Important notice for navigation and officers of the watch

Today more and more navigational decisions are made based on electronic readouts.

Lately, our Lifeboats have become aware that some AIS targets are showing inaccurate information. Track-course, speed, CPA and position can be up to ¾ mile out. In other words, the target is not where it appears to be. Therefore, and following normal professional procedures, no collision avoidance decision must be made based solely on AIS information, but should be verified by radar. This warning is also based on consultation with other commercial vessels and the Coast Guard Victoria Traffic Service.

The worst affected targets appear to be those fitted with Class ‘B’ AIS system.

Fraser and Delta Lifeboats Joint Training – Sep 2020

Regular Saturday training was conducted on 19 Sep 2020 with both Delta and Fraser Lifeboats exercising together.

After proceeding down to Sand Heads, a pre-exercise briefing was held aboard Delta L/B.

Once again, both lifeboats would practice station keeping and formation turns together as would be required in a real search.

While it looks very simple on a blackboard, it is much more difficult in reality and requires good teamwork and a lot of discipline to ensure an area to be searched is successfully covered.

Both lifeboats exercised at being the ‘guide’ passing required course, speed and spacing. This always proves to be a challenging but rewarding exercise.

It is hoped that the exercise will be expanded to include other SAR units in the near future.

While transiting back to Ladner, the Delta L/B received a radio hail from a Seaspan rail ferry concerned about commercial traffic being encumbered by the mass of recreational fishing vessels at the mouth of the river. Coast Guard Radio also monitored and passed information to the ferry suggesting the captain call DFO for action.

Just another hazard that could result in a tragic accident because of those who do not follow logical rules and common sense.

Delta L/B Night RHIB Training – Sep 2020

On Thurs 17 Sep 2020, while smoke from fires in the U.S. continued to blanket B.C., the evenings training saw the Delta Lifeboat conduct coxswain, radar, and RHIB training.

The RHIB was sent away to test for radar tracking as it had been fitted with a new radar reflector. Being a small rubber boat, the RHIB had previously only shown up as a small target. A much-improved echo was now recorded at 2 miles.

Owing to very high tide, there was a huge amount of wood from 60-foot trees to small pieces. Unfortunately, the RHIB ran over a piece of debris in the dark and damaged the propeller, requiring a new one to be ordered. This was the first time it had been damaged in over 10 years!

New recruits also spent time as lookouts and helmsman introducing them to correct reporting and procedures. We are grateful for their enthusiasm.

Delta L/B Rescue at Steveston Jetty – Sep 2020


While normal Saturday training was being conducted off Sand Heads the Delta Lifeboat monitored a radio call to coast guard at 11:53 from the MV Double Eagle.  They reported an 18’ runabout with 6 people on board broken down and swept over the Steveston Jetty.  The weather on scene was wind East at 10 knots, a slight chop and visibility approximately 5 cables in heavy smoke.  The Double Eagle would stay on scene but would not attempt to cross the jetty to assist.

Delta L/B was anchored on the north side of the jetty at Sand Heads having just completed a firefighting exercise.

A call to Victoria Coast Guard Radio advised Delta L/B would respond.  The position of the disabled vessel was given as 1 mile above Sand Heads.

Weighing anchor, Delta L/B proceeded NE along the north side of the jetty as far as the shoaling water would allow.

The subject vessel was plotted on radar at still 1.4 NM away after travelling just over a mile, so before running aground, Delta L/B anchored and launched her RHIB.

Directed in by radio, the RHIB was on scene at 12:27.   It was decided that Delta would proceed back up the river side while the RHIB towed the subject vessel through a gap in the jetty to meet up with Delta L/B, which was achieved at 13:05.

With the vessel in tow and the RHIB recovered Delta L/B proceeded to Steveston.

The subject vessel and 6 survivors were landed at the Steveston boat ramp at 13:50 and the incident closed.

Delta L/B proceeded and secured at the Ladner Station at 14:45.


Labour Day Long Weekend Safety Patrols – Sep 2020

Both the Fraser and Delta Lifeboats conducted safety patrols over parts of the Labour Day weekend.

On Saturday 05 Sep 2020, both were on hand in the Fraser River as many recreational vessels left either for the weekend or to fish off Sand Heads.

Whilst maintaining a state on readiness, it was decided to conduct joint search pattern training concentrating on coordinated turns while maintaining a tight formation. This is so important when involved in multi-vessel searches to ensure no gaps are left in the search area.

Monday being the last day of the holiday, it was anticipated that a large number of boats would be returning from the Gulf Islands. And so, both Lifeboats again deployed on safety patrol in the Fraser Estuary. The Fraser Lifeboat patrolled from 09:00 till 14:00 with the Delta out from 12:00 – 17:00. Also, of concern was a wind warning for the area.

Delta ran down to Sand Heads against a 15 to 20-knot wind when it was decided to anchor to conserve fuel close to the S6 buoy where a lookout and radio watch was maintained as returning traffic was increasing.

At 15:00 Delta L/B was tasked by the Rescue Centre to search for two kayaks in trouble off the Steveston Harbour entrance – one person was reported in the water.

The anchor was quickly raised and at best speed a course set for Steveston. An ETA of 30 minutes was passed to JRCC.

The Hovercraft was also tasked with an ETA of 20 minutes. In fact, Delta L/B was on the scene in 24 minutes having beaten some of the currents by navigating close to the shallow sandbanks on the south side of the channel.

Arriving on scene just behind the hovercraft, Delta was tasked to search the harbour entrance, docks and floats to see if the subject kayaks had made it ashore.

Meanwhile, the hovercraft searched along Shady Island before crossing over the river to the Albion Dike where the kayaks and the two adults were found – safe but a bit shaken by the strength of the current and sea state. They were nowhere near their reported position.

The hovercraft transported the rescued adults to Captains Cove where they were landed. Delta’s crew had performed well and done all they had been tasked to do. After being stood down, the patrol was resumed until 17:00.

A sad footnote to this tale is that although perhaps 20 boats had passed through the area, no one responded to the Pan-Pan – perhaps food for thought? But that’s why we do what we do.