A boat falls apart after Salish Sea Industrial Services use a crane to lift it out of the water near Sooke back in September. (Dead Boat Disposal Society Photo)

Group continues to pull sunken, abandoned wrecks from Salish Sea

Dead Boats society inching towards 89 wrecks pulled from Capital Regional waters

Two more boats that were destined to sink or end up on abandoned on the beach were pulled out of Salt Spring Island waters on Monday.

That brings the total number of derelict, abandoned and wrecked boats taken out of waters in the Capital Regional District into the 70s. The latest came from Ganges harbour and Montague (Galiano).

“I actually lost count but it’s in the 70s, with maybe 18 to go before the March 31 fiscal year end,” said John Roe, organizer behind the Dead Boats Disposal Society and the man who previously led the cleanup of the Gorge Waterway.

READ MORE: 17 abandoned boats around Salt Spring to be removed with federal funding

John Roe of the Dead Boats Disposal Society.

Roe works closely with the federal government and the CRD in funding the removal of the boats. He’s identified hundreds along the B.C. coast. Salish Sea Industrial Services manages the actual removal and disposal of boats with other contractors. It can get complicated, with Cold Water Divers and other seasoned mariners recruited to find innovative ways to pull some of the boats, or pieces of boats, off the ocean floor.

“I’m sad to say we’ve only pulled in 89,300 metric tonnes of marine debris since we started,” Roe said.

For the past year the CRD has been providing 25 per cent towards the cost of removals, Roe said. He will have to wait to see if the Dead Boats Disposal Society can continue with the initiative. They’ve been able to identify and assess boats and already Roe has many more on his list as they move up-Island.

In 2018, the federal government’s Abandoned Boats Program allotted $404,350 to the Salish Sea Industrial Services to help remove wrecks from around Salt Spring.

READ ALSO: Long abandoned boats cleared from Cadboro Bay

Roe has been in Ladysmith collecting data and running surveys and is told there should be a new or renewed program, hopefully in April. Roe also has a memorandum of understanding with the regional government.

“Oftentimes I am surveying the locals who know where the sunken boats are, or which boats are abandoned,” Roe said. “Even more so I am looking for people to hand over the ownership of their boats before they are abandoned. There’s no list. There’s been a lack of governments sharing info.”

Roe likens it to B.C.’s junk car problem of the 1970s era. Cars were rotting in driveways, back yards and front yards. B.C. created a program to have derelict automobiles hauled away and, with a media campaign, it was quite successful.

“I never thought, in my whole life, I’d sit down in front of the computer long enough to do what I’ve done,” Roe said.

Next up are boats in Brentwood Bay (one that’s been sunk three years), one in Burgoyne on Salt Spring, one in Bedwell (Pender), and five more out in Sooke.

READ ALSO: Swim aims to cleanup Gorge’s reputation

Roe is also adding a commercially licensed drone operator to assist in finding the find vessels.

“We’ve also invested in a sonar, and all in all, our work is getting faster and more efficient,” Roe said. “We do everything, but it’s the participation from the community that’s important.”

reporter@oakbaynews.com

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

 

The Castle Finn live-aboard on Salt Spring after it was burned. The hull was removed last week. (Dead Boat Disposal Society Photo)

Just Posted

“Isolation is normal for us,” says Saanich dad with cystic fibrosis

Gordon Head man says now’s the time to approve life-saving cystic fibrosis drug

Victoria business still busy as people turn to books while in self-isolation

Russell Books says certain genres have gained popularity during COVID-19

Farmers’ markets still open in Greater Victoria

The Moss Street and Esquimalt Farmers’ markets are scheduled to take place, with slight variations

Oak Bay Police Chief Const. Andy Brinton passes the torch this summer

Deputy Chief Ray Bernoties to take over position in September

Victoria Police see new trends in calls due to COVID-19

Police link jump in domestic, mental health calls to pandemic

Trudeau announces 75% wage subsidy for small businesses amid COVID-19

This is up from the previously announced 10 per cent wage subsidy

COVID-19: A message from the publisher

We will be making some changes to our print editions during these unprecedented times

Morning world update: Cases surge past 600,000; positive news in Germany

Spain suffers its deadliest day as Germany considers April 20 to possibly loosen restrictions

VIDEO: Penguins roam empty halls of Vancouver Aquarium

COVID-19 has forced the Vancouver Aquarium to close access to guests – leaving room for its residents

COVID-19: Qualicum Beach youngster gets car parade for his sixth birthday

Friends get creative after party cancelled due to ongoing pandemic

Kids get back to learning in B.C., online

Ministry of Education rolls out new tool for school

Nanaimo RCMP ask for help locating 17-year-old girl believed to be with 36-year-old man

Mary Cyprich, missing since Thurday, might be in company of Force Forsythe

67 more B.C. COVID-19 cases, two more deaths in Vancouver region

Positive tests found in Surrey, Langley long-term care facilities

‘Now is not the time to bag that peak’: BCSAR manager discourages risky outdoor adventures

Call volumes are not going down, even as the COVID-19 pandemic persists

Most Read