A 30-foot sailboat that broke loose from its mooring and washed ashore in Cadboro Bay on Dec. 30 has been removed by a homeowner whose property was nearly damaged by the vessel.
Around 3 p.m. on Wednesday, the large Yamaha sloop sailboat came loose amid high winds and the breaking waves pushed it onto the beach, said Eric Dahli, president of the Cadboro Bay Residents’ Association (CBRA).
The boat came to rest on the shore – restricting beach access and putting a private property at risk when the mast was left hanging over a glass fence outside a Waring Place home that backs onto the beach. The CBRA and the coast guard were alerted.
The homeowner whose fence was at risk was also contacted and they then called Cold Water Divers Inc. – a B.C.-based diving company that offers towing service – and arranged to have the boat pulled off the beach, Dahli said.
The removal was completed the next morning at high tide and the sailboat was returned to a mooring buoy in Cadboro Bay.
Dahli pointed out that the Canada Shipping Act allows any person to secure “a vessel in distress” and then pass the costs on to the owner. However, he noted that no registration number was found on the boat and that it’s unclear if the owner of the boat was identified.
Derelict boats are an ongoing issue in Cadboro Bay and Dahli said that the CBRA is urging boat owners to “routinely inspect their boats to ensure secure connection” in every season.
When unsecured boats wash up on the beach, the cost to remove them often falls on the locals and sometimes the owner isn’t even aware an incident occurred. He noted that when dealt with right away, the removal of a wayward boat can cost about $1,500 but once it’s damaged, caught on something or sunk, the cost goes up considerably.
In the most recent incident, the Waring Place homeowner stepped up to foot the removal bill, but with more months of winter weather to come, it’s likely more vessels will end up on the beach. In January 2020, six craft washed up on the shore and weren’t removed until 11 months later, Dahli said.
The CRBA is hoping owners take proactive steps because not only do derelict boats pose safety risks to beach-users, but leaks and debris are a hazard to the environment.
According to Dahli, the community association is working with Oak Bay and Saanich to come up with a long-term solution to prevent boats from ending up on the beach bordering both municipalities.