Overflow anchorage sites to be minimum 800m off Gabriola shores

Derek Kilbourn

Sounder News

Tuesday, July 14 2015

Kevin Obermeyer, CEO for the Pacific Pilotage Authority (PPA), provided additional information this past week about anchorages being proposed for designation off Gabriola’s northeast shoreline.

The northernmost site is in line with the south end of Sandwell Provincial Park; the southernmost is just north of Dragon’s Lodge.

Obermeyer said the anchorages will be at least 0.45 nautical miles from shore (over 800m) with most of the anchorages they are over 0.7 nautical miles from shore (over 1,200 m).

“The issue in the Gulf Islands was the all-round proximity of dangers. The proposed anchorages [off Gabriola] offer a straight line out to deep open water should the vessel need to depart the anchorage in a hurry.”

The Pacific Pilotage Authority is a federal Crown corporation with a mandate to provide a safe and efficient marine pilotage service on the west coast of Canada. It provides marine pilots to the ships which navigate the waters up and down BC’s coast, in particular to those that enter Port Vancouver.

According to Obermeyer, over the past several years there has been an increase in the number of vessels anchoring.

As a result of this, the PPA received complaints from residents who live in close proximity of some of the Gulf Islands’ designated anchorages who had never previously had ships anchored in their areas, even though those locations were designated anchorages.

Other sites in the Gulf Islands have had changes made as a result of a review of the previously existing anchorages.

The number of anchorages in Plumper Sound remains at five but the positions have been shifted, with one of the anchor positions allocated for emergency use.

The number of anchorages in Cowichan Bay has been reduced to six (from eight) and the positions have been shifted.

The number of anchorages in Ladysmith has been reduced to six (from seven) and the positions have been shifted.

These 17 sites are on a trial basis for 12 months, commencing May 21, 2015. A review will be conducted on completion of the 12-month trial period.

Nine more sites have been left unchanged in Houston Pass and Trincomali Channel (between Salt Spring and Galiano Islands).

Should the five sites beside Gabriola be approved, there would be 33 anchorages within the Islands Trust area for ships to set anchor while awaiting entrance to Port Vancouver.