Saanich’s Cadboro Bay has been the site of multiple abandoned and derelict boats. Members of the Dead Boats Disposal Society recovered this boat in early 2019. (Dead Boats Disposal Society photo)

Regional district asks public to help spy sunken ships across Greater Victoria and beyond

More than 30 boats recovered since start of federal program

The regional district is counting on Greater Victoria residents to sink the number of abandoned boats.

“Abandoned and neglected vessels have a major impact on the health and safety of the capital region’s waterways, including shoreline erosion and ecosystem degradation,” said Colin Plant, chair of the Capital Regional District’s board. “If you see a derelict boat when you head out on the water this long weekend, please say something so we can potentially remove and dispose of it safely.”

Residents who spot abandoned ships can help authorities by sharing pictures of said vessels along with their locations with infoline@crd.bc.ca.

“Your help to identify and ultimately reduce the volume of abandoned boats in the future through responsible boat ownership education is vital to protecting our waterways,” said Plant.

The issue has long vexed local authorities across the Greater Victoria, including Saanich, where two areas have emerged as hot spots for abandoned and derelict boats: the Gorge Waterway and Cadboro Bay.

RELATED: Saanich recognizes Dead Boat Society lead for helping clean up Cadboro Bay

RELATED: Whose boat is it anyway? A gallery of Cadboro Bay boats

RELATED: Dead Boat Disposal team work midnight shift to pull boats from Caddy Bay

Consider Cadboro Bay, a “jurisdictional nightmare” in the words of Eric Dahli, chair of the Cadboro Bay Residents Association and Dead Boat Society.

One side of the beach falls within Saanich, the other side within Oak Bay. The ocean floor is provincial responsibility, the water above it falls within federal jurisdiction. The Gorge Waterway is equally complex.

The CRD has recently partnered with the Dead Boat Disposal Society to assess and remove abandoned boats, with funding provided in part through the federal government’s Abandoned Boat Program (ABP), which has allocated up to $450,000 for assessment and disposal of abandoned vessels and marine-related debris.

The regional district also received a separate federal grant of $50,000 to promote education and awareness. Since its start, the program has removed and disposed 33 boats across the region, with 40 more boats currently undergoing assessment.

Plant said staff work closely with municipalities, regional districts, Islands Trust and local First Nations to coordinate efforts that address abandoned boats under the federal ABP initiative.

For more information about the program, or to learn how to dispose of a boat, visit: www.crd.bc.ca/boat.


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