Thursday, July 11, 2013

Paddlers and Float Planes: Do Not Mix

Rick Gonder, a senior patroller with the Victoria Harbour Patrol, is reaching out to the Victoria paddling community regarding concerns that many recreational and rental paddlers are paddling under the wings of aircraft moored at the float plane terminals, and passing too closely to the terminals, especially the main float plane terminal at Harbor Air. He writes:

As a result of our observations and periodic enforcement we have decided to take a proactive approach in dealing with this concern. With that in mind, we are advising you that today Harbor Patrol initiated a project that will educate our friends in the paddling community. Our project will run until the end of July with the following mandate:

1: We are asking for your support in informing club members, pro/am paddlers and commercial clients that all paddlers are requested to keep a minimum distance of approx three wing widths between their vessels and aircraft moored at float plane terminals at all times, including when the terminals are not in operation.
2: Harbor Patrol will 'educate' paddlers transiting in the area of the floatplane terminals by telling them that they are to stay approx 3 wing widths away from aircraft moored at the terminals.
3: Floatplane terminal dock staff will support us by warning off paddlers who transit under wings or in close proximity to aircraft moored at the terminals.

The Harbormaster supports this initiative. It is not his intention to impose any restrictions on the paddling community unless it is absolutely necessary. It is our desire to work with you in an effort to keep the harbor safe for all users. We are asking for your support by getting this message out to your club members, pro/am rowers and commercial clients.
If you have any comments or concerns please forward them in writing to the Victoria Harbormaster at

There's no question that the harbour is a cramped space to travel in, what with float planes, whale watching boats, yachts, harbour ferries and paddlers of all sorts travelling in every direction. Just ask the captain of the Coho ferry which yesterday ran over an old float plane dock and almost ran into a hotel. So always keep your eyes peeled and wits about you when plying the harbour, and give those float planes the respect, and clearance, they need.

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