Quite the friendly port where your property is up for grabs by the locals. A Union Bay landowner has posted the following titled “A Brilliant Idea” at: http://ottmarkrauss.shawwebspace.ca/
- Aug 24, 2013
- Posted By: Ottmar Krauss–
A few weeks ago I had a “brilliant” idea. I love to sail my Hobie cat in Baynes Sound. Unfortunately our shore at Union Bay is rocky. It is quite a production to launch the boat and to take it out again. It would be much more fun to run it onto a sandy beach as they do it in the Caribbean.
Sandy Island is just a directly across from my home and has nice, sandy beaches. Why not beach it there? I checked the websites for Sandy Island Marine Park, for Provincial Parks in BC, and I checked the information boards on Vancouver Island. There were no restrictions about beaching a small sailboat, making it just a perfect solution!
Together with my sailing partner Heinz, I took it over to Sandy Island, built a solid anchorage with driftwood, and then pulled the boat up the sandy beach, well above the high-tide line and tied it safely to the anchorage. Over the period of the following 3 weeks we enjoyed sailing on windy days. On days of insufficient winds, I would go and just check the boat, waiting for the winds to return.
On Friday, August 2nd we sailed the last time. For the next few days there was not enough wind to sail. However, on August 7th not only was there no wind, but there was no boat! My boat was gone!
Here is a day-to-day account of what happened regarding my missing boat:
Tuesday, August 6th
Most probably on Tuesday, August 6th my 18‘ Hobie Cat sailboat had been taken from the beach of Sandy Island located on the northern part of Denman Island, BC. I had kept my sailboat there for about 3 weeks, safely tied to a solid natural anchorage, well above the high-water line. Together with my sailing partners we used the boat several times during this period when there was good wind for sailing.
I live across Baynes Sound in Union Bay and could see the boat from my residence at all times. I also checked my boat daily to make sure it was safely anchored and had no damage. On August 6th we were in town and returned late after dark, so I didn’t see that my boat was gone until the next day, Wednesday August 7th.
Wednesday, August 7th
On Wednesday, August 7th I contacted the RCMP and reported my boat stolen. The person answering the phone at the RCMP took down the information of my stolen boat and then told me that someone had called the previous day (August 6th) stating that he had ‘salvaged’ an abandoned boat from the shore of Sandy Island. This person I talked to at the RCMP, told me that Cst. McMillan had taken the call and had opened file no: 2013-9444. The report I gave that day was given file no: 2013-9560. In the same conversation, I was then told that Cst. McMillan would contact me, however, I never received a call back. Despite my repeated attempts to get hold of Cst. McMillan, I did not hear from him for another two days (on Friday, August 9th).
Friday, August 9th
On Friday, August 9th I went to the police station at 800 Ryan Rd. in Courtenay. I delivered two documents to Cst. McMillan. One of the documents was from one of my sailing partners who confirmed the safe anchorage of the boat, and the other one was my report about my stolen boat.
Cst. McMillan told me that he didn’t have the name of the person who called since it was the Receiver of Wrecks in Vancouver who had informed the RMCP about an abandoned boat found on Sandy Island. The constable suggested to me that I should therefore contact the Receiver of Wrecks, Vancouver. He further told me that it is not allowed to have a boat beached on Sandy Island for several days and argued that my boat had no registration number. (by the way, there is no registration needed for this type of boat).
“What a ‘brilliant’ idea, retrieving a vessel from a beach, declaring it abandoned for 4 weeks! Maybe the owner would not be identified. Or, if the owner showed up, it might be an opportunity to earn a few bucks for ‘salvaging’ and storing an abandoned boat.” Could this be what the person was thinking who took my boat?
Monday, August 12th
On the next business day which was Monday, August 12th I called the Office of the Receiver of Wrecks. The responsible person was Tom Detlor, ph: 604 775 8835. Mr. Detlor told me that there was no report from this area of an abandoned boat but that he would keep me advised if something showed up.
That same day I called RCMP Courtenay again but could not get a hold of Cst. McMillan. However, I was given the information that according to the file, the ‘salvor’ of the boat called the RCMP himself and not the Receiver of Wrecks (“RoW”) as Cst. McMillan had told me. There was only a name in the file with no phone number. (I was not given that name.) I remember thinking, “how strange! Why wouldn’t there be an address and a phone number along with the name of the person that called?”
Cst. McMillan called me back the same afternoon. When I told him what I had learned – that there was a name in the file – Cst. McMillan said he will contact the “salvor”.
I then documented what had happened up to this point in a letter to Cst. McMillan and delivered it personally to the RCMP Courtenay the next day (August 13th).
Thursday, August 15
Two days later on August 15th, I still hadn’t heard from Cst McMillan so I called the RCMP again and gave the two file numbers. To my surprise I was informed that both files had been closed. “Hey”, I thought, “I still don’t have my boat back. How can the files be closed?”
Friday, August 16th
In the afternoon of Friday, August 16th, Cst. McMillan finally called back. When I asked him how could the files be closed if I didn’t have my boat yet, he asked me for some details, saying he wanted to make sure the boat was mine. I gave him those details. He then said that he wanted to contact the ‘salvor’. Cst. McMillan called me back at 02:25 pm the same day (August 16th), telling me that in the afternoon of the following Monday (August 19th), he would go and see the boat and determine whether it was mine or not. The constable also stated that he would give my contact information to the ‘salvor’ as well as giving me the other party’s address to me so the two of us (the “salvor” and me) could handle the case by ourselves and that he (Cst McMillan) would no longer be involved. Furthermore, he said that I should expect costs to be paid to the ‘salvor’ for the salvage of the boat as defined by the Receiver of Wrecks. I wondered if this is why the person took my boat – did he want a “reward”?
Monday, August 19th
I reached Cst. McMillan by phone at 01:15 pm on Monday, August 19th. He stated that he was on his way to check the boat and would give the name of the ‘salvor‘ and the file number from Receiver of Wrecks to me later in the day.
Cst. McMillan called around 03:00 pm to let me know it was indeed my boat that he had seen at the salvor‘s place. He would call me back later the same day after the boat was reported as an “abandoned wreck” to the Receiver of Wrecks and then he will give me the name of the ‘salvor‘ and the RoW file number.
However, there was no return call.
Tuesday, August 20th
I called Cst. McMllan at 250 987 8751 but there was no answer.
I called that RCMP at 250 338 1321 and was forwarded to the supervisor but there was no response, so I left a message to call me back. No return call.
Tom Detlor from Receiver of Wrecks called me at 1:45 pm. He told me that the ‘salvor’ had called him that day and told him that he found the boat below the low-tide line, then called the RCMP and the Coast guard before he salvaged the boat. That person told Mr. Detlor that he had towed it to Union Bay, took it out of the water, unmounted the mast and stored the boat in a safe place.
This person who took my boat also told Tom Detlor that keeping a boat on Sandy Island is only allowed for two weeks and that there is a fine of $240 for keeping it any longer. The “salvor” had commented that by taking the boat, he had saved me $240. This was quite surprising to me. Where, I wondered, did he get this information? I had checked all regulations and restrictions for Sandy Island as well as for the Provincial Parks, BC and could find no such regulation!
Mr. Detlor reported to me that RoW was waiting for the official forms which Cst. McMillan would provide on Friday, August 23rd. Then RoW would determine the salvage costs I would have to pay.
Wednesday, August 21st
I called RCMP at 08:45 am on August 21st to find out what time the ‘salvor’ reported the abandoned boat. To my surprise it was reported abandoned August 5th at 4:05 pm and not August 6th.
I then remembered that in the afternoon of Monday August 5th when it was a medium tide at approximately 3:00 pm, from my residence I spotted a group of 3 young people on Sandy Island. They anchored their small motor vessel (about 12 ‘, outboard engine and, as far as I can remember, parts of the boat were red) just behind my boat and were standing around on the beach. At that time, I told my wife that I felt uncomfortable seeing this group of young people hanging around very closely to my boat. It just wasn’t normal. So I continued watching them. They then left in their boat after a while heading South towards Union Bay. My boat remained in the same place as before, well above the high-tide line.
Therefore, when the person who called the RCMP at 04:05 pm about an abandoned boat, he must have given false information about the status of the boat being below the high-tide line to Cst. McMillan.
Here is a very good weblink for excellent legal information about salvaging any kind of boat. See –
As you will see, there are very strict rules about salvaging boats. And in the case of the person who took my boat, he did not follow these regulations. And in the case of the constable, he should have told the ‘salvor’ to leave the vessel untouched or, if unsafe, pull it up the beach into a safe place. To let them take the boat away was another ‘brilliant’ idea.