On Wednesday, December 30, 2020 around 3 pm, high winds caused a 30-foot Yamaha fiberglass sloop sailboat to break loose from its mooring buoy in Cadboro Bay. Breaking waves washed it ashore, restricting safe access to the beach. Its mast hovered inches above a glass-walled fence on a private property on Waring Place.
A Cadboro Bay Residents` Association (CBRA) Board Member attended the scene within the hour. CBRA contacted the Coast Guard and spoke to the owner of the Waring Place property whose fence was in danger of being damaged.
The Canada Shipping Act, R.S.C allows any person to secure a vessel in distress and then pass the cost to the vessel’s owner, however a registration number was not located on the boat and it is unclear whether the boat owner has been identified.
The homeowner contacted Cold Water Divers Inc. and arranged the removal of the boat from the beach. That task was completed at high tide the morning of December 31, 2020. The boat has been returned to a mooring buoy in Cadboro Bay. CBRA urges boat owners to routinely inspect their boats to ensure secure connection through the seasons.
In cases like this, local community members bear expense and effort in the response, sometimes without awareness by the boat owners responsible for the problem. As the winter season advances, more boat wrecks can be expected—six vessels washed onto Cadboro Bay Beach in January 2020 alone. It was eleven months before they were removed.
In this incident a local homeowner stepped up to have the boat removed immediately. When a boat is dealt with promptly the removal costs can be less than $1,500 in the simplest cases. But once a boat is damaged, sunk, or ensnared the cost to remove it can be significantly higher.
Safety risks and access impediments result for beach users, and environmental hazards result from leakage of fuel, oil, and holding tank contents, along with debris that becomes strewn across the beach and bay.
A longer-term solution to prevent boats from breaking loose and ending up on the beach is under consideration by the Municipalities of both Oak Bay and Saanich. CBRA has been meeting with both Municipalities and several options are being explored. CHEK News has also featured this incident, with video footage of the scene and an interview with CBRA.
CBRA is grateful this incident was resolved quickly, and we thank the Waring Place homeowner for removing the boat from the beach. CBRA also extends a thank-you to all community members that support CBRA in its efforts to put an end to derelict boats in Cadboro Bay.