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

Group plans to remove ‘sunken, abandoned boats’ from B.C.’s shores

Under the cover of darkness a team of mariners assembled by the Dead Boat Disposal Society floated three wrecked boats off the beach of Cadboro Bay in the early hours of Friday morning.

The boats now lie, in tatters, under the sun in the Point Hope industrial shipyard where they are being sampled for chemicals and will then be torn apart and properly recycled and disposed of.

“It takes about two weeks to test them and then they’ll go to Dead Boat Heaven,” said John Roe, leader of the Dead Boat Disposal Society and who’s organized the disinterment of dozens of boats from their shallow watery graves. “The reason we were out at midnight (Thursday night, Friday morning) was to take advantage of the tide. We had divers in there for two of the boats, one which was submerged 20 feet.”

READ ALSO: ‘Gorge guy’ hangs hat on mayoral race in Esquimalt

One of the submerged boats was too rotten to follow the original plan of floating it – with air bags – to Point Hope. Instead it was taken out at Cattle Point. Another sailboat still remains on the beach near the playground of Cadboro-Gyro Park. It’s believed the owner is paying for removal which should be done shortly, though it’s been spray-painted and burgled.

The midnight mission marked the latest return of Roe, and his Dead Boat Disposal Society, which puts a new name on and old game. Roe has done more to restore the Gorge Waterway and remove wrecks from the shores of the South Island than anyone. In the 1990s Roe founded the Veins of Life Watershed Society that restored the heavily polluted Gorge to a swim-able status and sparked the $150 million restoration of Rock Bay.

Roe was part of the October, 2017 community clean up that removed about a dozen boats from both the Oak Bay and Saanich foreshores of Cadboro Bay.

Funding came from the federal government through it’s new Oceans Protection Plan. After submitting a detailed plan of removal for the boats, the OPP funded $30,000 for Thursday’s removal and the Capital Regional District funded about $10,000.

RELATED: Long abandoned boats cleared in Cadboro Bay

“The paperwork involved is just staggering,” Roe said. “It’d be far easier if people just donated them to us, turn them over before giving up on them.”

Roe started the paperwork for this removal on Jan. 21, 2018. It took a one year and three days to get it approved. But he also believes the approval process will be sped up substantively as he was working through a brand new program.

And that’s important, as the Dead Boat Disposal Society has a mandate to remove every sunken or abandoned boat from provincial shores.

“We’ve started here on the South Island but we’re moving out across the rest of B.C.,” Roe said.

Roe has 34 boats already targeted for removal. He is scheduled to survey boats in the waters of Sechelt and Ladysmith in coming weeks. They’ve identified boats in North Saanich, Brentwood, Tsehum Harbour, Sooke Basin, Galiano, and plenty of other locations and also plan to use sonar to identify sunken boats that are unseen.

“Now that we have the program in place, I understand the process of it,” Roe said. “I put it about 30 hours a week, I’m retired now, I didn’t want to sit around and whine, I’ve done this in the past, I know how to do it.

“We are gung-ho to go, there’s more to come.”

reporter@saanichnews.com


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

Esquimalt speed skating week helps province determine find fastest skater

Speed Week takes place on Dec. 17 at Archie Browning arena

Goldstream church offers free festive feast

Gordon United Church says all are welcome to attend Monday’s meal

Longtime Saanich drama group brings pirates onstage for traditional Christmas pantomime

St. Luke’s Players present Treasure Island Dec. 18 to Jan. 4

Sex workers march in downtown Victoria for Red Umbrella Day

Red umbrellas became a symbol of sex workers after an art installation in Italy

MLA Adam Olsen calls for ‘substantial’ changes in provincial economy

Green Party MLA also criticizes gap between government rhetoric and actions

VIDEO: Success of wildlife corridors in Banff National Park has advocates wanting more

Demand for more highway protection escalated after seven elk were killed by a semi-trailer near Canmore

B.C. VIEWS: Hunger does not end with the season

Despite innovations in food distribution, the need is still there in B.C. communities

Sharks beat Canucks 4-2 to snap 6-game skid

Vancouver visits Vegas on Sunday

Fans sing Canadian anthem after sound system breaks at BMW IBSF World Cup

The Canadians in attendance made sure their team and flag were honoured on the podium

VIDEO: Fire destroys Big White Ski Resort chalet

Social media eulogies peg the property, nicknamed “The Pharamacy,” as both loved and hated

Prince George RCMP use bait packages to catch porch pirates over the holidays

First-in-Canada program with Amazon looks to combat parcel theft

Nanaimo mechanical engineer creates thief tracking program

Nanaimo Thief Tracking lets users plot and share information about thefts online

Mayor wants B.C. to institutionalize severely mental ill people who are homeless

Those suffering from mental health conditions, such as schizophrenia, need specialized care, mayor says

Five things of note from Trudeau’s mandate letters to his ministers

Some marching orders come from the Liberal Party’s campaign, while others are new additions

Most Read