The Dead Boat Society was back at it this week hauling derelict and abandoned boats from the Salish Sea.
Combining money and resources from a long list of partners, the crew pulled out one boat from Bedwell Harbour at Pender Island, five from Port Browning, two from Montague Harbour at Galiano Island and a dock full of marine debris from Hawkins Island (an uninhabited island between Prevost and Mayne islands that hosted an oyster farm).
John Roe helped found the Dead Boat Society three years ago. He credits MP Sheila Malcolmson for Nanaimo-Ladysmith, who tabled the bill with the federal Liberal government. The society has accessed grant money and have removed 60 abandoned boats submerged and beached in the Capital Regional District.
“We were out slaying Dead Boats,” said Roe, who is in the paperwork process of approval to remove another 39 derelicts.
Roe lives near the Gorge in Saanich and led the Gorge Waterway’s restoration with the Veins of Life Watershed Society in the 1990s.
“We tried to do this in the ‘90s and 2000s and there was no interest in it at the government level, so the problem got worse. Thankfully, the Trudeau government did it. Malcolmson forced the issued. It was a great day on Pender Island, lots of people expressed their gratitude.”
Salish Sea Industrial Services and Ralmax worked together with a crane to remove the boats, some on shore and some submerged, and haul them away. Transport Canada and the Capital Regional District were also key in making the effort happen.
There were many advisors on Pender Island that assisted in inventories and finding owners, Roe said.
“The beach at Port Browning is looking a lot better.”
One 25-foot fibre glass boat is the equivalent to 480,000 plastic straws, at least by weight, Roe noted.
Under this program 100 dead boats will be removed and disposed of in the Salish Sea. However, there are an estimated 2,300 more in in B.C. waters. That’s a conservative number based on previous inventories.
“Hopefully we’ll get to 100 this year.”