A man whose boat is aground near the Oak Bay Marina says it is not abandoned and he in the process of removing the wreckage.
Doug Prentice still lived in Toronto when he bought the Whale’s Way in 1996, a blue trimaran he would use to sail thousands of kilometres across the Atlantic eventually ending his journey in 2001 in Tofino before mooring his beloved boat in waters of Oak Bay – where it’s been ever since.
But a wind storm on Feb. 9 dislodged the boat from its chain and pushed it to shore – now it can be seen north of the Oak Bay Marina, its blue paint chipping and Canadian flag at half mast.
A small sign features a contact number for Prentice, but he has since spray painted his phone number multiple times across the boat deck – a response to calls in a previous Black Press online article in which a member of the Dead Boat Disposal Society said he was looking for the boat’s owner.
The Dead Boat Disposal Society works with the Capitol Regional District (CRD) and Transport Canada to remove derelict boats from B.C. shore lines at no cost to the owner, but Prentice told Black Press he is not interested in the society’s services.
“It was my mistake that put her on the rocks, it’s my responsibility to clean her up,” he said.
“It’s my duty to an old friend.”
The day after the wreckage, Prentice quickly removed all fuel, motor oil and propane and said he is still working to bring the pieces in on his own.
“If you had a dog that dies, generally you care enough about that dog that you do a little doggy funeral. Do you think a boat that’s been in your life for 24 years isn’t going to be the same deal?”
Prentice said his intimate knowledge of the trimaran will help him to safely remove it from the beach.
“I’ve been repairing it every year for 24 years. I know that boat better than I know my own right hand,” he said. “I don’t think that anybody who doesn’t know the boat as well as I do could possibly do as a conscientious or responsible a job.”
Prentice said he will rifle through the salvaged pieces to determine any that still have value and will find storage for the rig itself, as it was designed by “one of the best mechanical engineers to ever work on sailboat rig design,” Lars Bergstrom.
Prentice said removing the boat will take time and he is looking to partner with anyone who can help him remove the larger pieces.
For a previous Black Press article, John Roe of the Dead Boat Disposal Society said derelict boats can be full of contaminants like copper, especially in specific types of marine paint.
Some sail boats can be equivalent to about 880,000 plastic straws dumped in the ocean, he said.
So far, the Dead Boat Disposal Society has removed 36 boats from B.C. shorelines in just two years.