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Discussion Starter #1
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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Discussion Starter #3
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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Discussion Starter #4
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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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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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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Discussion Starter #9 (Edited by Moderator)
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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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.
_
Being from the east coast, I never heard of float homes. I can't imagine them tolerated at all by the powers that be here. But in my opinion, the waterways are becoming overregulated - another good reason to go cruising sooner than later.
I do agree that it does slice both ways and my bet is once you start lobbying to have those floating homes evicted, all boaters with be adversely affected.
 

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I'm not Canadian so I don't have any say in this, but from what I have seen most of the float homes are occupied and I believe there is some government requirement about occupancy (second or third hand info, could very well be incorrect). Most of the float homes I have seen have been on the outside of Van. Is., and are full time residences with people commuting to jobs in their tinny's. Others are fishermen who don't have many options as there is hardly any private land available on shore to buy and build on. If I am not mistaken you need to apply for a permit from the government to anchor a float home, but you do not need to purchase the land that it's anchored to. I'd like to hear from Canadians about this at hear what their feelings are.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
I'm not Canadian so I don't have any say in this, but from what I have seen most of the float homes are occupied and I believe there is some government requirement about occupancy (second or third hand info, could very well be incorrect). Most of the float homes I have seen have been on the outside of Van. Is., and are full time residences with people commuting to jobs in their tinny's. Others are fishermen who don't have many options as there is hardly any private land available on shore to buy and build on. If I am not mistaken you need to apply for a permit from the government to anchor a float home, but you do not need to purchase the land that it's anchored to. I'd like to hear from Canadians about this at hear what their feelings are.
Float home communities have been a part of the life on the coast for well over 100 years. Fishermen (and women), loggers, fish farmers etc. This is not the group of float homes causing my concern. I am most concerned with the "summer cottage" boom that is on and I would doubt that many have looked into permits but I will look into that. I travel extensively between Port Hardy and Victoria, often for months at a time and I would conservatively estimate 50 floathomes I have seen that have been "installed" in the last 10 years plus all of the original loggers float homes of which some are occupied but most are summer cottages. On the inside of Vancouver Island, I would suggest the majority of the floathomes have been put in by weekend cottage people and recreational salmon fisherman. They are often bought and sold, some by real estate agents. If we only plotted "recreational floathomes" on a chart of British Columbia, I think the scope of the issue would be apparent.

I have never been able to get this question answered.

Is it legal to put your floathome in any bay, tie lines across the useable anchorage to secure your cottage, and claim that bay as yours forever to the exclusion of anyone else? What I would like to do is ask fellow boaters who share my concern to photograph floathomes that have taken over your favourite anchorages, get the lat/long and forward this to a person who can plot this on a chart. After a few years, a realistic picture of the scope of the problem will be a valuable tool in convincing someone in authority that claiming bays exclusively for yourself is not a nice thing to do.
If there is little interest, this is not a project that I will tackle on my own and taking on a cause by yourself is a waste of time. I tried hard with Islands Trust to get them to enforce their own rules with the floathomes that are in my favourite anchorage on earth (Annette Inlet, Prevost Island,Gulf Islands) and many years later, the float homes are still there. One of them is rarely used and with all the half wrecked boats and garbage strewn around, to say this is an eyesore would be a gross understatement.
I certainly appreciate the feedback from the original post. Thanks.
 

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As a local up here and full time cruiser on the BC coast, here’s my take on this and although I respect Johnvye’s frustration, I have a very different opinion on this. I really don’t see a problem here and I also think pursuing a matter such as this may do much harm to cruisers and locals in the long run.

To the best of my knowledge, these are not float homes in Squirrel Cove these are plain old floats with shacks on them. One is a floating bakery (not really though, it just has a bakery sign). This float is specifically used for cruisers during summer months to take orders for bread which is baked in town and then taken to the float so the bread can be picked up in the morning by the cruisers and if cruisers don’t paddle over there and order bread then it will disappear over time (simple solution to that one). I believe the other one is just a shop and a couple of fishboats used for tending the oyster leases but I could be wrong. The third one is an old abandoned wooden shack washed up on shore and it will disappear in a short time. Around here the dense forest, rain and sea have the amazing ability to make wood structures disappear in short order. I generally avoid Squirrel Cove during the summer months because it’s full of cruisers but in any case Squirrel Cove is huge and I have never had a problem finding a place to set my hook. If you really want to be where they are, just tie up to the float and put a beer next to the door as a thank you. There are literally thousands of places to set a hook on the BC coast and particularly up in this neck of the woods.
<O:p
Coastal people around here have been working and living on the water for a very long time. There once were many float communities along the coast but many of these have disappeared for lack of work and other pressures, so in fact there are many more open bays than in the past. These people that use, live on and work these floats, fish farms, shellfish leases and logging camps on the coast are our neighbours and friends. Many people around here know each other for hundreds of miles around and most people work on or around the sea in fishing, logging, aquaculture etc. These people try their best to get along with one another and seem to avoid making too many waves. I believe the last thing anyone around here would want is more regulation and/or government interference in something that works just fine. I’m really beginning to feel the pressures of too many people around here when I read threads like this, but I do understand the OP’s frustration, I don’t agree but I understand.
<O:p
If we pursue the elimination of floats along the coast, what happens next and where does it stop? You’ll have every tom dick and harry pissed off with cruisers. I rely on these coastal people to help me out in a jam. Most shore people around here and farther north are very helpful, kind and will bend over backwards to get a cruiser on his way again.
<O:p
I, and many others shore tie quite frequently…Do we really want a regulation telling us cruisers we can’t stern tie to trees? After all the trees are above the foreshore high tide mark, so they are crown land or private land. These trees are not ours to scar with our ropes. The private land owners are giving us the unwritten right and the government doesn’t bother us at all. If we lost the right to stern tie, we would likely loose about 90% of the little nooks we stuff ourselves into for the night and we would loose about 50% capacity in some of the bigger bays. Something like this could be a possible backlash or consequence. For those of you unfamiliar with this area, stern tying which is throwing down your hook and running a line from your stern to shore and back is a very common practice and in some cases absolutely necessary.

Note: Johnvye; I wrote this last night before seeing your last post and I now realize your mainly talking floating cottages, so some of this may be irrelevant but I think my last paragraph is important to consider.
 

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seayalatermoonglow said what I was trying to in my previous post only he put it much better. What it comes down to is, if you're going to call on the government for "help" with this sort of thing don't be surprised when what they actually come up with hurts a lot more than it helps. I think the whole thing is likely to open a can of worms that benefits no one and won't ever go away, but maybe I'm just cynical because I live south of the border where that is almost always the case when someone decides to involve the authorities in this sort of thing.
 

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How does this differ from anchoring indefinitely 20ft offshore from somebody else's picturesque bayside cottage in a 50 ft yacht? If they are allowed to stay permanently, in what way is the waterway is still public?, or still owned /controlled by the government? It is akin to building your own island in a waterway, and putting a home on it. Real estate speculators drool at the thought, no doubt. imagine all the $$ to be made in 'developing' waterfront lots close to the cities in floating suburbia, so everyone can be close to nature for the low low price of way too much.
 

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The only thing I can suggest is to try and get people to become more aware of the existing issues people have against this type of selfish behaviour, and to somehow suggest marinas or float home docks as alternatives. There are plenty around to choose from, here are some examples:

Concrete Docks for Marinas ? Breakwaters ? Wave Attenuators | IMF

In this case maybe work with the gulf islands to promote alternatives? There should be local media resources to appeal to.
 

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More power to them. Would we be better off if those who cant afford to cough up half a million dollars for a house were forced to sleep in dumpsters or under bridges? Any one of you could be forced into that position, by a simple co-incidence beyond your control. Glad its an option. Float homes can easily be tied to the shore, too close to interfere with any swinging room for a boat. During the dirty thirties, the inlets along the BC coast were filled with float homes, allowing people with zero income to enjoy a good life. Your occasional summer convenience does not over rule the charter right for those who cant afford a house, to enjoy life liberty and security of the person. .
 

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The only thing I can suggest is to try and get people to become more aware of the existing issues people have against this type of selfish behaviour, and to somehow suggest marinas or float home docks as alternatives. There are plenty around to choose from, here are some examples:

Concrete Docks for Marinas ? Breakwaters ? Wave Attenuators | IMF

In this case maybe work with the gulf islands to promote alternatives? There should be local media resources to appeal to.
Re: the highlight - guess again. Just TRY and find a place to tie up a floathome around Vancouver.

I love them and am all in favour of providing marina type berthing for them but it seems the pols have the attitude that they will turn into some sort of floating ghetto A La Hong Kong.

Anyone who has been to Seattle or Sausalito knows what the reality is.
 
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More power to them. Would we be better off if those who cant afford to cough up half a million dollars for a house were forced to sleep in dumpsters or under bridges? Any one of you could be forced into that position, by a simple co-incidence beyond your control. Glad its an option. Float homes can easily be tied to the shore, too close to interfere with any swinging room for a boat. During the dirty thirties, the inlets along the BC coast were filled with float homes, allowing people with zero income to enjoy a good life. Your occasional summer convenience does not over rule the charter right for those who cant afford a house, to enjoy life liberty and security of the person. .
Brent, you are starting to sound suspiciously like a right wing Republican. :eek::D

And besides, it's Americans who get the right to "Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness" - WE only get "Peace, Order & Good Government". :rolleyes:
 
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