to get their pleasure craft operator card, check the weather before leaving, make sure they have safety equipment, boat sober, and always wear a life jacket that fits.

“There are almost 500 drownings a year in Canada, with roughly 100 of those related to recreational boating,” Wensauer said. “For me, the more startling statistic is this one: (Of) all boating-related deaths, 80 per cent of those involve a person not wearing a life jacket.” Top Stories

Stay Connected