There were no serious injuries resulting from a boat fire in Ganges Harbour, which burned the vessel nearly to the waterline and brought RCMP, Coast Guard and local vessel-assist crews to the scene.
The 911 calls came in the early afternoon Thursday, June 8, with several people reporting a fire aboard a sailboat anchored north of the Salt Spring Island Sailing Club docks. Flames could be seen coming from the stern, and smoke poured from a forward hatch. The vessel quickly became engulfed in flames and a column of black smoke rose over Ganges.
Coast Guard and RCMP vessels were quick to the scene — but first to arrive was the rigid hull inflatable from Ganges-based vessel assist operator Eagle Eye Marine, who rescued the boater; once it was clear there were no more people aboard, Celine Boychuck at the bow of their tow vessel Kraken began dousing the flames with an onboard fire hose.
Salt Spring RCMP Detachment Commander Sgt. Clive Seabrook said despite the destruction aboard the sailboat, the vessel’s lone occupant wasn’t seriously injured.
“He had superficial scrapes from leaving the boat, but no burns,” said Sgt. Seabrook.
The boat’s owner spent some time waist deep in the water off the nearby beach as the vessel continued to burn; he was ultimately brought ashore by police, according to Sgt. Seabrook, and taken to Lady Minto Hospital for assessment.
Black smoke turned to white as Kraken’s crew brought the flames under control, finally pushing the smouldering vessel to the shoreline for RCMP to investigate; Sgt. Seabrook said the fire was “not suspicious” and credited Boychuck, husband Nick and the staff at Eagle Eye Marine for their quick action.
“Upon hearing of the boat fire, they immediately responded,” said Sgt. Seabrook. “They then began fighting the fire — which likely prevented the fire from spreading to other vessels.”