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Coach boat stolen from Nanaimo Paddling Centre

Update: The boat was recovered earlier this week without the motor, after B.C. Ferries reported it floating on the other side of Newcastle Island.

The Go Rowing Paddling Association of Canada is asking the public to keep an eye peeled for a coach boat and motor stolen from Nanaimo Paddling Centre on the weekend.

The 14-foot Carolina Skiff is used for coaching and safety when training dragon boat and outrigger canoe crews and for officiating events.

The boat is normally locked up with dragon boats and outrigger canoes at the Nanaimo Port Authority B Float in the downtown Boat Basin, but went missing sometime between Thursday and Sunday.

Steve Frisch, paddling association executive director, said the boat and its 15 horsepower Yamaha motor are valued at about $6,000.

"It's locked up with a pretty substantial lock and we haven't had any problem with it over the years because it's right in plain view and close to harbour authority offices," Frisch said.

The manufacturer in Waycross, Ga., has no dealerships in western Canada and the paddling association is the only organization to import the skiffs to B.C.

"If there is any out there they've definitely come through us, so somebody out there can't say they bought it from a dealer," Frisch said.

The Nanaimo Paddling Centre is the official training centre for the Nanaimo  Dragon Boat Festival and is also home to the Pink Panthers Breast Cancer Survivor Dragon Boat Team.

The stolen boat was the non-profit paddling association's only coach boat in Nanaimo.

"We have dragon boat teams getting on the water in March and, ideally, getting it back before then would be greatly appreciated," he said.

The flat-bottomed skiff is white and bears the Carolina Skiff logo on its sides along with the padding association's "Go" decals.

"Hopefully it will come to somebody's attention," Frisch said. "It's got to be sitting around some marina or something somewhere and someone will notice it."

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