Coast Guard floats a new solution to problem of abandoned boats in B.C.
The Canadian government’s inventory of wrecked, abandoned or hazardous boats includes a U.S. warship, a derelict floating McDonald’s known as the McBarge, a human-smuggling ship and an old B.C. Ferries vessel rotting on the Fraser River.
But the most problematic aren’t the well-known vessels with colourful histories — it’s the fleet of mystery craft that have dogged the Canadian Coast Guard and Transport Canada for years.
The inventory has more than 1,700 entries, about 70 per cent of them in B.C., ranging from abandoned dinghies to yachts and fishing vessels. Many have opaque ownership, testing the skills of coast guard investigators. Some are of unknown origin. Others, said one wharf keeper, may have been abandoned by owners who took to the water during the “COVID era” but found themselves unable to keep up with expenses.
Now there’s new impetus to putting owners’ names to the vessels.
In late June, the coast guard imposed its first fine under the Wrecked, Abandoned or Hazardous Vessels Act, a 2019 law that empowers authorities to penalize owners of boats that are hazardous to marine environments and public safety.