New channel buoys – a new management regime?

Skookum Yacht Services at work

July 26, 2022 – The first of 14 new False Creek channel markers were carefully placed by a marine installation crew based on Granville Island.

The markers should inaugurate a new chapter in Vancouver’s long search for a better way to ensure a safe and sustainable marine environment. But many questions remain.

For the last couple of years, boat owners have increasingly ignored the existing navigation channel, despite being clearly marked on marine charts. And some of the old buoys went on “walkabout” – some skippers tied their boats to the markers instead of putting their anchors down, and were either pulled out of their charted location, or became unmoored from the seabottom. So there’s been a kind of anarchy as some boat owners just ignored maritime laws designed to keep the channel free of obstructions and reduce possible collisions.

So the first question: will boat owners need to be “encouraged” to stop anchoring in the nav channel, once it is fully restored by the new buoys?

Over time the buoys ended up ashore.

And secondly, will the current anchoring permit system be revised? It wasn’t only the channel markers that went on ‘walkabout’ – registration of visiting vessels under a permit system pretty much stopped, and so did enforcement. But with the new channel markers, that may change.

For some time now, the City Leadership Team – senior managers at 12th & Cambie – have been wrestling with how to bring some order to False Creek. It is rumored that a new anchoring regime will shortly be announced, along with funds to tow and empound vessels that fall afoul of the regulations.

But none of that would make any difference as long as the channel markers were either out of their charted locations, or had disappeared. One part of the system that keeps False Creek a safe place to navigated is soon to be restored – perhaps the rest is soon to follow.

Navigation channel marked in darker blue

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