A Coast Guard member attended when a sailboat got in trouble near White Rock Beach on Sept. 23. Aaron Hinks photo.

A Coast Guard member attended when a sailboat got in trouble near White Rock Beach on Sept. 23. Aaron Hinks photo.

Drifting sailboat runs aground on White Rock beach

Vessel dragged anchor in high wind, no environmental damage sustained

A wandering sailboat was left literally ‘high and dry’ early Thursday morning (Sept. 24) on White Rock beach, after running aground the previous afternoon.

The 25-foot vessel, Xian, which had been moored off East Beach for several days, dragged anchor in a high wind, drifting westward and closer to the shore, winding up near to the city’s landmark white rock.

That’s where it ultimately ran aground at around 5 p.m. on Wednesday, according to Andrew Newman of White Rock Sea Tours, who said he was first alerted to the drifting boat by waterfront residents.

Newman, hired by the owners to free the boat – in his other capacity as local operator for commercial marine towing company C-Tow – told Peace Arch News he’d made several attempts to tow it off the beach and into deeper water Wednesday evening but its “wing”-style keel had become too deeply embedded in the beach sand.

“It had a five-foot keel in about three feet of water,” he said, noting that he was out again at low tide in the early hours of Wednesday morning to shore-up the hull as the boat rested precariously on its keel above the sand.

“We helped (the owners) set the anchor further out,” he added.

Fortunately, he said, the tide had risen enough by 12:15 p.m. Thursday that the owners were able to float the sailboat again, and Newman escorted it to deeper water alongside White Rock pier, where it was tied up shortly afterwards.

“There was no environmental damage,” he said.

READ ALSO: White Rock boaters rescue woman off East Beach

READ ALSO: Boat grounded in Crescent Beach

Canadian Coast Guard spokesperson Kiri Westnedge confirmed by email Thursday that a member had assessed the boat Wednesday afternoon and concluded that the vessel was “low risk to pollute.”

“(The) Coast Guard would like to remind mariners that fall is upon us and we are seeing the first storms of the season arrive,” she wrote.

“Vessel owners are responsible for securing their vessels and all response actions if their vessel is grounded during a storm.”

Westnedge said that monitoring weather forecasts, adding additional lines and anchors, clearing scuppers to prevent water build-up, and checking on their vessels when safe to do so, are “all ways owners can help to prevent damage to their vessels and the marine environment.”

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