The rescue of paddleboarders stranded in First Narrows on Monday serves as a reminder that the shipping lane in Burrard Inlet can be full of changing and dangerous conditions, including wind, tides, and boat traffic.
The Vancouver Police Department (VPD) stated today (September 7) that around 3 p.m. on September 6, a Vancouver-Fraser Port Authority tugboat operator saw a group of 30 paddleboarders struggling near the Lions Gate Bridge.
This group had originally set off from Jericho, with Ambleside in West Vancouver as their destination.
However, over half of the group became caught in a powerful current when they attempted to cross English Bay amid high winds.
“Unfortunately, this group thought there was safety in numbers, and they greatly underestimated the conditions,” VPD spokesperson Sgt. Steve Addison said in a news release. “Their lack of experience, combined with wind, tides, and waves, created by heavy marine traffic, pushed the paddleboarders into a treacherous situation.”
The VPD Marine Unit, Coast Guard, and Royal Canadian Marine Search and Rescue assisted in rescuing 17 stranded paddleboarders while 13 other paddleboarders managed to make it across First Narrows to the North Shore.
The VPD is reminding anyone planning to head out upon the water that human-powered vessels like paddleboards and kayaks aren’t permitted between Siwash Rock and the Berry Point refinery, located east of the Second Narrows Bridge in Burnaby.