Oak Bay’s newest neighbourhood watch, the Oak Bay Maritime Community Association (OBMCA), routinely cleans up along the bay adjacent to Oak Bay Marina. Last weekend, they undertook a particularly large cleanup in what has been a busy year for the organization.
“We also help to maintain moorings in the bay and have put six notices on moored boats in the last few months urging attention to their boats and mooring equipment,” said Robert Hall, secretary of the OBMCA. “The notices have reminded boaters that derelict boats can be claimed by a process … if the owner does not comply in the interest of the community.”
Under the Canada Shipping Act, when someone finds and takes possession of a wreck, the Receiver of Wrecks will try to locate the owner. The Receiver of Wrecks can authorize its disposal or destruction by a salvager when the owner is unknown 90 days after a wreck has been reported. The group says as a result of the notes, four boat owners made changes.
“We also maintain a watch, especially in the winter on vessels which may be in danger of coming ashore, by warning owners of immediate needed attention to their vessels,” Hall said. “As part of our code of conduct we maintain two legal moorings in the bay, for emergency use by boaters as well as courtesy moorings for summer, short-time visitors.”
In the past year, members have rescued four boats that came ashore and reported to the Coast Guard when someone attempted to scuttle a large cabin cruiser in the bay, Hall says. “The boat was rescued by one of the members of our society and ownership has been assumed by legal means – thus avoiding any expense to taxpayers for disposal of the vessel.”