Representatives from Boating BC, the Vancouver Fraser Port Authority and BC Ferries have announced a new collaboration aimed at educating recreational boaters and small commercial vessel operators about how to share the waterways with deep sea vessel traffic. The initiative, which will include a province-wide advertising campaign is made possible through a grant from Transport Canada and addresses increasing near miss situations between the smaller boats and the large commercial vessels.
“British Columbia is home to some of the greatest waterways in the world,” says Boating BC executive director Bruce Hayne, “and as the number of recreational boaters continues to increase, we all have to be aware that we share the waterways – particularly in the southern coastal areas – with thousands of large commercial vessels. As recreational and small commercial operators there is an obligation to understand and adhere to the rules of the waterways.”
“Over the years we’ve seen a growing trend of recreational boaters in all areas of the port, at the same time, ships continue to grow larger meaning port waters are getting busier. As the summer boating season ramps up and more people are sharing the waterways, it’s more critical than ever to follow safe boating practices to ensure everyone’s safety on the water,” said Sean Baxter, Manager Marine Operations and Assistant Harbour Master at the Vancouver Fraser Port Authority. “It’s important to know that a larger ship cannot deviate from its course or come to a full stop in a short distance. Knowledge of safe boating practices and understanding your responsibilities on the water are key to ensuring your outing is enjoyable and safe.”
BC Ferry Services Acting Director of Nautical Standards Andrew Wetmore pointed out that large vessels such as those in the BC Ferries fleet require long distances to stop, “further, it can be dangerous when recreational boaters don’t consider the limited maneuverability of a BC Ferries vessel, especially through the narrow channels and waterways along this coast, like those in the Gulf Islands, Howe Sound, and the approaches to our terminals. It’s critical that pleasure craft operators and small commercial operators understand the limitations of larger vessels as well as the shared responsibility for safe navigation.”
The campaign is slated to begin immediately as British Columbia enters the height of the recreational boating season and run throughout the summer months.