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

Just Posted

Woman charged in Saanichton stabbing

One man treated for injuries, released from hospital following Friday assault

Sooke’s First Nations have Iroquois links

References to the proud Iroquois race tend to make one think of… Continue reading

Avid Victoria cyclist’s legacy bike ride helps fund end-of-life care

2019 Denis Muloin Ride for Palliative Care invites cyclists for May 26 fundraiser

Funnyman coming to the West Shore

Comedy and television staple Billy Gardell performs at Elements Casino

Police-run Youth for Change and Inclusion camp bids fond farewell to tireless directors

Founder Sgt. Paul Brookes has run camp empowering youth and creating leaders for 16 years

‘Teams that win are tight’: B.C. Lions search for chemistry at training camp

The Lions added more than 50 new faces over the off-season, from coaching staff to key players

Growing wildfire prompts evacuation of High Level, Alta.

Chuckegg Creek fire has been burning for several day, but grew substantially Sunday

Top women’s hockey player Natalie Spooner coming to B.C.

Natalie Spooner special guest at annual Grindstone charity weekend in Kelowna

Take-home drug testing kits latest pilot to help curb B.C.’s overdose crisis

Researchers look to see if fentanyl testing could be a useful tool for those who use drugs alone

Facebook takes down anti-vaxxer page that used image of late Canadian girl

Facebook said that the social media company has disabled the anti-vaccination page

Search crews rescue kids, 6 and 7, stranded overnight on Coquitlam mountain

Father and two youngsters fall down a steep, treacherous cliff while hiking Burke Mountain

Raptors beat Bucks 118-112 in 2OT thriller

Leonard has 36 points as Toronto cuts Milwaukee’s series lead to 2-1

Rescue crews suspend search for Okanagan kayaker missing for three days

71-year-old Zygmunt Janiewicz was reported missing Friday

B.C. VIEWS: Reality of our plastic recycling routine exposed

Turns out dear old China wasn’t doing such a great job

Most Read