Media releases

Port authority amends updates to marine regulations through the First and Second Narrows in response to industry and community feedback

October 20, 2017

Changes increase recreational boating area while continuing to maintain safety within shipping lanes

The Vancouver Fraser Port Authority today announced changes to its safe boating guide that offer increased access for recreational boaters in the First and Second Narrows.

Under the Canada Marine Act, all Canada Port Authorities may establish practices and procedures within their jurisdiction to be followed by ships including recreational watercraft, and may also establish vessel traffic safety control zones for safe boating and recreational activities. The Vancouver Fraser Port Authority is the federal agency responsible for maintaining the safe and efficient movement of marine traffic in the Port of Vancouver and has had navigational and safe boating regulations in place within its jurisdiction for a number of years to ensure the safety of all port users.

On September 8, 2017, the port authority issued a notice of amendment to the existing regulations within the First and Second Narrows. The proposed amendments were based on initial feedback from industry and community members, and were designed to address changes in marine traffic activity through the busy waterways.

“Over the past few years, we have seen an increase in the use of kayaks, paddleboards and other recreational activities in shipping lanes around the First and Second Narrows. At the same time, cruise ships and container ships are getting bigger, making it more challenging for them to maneuver through the First Narrows and Burrard Inlet,” said Chris Wellstood, director of marine operations and security and harbour master at the Vancouver Fraser Port Authority. “Promoting safety on the water is something we take very seriously, and it is of paramount importance to us that our regulations reflect current and future operational and safety requirements.”

Members of the public were invited to submit comments during a 30-day comment period between September 8 and October 8, 2017. Following the public comment period, the port authority reviewed and considered all feedback before making final updates to the regulations. The final changes reflect the port authority’s commitment to promoting safety on the water for commercial traffic and recreational boaters alike.

“We made changes to the First Narrows Movement Restricted Area regulations, first and foremost, to ensure the safe navigation of all vessels through the First Narrows. We also reviewed our vessel traffic safety zones in response to public feedback and determined we could increase access, on a trial basis, for recreational boaters around the First and Second Narrows, while still ensuring safety for all port users,” Wellstood said. “We expect the operators of personal watercraft to adhere to the amended boundaries and all other existing safe boating practices, and we encourage the personal watercraft community to engage its members to increase awareness of the restrictions in place in the First Narrows.”

In partnership with other agencies, the port authority’s harbour patrol regularly monitors the waterways within the Port of Vancouver and warns boaters who are putting their safety at risk by not following the regulations. While the port authority has increased access to recreational boaters with the amendments announced today, its harbour patrol vessel crews will continue to monitor the First Narrows to keep shipping lanes clear of small vessel traffic and ensure safety.

The port authority encourages recreational boaters to learn more about how to be safe on the water by reading the safe boating guide.

Additional information:

About Vancouver Fraser Port Authority

The Vancouver Fraser Port Authority is responsible for the stewardship of the federal port lands in and around Vancouver, British Columbia. It is accountable to the federal minister of transport and operates pursuant to the Canada Marine Act. The Port of Vancouver is Canada’s largest, and the third largest in North America by tonnes of cargo, facilitating trade between Canada and more than 170 world economies. Located in a naturally beautiful setting on Canada’s west coast, the port authority and port terminals and tenants are responsible for the efficient and reliable movement of goods and passengers, integrating environmental, social and economic sustainability initiatives into all areas of port operations. Enabling the trade of approximately $200 billion in goods, port activities sustain 115,300 jobs, $7 billion in wages, and $11.9 billion in GDP across Canada.

Media contact:

Danielle Jang
Media Relations Advisor
604.340.8617
Danielle.Jang@portvancouver.com

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