The oldest yacht club in Western Canada is the newest member of an award-winning green program.
Royal Victoria Yacht Club’s marina in Oak Bay earned a four-anchor certification in Georgia Strait Alliance’s Clean Marine BC program for its commitment to environmentally sustainable operations.
“Clean Marine BC is a marina eco-certification program that works with marinas, boatyards and yacht clubs on environmental best practices to protect the marine environment,” said Michelle Young, co-ordinator for the Georgia Strait Alliance program.
“The Strait of Georgia is rich with marine life but they also face a lot of threats. It’s a very heavily populated area with lots of personal and business uses and industrial uses. We work very hard to protect marine species habitat from threats.”
Improvements at RVYC started as far back as 2007 with environmental systems.
“Environmental stewardship is a core value of the Royal Victoria Yacht Club, and getting involved with the Clean Marine BC program was the next step on our journey of continual environmental improvement,” said Simon Gatrell, RVYC’s general manager.
“We are proud to be a part of the Clean Marine certified marinas, yacht clubs and boatyards, setting a precedent for environmental stewardship in the Strait of Georgia and beyond,” he said.
“We all use the Strait of Georgia waters and B.C. waters so it’s the right thing to do to look after those waters for our future generations.”
In her third year of Camosun’s Environmental Technology program, Tasha Olekshy landed a dream summer co-op job polishing the final pieces for RVYC to achieve Clean Marine status.
“Everyone here has been so supportive and right on board with Clean Marine from day one,” Olekshy said. “As a summer student coming in to do some environmental, work, that’s basically your dream scenario.”
Olekshy said key areas built on this summer include a new water treatment system to filter water from the boat washdown areas, boosting the number of spill kits in the area and installing signs reminding users to compost and more to “do their part to be stewards of the strait.”
As part of the program, site verification audits are required to obtain certification for anchor ratings that range from one through five and remain current for three years when re-certification is required. RVYC received four anchors.
“We want to congratulate the Royal Victoria Yacht Club on its decision to implement the measures required to achieve four anchors and become an environmentally sound marina,” said Christianne Wilhelmson, executive director of Georgia Strait Alliance. “Reducing the negative impacts on our waters through operational improvements at RVYC’s Cadboro Bay marina supports all our efforts to keep the Strait of Georgia healthy and that makes a positive difference to our communities, our marine life and our economy.”
Founded in 1892, RVYC joins 22 other yacht clubs, marinas, boatyards and harbour authorities flying the CMBC flag hoisted by Olekshy and RVYC Commodore Dunnery Best on Friday.
“It means a lot, I think to the general public as well as the members of the yacht club,” Gatrell said. “It proves that we’re doing our part to look after these waters.”