Prince Robert overtaking another steam ship at the First Narrows. VMM Item Number: 2000.1001.564
When traveling by water it is important to have a safety plan and emergency supplies. It’s important to be aware of animals, floating objects, reefs, rocks, and more. Even with the best intentions accidents and shipwrecks may still occur.
It may be critical to observe how the tides and currents are moving, as well as to watch for floating objects that may sweep a vessel aside or even turn it over. A falling tide can strand a boat quickly, and a floating log could damage a vessel’s hull.
Depending on where a ship is travelling other water transportation vessels could be nearby. From canoes and kayaks to huge tankers and cruise ships, the use of today’s radios, radar, and satellite navigation can help passing boats to communicate with each other.
The Canadian Coast Guard monitors VHF Channel 16 and recommends the following guidelines for life-threatening situations only.
Repeat “Mayday” three times before stating the following:
Learn more about these instructions and other boat safety information by visiting the Transport Canada website.
Below are six artifacts related to ship safety, courtesy of the Vancouver Maritime Museum.
There are numerous times when a shipwreck can be detrimental to a marine habitat. When a shipwrecks and sinks, everything aboard it often goes down as well. This can include radioactive substances, plastic and human waste, fuel, oil, mercury, and other toxic pollutants. The material of a ship may also create and impose harmful effects on the ocean’s ecosystems. For example, a steel hull will corrode and release into the ocean.
In some instances, sunken ships can serve as important habitats for marine life. Over time different organisms, such as plants and corals grow on a vessel’s surface. The wreck becomes an artificial reef providing shelter and protection of fish and crustaceans from predators.
The Artificial Reef Society of British Columbia is a Vancouver non-profit that aims to create sustainable artificial reefs and enhanced marine environments. Visit the Artificial Reef Society website to learn more about the nine artificial reefs that can be explored in British Columbia.