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.

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.

Fraser Lifeboat – No Rescue Too Small – Sep 2020

A semi-submerged, abandoned small craft wreck was recovered.
While on a routine marine safety patrol on Labour Day, lookouts aboard the all-weather lifeboat Fraser spotted off her starboard beam the partially submerged hull of a speedboat situated off the breakwater near Sand Heads.  Only the bow was visible above the surface.  A strong wind warning was in effect with moderate northerlies, with excellent visibility on an ebbing tide.
Inside the wheelhouse with the coxswain on the con, the helmsman swung the vessel back around for a closer look-see while the crew went into action on deck to assess the situation.  After it was determined that the vessel had been abandoned and was adrift, the coxswain claimed salvage and the stricken vessel was dewatered and secured.
On a serious note, this situation provided excellent training for the crew in manoeuvering in blustery conditions. If you lost your RC boat and can identify it, please contact the CLI.

Delta Lifeboat Search – Aug 2020

On Saturday 29th August 2020 while in transit between Sand Heads and Active Pass, the Delta Lifeboat received a signal that a BC Ferry had sighted what appeared to be a sunken vessel barely awash in the ferry lanes.  Having been given a good position the lifeboat altered course to investigate.

Coming on the scene it was found to be a small fibreglass vessel, probably about 20’ long with its bow straight down and only about 5’ of the stern sticking vertically out of the water.

Being in US waters, communications were established with US Coast Guard Puget Sound and a situation report was passed.  The lifeboat was requested to commence a box search to find any other floating material.  A USCG helicopter was tasked from Port Angeles as was a response boat from the Bellingham Coast Guard station.

When the helicopter arrived on scene and radio communications were established, the lifeboat was asked to go alongside the vessel and bang on the hull in case a person was trapped inside.  Shortly afterwards the USCG vessel arrived and after passing all known info the Delta Lifeboat was stood down and able to continue on its mission.

While the Canadian Coast Guard was kept fully informed it appeared an incident the night before might be related.  A small vessel had been in trouble off Porlier Pass and the hovercraft rescued 2 survivors.   Although an attempt was made to save the vessel the tow line parted twice so it was abandoned in rough seas.

It is believed that this vessel, now deemed a hazard to navigation, was the same one now drifting in US waters.  Over the next 2 days, dozens of sightings were reported to Coast Guard radio.

A post-incident follow up with the hovercraft base reported the vessel as the S.V Pickle, 12’ in length with a broad beam.  The hovercraft was later tasked to recover the vessel and transported it to the Sea Island Coast Guard Base.