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Old 06-05-2009
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Float Homes in British Columbia Bays

As I cruise up and down the coast of British Columbia, I am noticing more and more floathomes being set up permanently in bay, after bay, after bay. Apparently this is perfectly legal. I have approached "Islands Trust" and they show no interest in tackling this sticky issue. It is sad to pull into a favourite harbour to find it has been appropriated by a floathome and forever more, the whole area has been claimed. The number of new floathomes grows every year. As an example, several years ago three floathomes were towed to Squirrel Cove on Cortez Island. They were put up for sale and a woman bought them and moved in. In the past, four or five boats could tie up there in the summer time and now the whole section of Squirrel Cove is now "claimed" forever. Many of these floathomes are used for summer cottages and remain unused for most of the year.
Two floathomes were towed into Annette Inlet on Prevost Island (Gulf Islands) and they, of course, are still there years later. Even though it states in the "rules" of the Gulf Islands Trust that you can't put a permanently moored structure anywhere within the Gulf Islands, for some reason they don't consider a floathome to be a permanent structure.

What I am hoping to do here if find out how other boaters who ply the waters in British Columbia feel about the increasing numbers of permanent floathomes taking over so many of our secluded bays. I am looking for advice on how to proceed and general feedback.
One thing I would like to do is to organize a chart of where all the floathomes are situated which would show the extent of the problem.
I am of the opinion that a person should not be allowed to claim a bay for themselves and their summer cottage. Pollution aside, for the most part they are an eyesore.
Any feedback appreciated. I think a good place to start is to photograph, index, plot on a chart all of the floathomes in British Columbia to get a handle on the scope of the spread. There are hundreds at the moment and the numbers are growing every year.
My question is, does anyone else feel as I do that this is not a good thing.
Please let me know how you feel. Thanks John
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Total agreement with you. Why don't you contact the BCA (Bluewater Cruising Association) and write in their "Currents" newsletter. That will be a good start and targets the population of boaters in the area.

Magnus Murphy
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Originally Posted by magnusmurphy View Post
Total agreement with you. Why don't you contact the BCA (Bluewater Cruising Association) and write in their "Currents" newsletter. That will be a good start and targets the population of boaters in the area.

Magnus Murphy
Thanks Magnus, I am new to forums about sailing and your quite right. The Blue Water Cruising Association would be an excellent choice. Thanks for that.
I was on the east coast (Rhode Island) last summer and was astonished at how every harbour seems to be chock-a-block full of mooring buoys. It just seems to be the way the world is going. Once the harbours are full of buoys and floathomes, I guess us boaties will be anchoring outside in the swells...
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I just found out that to post anything on Blue Water Cruising would cost $210 to join. Perhaps a current member of blue water cruising would like to get involved. If enough concerned boaters who ply B.C. waters want to get actively involved in this cause of restricting, reducing and/or eliminating current and future floathome encroachment, I would be willing to co-ordinate and put in as much time as possible. If someone is capable, on a computer, of putting a chart of B.C. waters up on a website whereby plots of current floathomes could be displayed, I believe this would be a good place to start.
There are literally hundreds all up and down the coast. I think Magnus is right about this not being the best forum to discuss this but if anyone wants to send me their e-mail address and discuss this outside of this forum, that would be good too. It is possible I am the only one who thinks this is a problem, but I don't think so. Feedback more than welcome. Thanks
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Old 06-05-2009
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Originally Posted by johnvye View Post
Thanks Magnus, I am new to forums about sailing and your quite right. The Blue Water Cruising Association would be an excellent choice. Thanks for that.
I was on the east coast (Rhode Island) last summer and was astonished at how every harbour seems to be chock-a-block full of mooring buoys. It just seems to be the way the world is going. Once the harbours are full of buoys and floathomes, I guess us boaties will be anchoring outside in the swells...
John,

Unlike say the Chesapeake or the Pacific Northwest, in east coast New England, viable anchorages are a scarcity. Typically, a good harbour with a well designed mooring field can accommodate many times the number of boats that would be able to safely anchor there. So in what comparatively few good harbours there are, the use of moorings is actually very beneficial for boaters.

True, most of those moorings are occupied by local boats, but a quick call to the harbourmaster will get you directed to one of the moorings available for transients (whether it is a dedicated transient mooring or one temporarily vacated by a local). Except in some very select harbours (Marblehead, for instance) on holiday weekends, it's rare to get turned away.

But the problem of "float homes" is a new one to me and seems like a different animal altogether. I think you make a good argument against them. I am trying to imagine what the reaction would be here in the Chesapeake region if folks started doing that. I'm pretty sure it would be negative.

In certain sections of the east coast, notably along the Intracoastal Waterway, certain local jurisdictions have had to deal with a similar problem: derelict, abandoned, or otherwise "permanently anchored" boats of all description. Many have implemented local laws that limit the number of days a boat can visit or remain in local waters.

That may be a solution for your area, but beware that it slices both ways. There has been a fairly vocal backlash from cruising sailors to such restrictions along the east coast.
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... I think Magnus is right about this not being the best forum to discuss this but if anyone wants to send me their e-mail address and discuss this outside of this forum, that would be good too. It is possible I am the only one who thinks this is a problem, but I don't think so. Feedback more than welcome. Thanks
Just let me add that we have a lot of PacNW sailors on this forum, on both sides of the border. Hopefully they're out sailing for the weekend. Give them a chance to catch up over the next few days before you decide there's not enough interest here.
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Last edited by JohnRPollard; 06-06-2009 at 09:34 AM. Reason: typos
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I was up in Squirrel Cove last spring and didn't notice any... I didn't make the circuit but perhaps they have been removed now? The only place along the Inside Passage I ever felt negatively affected by a floating home was in Port Harvey, I believe... otherwise, what I saw was either unobtrusive or were clearly working dorms which were presumably temporary.

I have mixed feelings on the subject. On the one hand, no one likes run-down derelicts or permanent floating boxes taking over favorite anchorages. On the other hand, there are people who object to us anchoring where we please, even temporarily. From what I read here the problem is more prevalent on the East Coast, and I am thankful for that. It strikes me that trying to involve the authorities and enforce our preferred use of the water in this matter may be a bit short-sighted... John, you started the other thread, about the RCMP boardings of boats at anchor, didn't you? While the distinction you are making here may seem clear enough to us, to enforcement agencies it seems like it would simply lead to open season on anything afloat... a mess of new regulations, definitions, and misunderstandings sure to follow.

It's in the nature of beautiful and serene places to attract more population and civilization than they can hold without becoming less serene and beautiful. I've never seen a legislative effort to preserve them that resulted in everyone being happy with the outcome. I don't know that there is a solution for it, except to go further afield.

On the other hand, there may be less regulatory ways to discourage this, or to adapt to it... have you tried simply tying up to them instead of trying to find a spot to anchor? Get nice and cozy and explain why... you'll either make new friends or discourage permanent occupancy.
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I doubt they would pass a standard boat inspection. Life jackets? Flares? Holding tanks? Anchor light?
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Originally Posted by ScuzzMonkey View Post
I was up in Squirrel Cove last spring and didn't notice any... I didn't make the circuit but perhaps they have been removed now? The only place along the Inside Passage I ever felt negatively affected by a floating home was in Port Harvey, I believe... otherwise, what I saw was either unobtrusive or were clearly working dorms which were presumably temporary.
I was in Squirrel Cove a couple of weeks ago and there are four float homes still there. There are several large concentrations of float homes like Port Harvey. It is always best to have a live and let live attitude but it is frustrating to pull into a bay that looks great on the chart to find it has been commandeered forever by a float home with long lines extending to shore and effectively blocking the anchorage. This person has claimed a bay for their exclusive use two weeks in the summer. I believe if we plotted all the the new and old float homes set up on the coast you would be amazed at the number. It is well into the hundreds and growing every year. Even in the Gulf Islands, where permanent structures are supposed to be forbidden, there are quite a few float homes. My favourite anchorage is at Annette Inlet on Prevost Island and there are now two float homes in there. It completely changes the atmosphere of a pristine anchorage. The attitude seems to be "hurry up and plant your float home before all the best places are taken." I have been cruising the coast for over 30 years and have seen many changes with fish farms being the most political. About the only good thing I can say about fish farms is they are leaving the shallow bays and moving into deeper channels for better flushing of their pens. This has opened up quite a few anchorages again.
I only have two issues which I feel are important enough to get feedback from fellow sailors. Float homes and police boardings. I have enjoyed discussing both subjects on this site and getting feedback...both positive and negative. If would take a lot of co-ordinated effort to make any progress in either of these issues and most people don't have the time or the inclination. That is the way things are. I don't expect anything will change from my writing to this forum, but as I am a singlehander most of the time and not a member of any yacht club or group, it is just nice to get any type of feedback, good or bad, about things I feel are important in my sailing community here in B.C. Thanks for your input. best John

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If the float home is unoccupied tie up to it. It will save you putting uour ground tckle down.
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