Thieves have taken items from this boat that drifted onto the Saanich side of Cadboro Bay Road Thursday. Submitted.

Scavangers have stolen from boat stranded on Saanich beach

Boat drifted on beach Thursday as recovery efforts continue

It is not clear when a sailboat stranded in Saanich a week ago will get off a local beach.

Eric Dahli of the Dead Boat Society and Cadboro Bay Residents Association said the owner of the boat is trying to secure a tug boat to pull his 37-foot-long ketch off Cadboro Bay beach.

Heavy winds pushed the boat onto the beach on Dec. 20, where it has remained since. Two boats belonging to C-Tow, a local salvage company, attempted but failed to pull the boat into the water because of its weight.

“It’s a cement boat,” said Dahli in reference to its ferro-cement frame consisting out of sand and cement plaster covering steel wires. “It’s a very inexpensive way [of building boats],” he said.

The two C-Tow boats — each equipped with 300 horse-powers — managed to turn the boat’s bow towards the ocean to prevent further damage to the boat from incoming waves.

But the boat has also suffered damage by human hands as unknown individuals have raided it. Dahli said the individuals stole solar panels and other items. “These are just people who are taking advantage of other people’s misfortunes,” he said.

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Not knowing the full inventory of the boat when it arrived on the beach, it appears that the thieves made off with solar panels, as well as items taken from below deck, said Dahli.

While it is not clear who is responsible for the thefts, this case is not the first time, latter-day pirates walked away with possessions stolen from boats that had drifted onto the beach, he said.

“It’s a tough situation,” said Dahli. “We face it every time a boat arrives on the beach.”

Cadboro Bay has been the site of various boats washing up on either the Saanich or Oak Bay side over the years. Two boats remain on stranded on the beach — one of either side of the municipal border.

Saanich is aware of the situation, and senior staff including director of engineering Harley Machielse have been on the scene, said Dahli.

“Saanich response has been very good,” he said.


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