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Join marine responders at Granville Island to learn about safe boating on local waterways 

May 6, 2024

Free event will give those planning to hit the water this year the opportunity to tour response vessels and talk first-hand to marine responders about best practices and safety  

Vancouver, B.C.: National Safe Boating Awareness Week will kick off in Vancouver this Thursday, May 16, with an event at Granville Island that will help boaters, recreational water users and paddlers stay safe on local waterways.  

Vancouver is home to some of Canada’s most picturesque and busy waterways—with countless recreational users sharing the space with the approximately 3,000 deep-sea vessels that call the Port of Vancouver annually.  

As the federal agency responsible for the shared stewardship of the waters that make up the Port of Vancouver, the Vancouver Fraser Port Authority’s mandate includes ensuring safe and efficient movement of marine traffic on port waters.  

“Our focus every day is on creating a safe shared space for the countless recreational and commercial vessels that operate in the waters that make up Canada’s busiest port,” said Jason Krott, manager, marine operations and fleet, at the port authority. “This can include everything from escorting deep-sea vessels through congested waterways to educating recreational boaters and paddlers about the need to stay clear of large ships to their limited visibility, slower stopping speeds and potential wakes.” 

The port authority is partnering with the Canadian Safe Boating Council to host this year’s inaugural Granville Island water safety event, which will also include the Vancouver Police Department, Canadian Coast Guard, Boating BC, Royal Canadian Marine Search and Rescue, Transport Canada and ICBC.  

The event will feature an on-water demonstration by first responders, information booths with the latest safety tips for local waterways, as well as the chance to talk to local marine responders and see response vessels such as the port authority’s Takaya harbour patrol boat up close. 

Every year the port authority’s harbour patrol team educates hundreds of recreational users in Burrard Inlet and the Fraser River on safety considerations and local rules, such as speed limits and the importance of staying clear of deep-sea vessels. 

“It’s not difficult to have an enjoyable and safe start to your summer,” said Ian Gilson, director of the Canadian Safe Boating Council. “By behaving responsibly on the water, ensuring you have the proper safety equipment aboard and limiting your alcohol consumption to after you arrive back at the dock, you can truly enjoy this upcoming boating season.” 

For more information on staying safe on Port of Vancouver waterways, visit  

National Safe Boating Awareness Week event

  • Granville Island public marina 
  • Thursday, May 16, from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. 

Eight tips for staying safe on Port of Vancouver waterways 

  • Watch out for large ships – Large, deep-sea cargo ships have limited visibility. Don’t assume they can see you. They also can’t move quickly, especially in narrow channels. Even if you have the right-of-way, you must yield to them.  
  • Never get between a tugboat and its tow – Tow cables are often submerged and not visible.  
  • Be aware of speed restrictions – Waterways are busier in the summer season, so it’s important to operate your boat at a safe speed. Consult our port information guide for speed limits.  
  • Be mindful of others – Boaters and human-powered watercraft such as kayaks, paddleboards, canoes should keep a sharp look out for each other. Avoid boating in swimming areas.  
  • Think about conditions – Consider environmental conditions, such as wind, weather, currents and tides, to help you prepare for the safest route. During summer months, the freshet runoff can increase current flows, debris, and water levels. These changes have a significant impact on bridge clearances and riverbed depth in the Fraser River.   
  • Marine emergencies – In an emergency, press *16 on your mobile phone, VHF: 16 on your radio or phone 911.   
  • Remain in communication – Boaters should monitor VHF (Very High Frequency) 16 at all times to learn about restricted areas. In Burrard Inlet, monitor VHF 12 and on the Fraser River 74. Pay attention to the following warning signals: one prolonged blast is a warning, and five or more short and rapid blasts of a ship’s whistle means “danger – stay clear”.  
  • Bring along necessary equipment – Equip your boat or craft with precautionary safety items such as a flashlight, whistle and a sound-signaling device. Ensure everyone is wearing a lifejacket or a personal flotation device. 

Media contact

Alex Munro, senior communications advisor  


[email protected]

About the Vancouver Fraser Port Authority and the Port of Vancouver

The Vancouver Fraser Port Authority is the federal agency responsible for the shared stewardship of the Port of Vancouver. Like all Canada Port Authorities, we are accountable to the federal minister of transport, and operate pursuant to the Canada Marine Act with a mandate to enable Canada’s trade through the Port of Vancouver, while protecting the environment and considering local communities. The port authority is structured as a non-share corporation, is financially self-sufficient and does not rely on tax dollars for operations. Our revenues come from port terminals and tenants who lease port lands, and from port users who pay various fees such as harbour dues. Profits are reinvested in port infrastructure. The port authority oversees the use of port land and water, which includes more than 16,000 hectares of water, over 1,500 hectares of land, and approximately 350 kilometres of shoreline. Located on the southwest coast of British Columbia in Canada, the Port of Vancouver extends from Roberts Bank and the Fraser River up to and including Burrard Inlet, bordering 16 municipalities and intersecting the traditional territories and treaty lands of more than 35 Coast Salish Indigenous groups. The Port of Vancouver is Canada’s largest port, and the third largest in North America by tonnes of cargo. Enabling the trade of approximately $300 billion in goods with between 140 and 170 countries each year, port activities sustain 115,300 jobs, $7 billion in wages, and $11.9 billion in GDP across Canada.  


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