Crews rescued two Americans travelling on this boat to Orcas Island. It was starting to sink after it had hit a reef. (Kevin Menz/News Staff)

Crews rescued two Americans travelling on this boat to Orcas Island. It was starting to sink after it had hit a reef. (Kevin Menz/News Staff)

Father and son from U.S. rescued after yacht strikes reef near Oak Bay

Coast guard, harbour authority respond

A father and son from the U.S. are thankful for the response of the Canadian Coast Guard after their boat hit a reef and started to sink in the waters south of Oak Bay.

“The coast guard did a fine job,” 71-year-old John Dann said Wednesday, standing on a beach near Oak Bay Marina, where crews beached the yacht.

He and his 30-year-old son, Chris Dann, were returning to John’s home on Orcas Island, in Washington, after spending a few days in Victoria. Their boat hit rocks at Mouat Reef, near Oak Bay’s Gonzales Point, according to a Canadian Coast Guard Environmental Response representative on scene at the marina.

Chris, who’s from San Francisco, said water quickly started to fill the boat.

“It really jolted the boat at first,” he said. “We weren’t sure if we were taking on water or not, but within a few minutes it was starting to fill up with water.”

Three coast guard boats and a boat from the Greater Victoria Harbour Authority responded to the call, which authorities received at around 9 a.m.

The coast guard arrived within minutes.

“It was a little bit scary — especially when we saw the water coming on the boat — but the coast guard responded really quickly,” Chris said. “We were impressed by that. The coast guard was there within five or six minutes.”

Neither father nor son was injured and the pair appeared to be in OK spirits, despite the circumstances.

The trip was Chris’s first time in the yacht, and, as his dad joked, “probably his last.”

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The coast guard representative who spoke with Oak Bay News described the response process as “methodical.” Crews prioritize the safety of life, the safety of the boat, the safety of the environment, the economy and infrastructure, he said.

A small spot of fuel was visible after the crash, but coast guard workers plugged the fuel tank, he noted.

Salvage crews arrived at the beach around noon, and the crew and coast guard workers spent much of the afternoon pumping out water from the yacht.

The coast guard representative wasn’t sure, at the time the salvage efforts started, where the boat would be towed — either across the rocks to the marina or to Sidney. He said where the boat could be moved would be determined after assessing the damage.

Alcohol is not believed to be a factor, he said.


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