Delta Lifeboat Refit – Apr-May 2020

The Delta Lifeboat carried out her annual refit at Shelter Island from the 15th April to the 14th May.  This year’s work involved removing the after deck, removal of old steel water tanks and installing two new 165-gallon stainless steel tanks.

Inspection of the ‘A’ bracket bolts and supports found degradation and so new pads and bolts were installed.  This was a huge job only made easier by the fact that the aft deck was removed.

The whole vessel was sanded, filled and painted from the keel up to the main deck.

The main work was superbly conducted by our friends at Commodore’s Boat Ltd. and by our own volunteers – Bjorn Andersson, Brian VanVliet, Tim Carey, Brian Cook, and John Horton.   ‘BZ’ to you all.

Care was taken to keep social distance and to sanitize at all times.

City of Delta recognizes CLI volunteers

In April 2020, CLI members were recognized by City of Delta Mayor George Harvie for being Emergency Program volunteers.

The CLI provides marine services to the City of Delta for search and rescue, public education, and other on-water services. We support Delta Fire, Police, and Engineering services as required.

Delta Lifeboat Supports March 2020 Roe Herring Fishery

March is herring time when the fishing fleet gathers in the Strait of Georgia for the roe herring fishery.

Once again, the ‘Delta Lifeboat’ with her all-volunteer crew onboard sailed from Ladner Harbour to join the fleet in the fishing grounds off the east coast of Vancouver Island between Nanaimo and Comox.  Up to 12 Delta-based fish boats take part in this fishery.

This year’s quota of 8,000 tons was down from the 18,000 tons quota for 2019.  Close to 90,000 tons of herring were estimated to be in the area during the fishery.

The Delta Lifeboat patrolled and anchored with the fleet out on the grounds where they could respond immediately to any distress calls.  During the four days of concentrated fishing, which went on day and night, the lifeboat crew responded to two separate requests for medivac of two fishers from different boats, both with serious hand injuries.  The Delta Lifeboat crew provided first aid on-route to Comox where they were transported to the Comox hospital.

A may-day call from a fishing vessel sinking by the bow brought the Delta Lifeboat into action again.  They were alongside the distressed vessel in minutes where the situation was stabilized.

These incidents proved the value of the Canadian Lifeboat Institution (CLI) having one of its lifeboats at sea along with the fishing fleet, monitoring radios and maintaining visual watch around the clock rather than being tied up in harbour waiting for a call.  In all three of these incidents, the lifeboat was on-scene in under five minutes.  Grateful acknowledgement of the Delta Lifeboat crew’s efforts was expressed by Worksafe BC, The Canadian fishing Company and the Canadian Coast Guard.

With the fishery coming to the end, the Delta Lifeboat returned to its station in Ladner Harbour at 15:00 on March 12th.

To all the lifeboat crew ‘BZ’ (Bravo Zulu – a naval term for Well Done).

Towing sailboat from Point Roberts, WA, USA – Feb 2020

When two CLI members found themselves at short notice to move to Belgium, they generously donated their 26-foot sailboat to the CLI. The sailboat was moored at Point Roberts WA – USA, but needed to be in Canada to enable CLI to put it up for sale.

It was decided to send the Delta Lifeboat to Point Roberts to tow the yacht to Ladner and so at 0800 on Saturday 22 February, the Lifeboat departed Ladner with a crew of six. The forecast was for NW wind rising to 15 – 20 knots. Not ideal conditions for a 26-foot sailboat to be towed, but an improvement was hoped for. Off Sandheads, a lively 3-foot short caused a lot of spray, but after altering course to the south an easy following sea gave two new recruits a good workout on the wheel.

Arriving in Point Roberts, the RHIB was launched as it was planned to use it to tow the sailboat out of its berth. After securing it alongside the Lifeboat and laying out the towing gear an easy departure was made. Once clear of the harbour, the tow was streamed to 300 feet astern. The RHIB was recovered and the tow was taken up at 6½ knots. Fortunately, the sea had calmed considerably allowing the passage to be made at the sailboat’s hull speed.

With one crew member on the sailboat’s helm, there came a time for the crew change. The transfer was made by launching the RHIB. All of the above proved to be excellent training and was carried out in very good order.

The Lifeboat finally secured back at the station with the sailboat again secured alongside at 1615. A very good day, excellent training, and a job well done.

Albion Box Training and Ladner Search – Feb 2020

On Saturday 15 Feb 2020, the Delta Lifeboat conducted crew training in the area known as the ‘Albion Box’ which lies on the south side of the Albion #2 Training Wall. It is a popular fishing area for commercial fishing vessels, but also a place where Recreational vessels sometimes become trapped after losing their way when entering the Fraser River.

The Lifeboats have responded to many incidents in the ‘Box’ over the years even though there is no Hydrographic information on the charts.

The morning exercise, held in heavy rain and fog, was to take sounding and add the information to the appropriate chart for future reference. Two new recruits were able to observe standing procedures onboard and witness several evolutions as well as stand a trick on the wheel. Fraser Lifeboat stayed outside the box and conducted plotting by AIS training for their crew as the Delta conducted its exercise.

After securing back at the Ladner Station, the crew cleaned ship and held a thoughtful debrief. As this was coming to an end, the Ladner Harbour Master advised that he had received a call from a concerned citizen that there was a small vessel requiring assistance in the Captain’s Cove area. There was no other information.

The report was passed to the JRCC who tasked the Delta L/b to proceed and search. The Lifeboat’s RHIB immediately departed to begin the search with the Lifeboat following. The RHIB searched Captain’s Cove and Deas Slough while the Lifeboat conducted a shoreline search of Kirkland Island. After 45 min. with nothing found, the Delta crew was stood down by JRCC and returned to station.

Although nothing was found, it was a most useful training opportunity.