Nanaimo coast guard volunteers rescue grounded sailboat

NANAIMO - Sailboat runs aground on Bath Island over Thanksgiving weekend.

A captain and his passengers had Royal Canadian Marine Search and Rescue volunteers to be thankful for after his craft ran aground during the Thanksgiving Day weekend.

The incident happened Sunday when the eight-metre craft ran aground with three people on board on the north east side of Bath Island, near its home port of Silva Bay on Gabriola Island.

With a falling tide, there was a danger the craft could capsize or be heavily damaged on the rocks, said Josh Minami, RCM-SAR 27 Nanaimo spokesman.

“The highest severity is a mayday call, which is what this was tasked as,” Minami said. “We were able to get there in time so there wasn’t a sinking, but the tide was falling so there was a real urgency. It sounded like it was a bit of a tricky exercise. I believe they had to pull the mast to get the keel of the rock and then sort of floated it off sideways, I think. That’s what it sounded like to me.”

In all, five vessels responded to the emergency, including the Kingfisher, a private craft that evacuated the captain and passengers, two RCM-SAR craft from Nanaimo, one RCM-SAR 26 craft from Ladysmith and a Canadian Coast Guard hovercraft from Vancouver Airport.

No one was injured and the sailboat was recovered safely.