Yacht Disrupts Vancouver Dragon Boat Race, Sparks Safety Concerns

Dragon Boat Interruption

June 21, 2016

A charter yacht drove into the racecourse Saturday afternoon, disrupting almost 300 paddlers in 14 dragon boats who were in the middle of a 2,000 metre final.
Credit: Dragon Boat BC

Charter yacht motors into racecourse on Saturday, disrupting the 2,000-metre Guts & Glory race during the Concord Pacific Vancouver Dragon Boat Festival.

Paddlers competing in this weekend’s Concord Pacific Vancouver Dragon Boat Festival had not only the rain to contend with, but also a large charter yacht that motored into the middle of the racecourse.

The 2,000-metre final of the Guts & Glory race was well under way Saturday afternoon in False Creek when the yacht cut into the course, abruptly stopping the race.

Unfortunately during our final race of the day, the women’s Guts & Glory, a local charter operator chose to power across the course even when given the opportunity to get out of the way of our athletes. Those watching the live webcast must have been pretty surprised and worried about the paddlers, but we can assure you everyone is safe because of our excellent on-water safety team.

We will continue to be vigillant when this boat operator is on the water, as well we are exploring what we should be pushing for in regards to rules and laws. We assume that this operator has a Transport Canada operator’s certificate and if this behaviour, whether unintentional or not, falls within allowable conduct, then obvisouly the regulations should be considered for reform.

Almost 300 paddlers, who had already paddled hundreds of metres, had to restart the race.

“It’s a long race – a hard race,” said Anita Webster, spokesperson for Dragon Boat BC. The majority of dragon boat races are 500 metres.

She described the boat operator’s actions as “reckless.”

“He was asked by the race marshal to move aside and he didn’t. We have safety concerns about this.”

Paddlers have voiced their concern about this issue before. The Canadian International Dragon Boat Festival Society started a petition against moored boats in False Creek when a boat drifted into the racecourse of a qualifying regatta three weeks ago.

The petition now has more than 1,500 signatures and there are renewed calls for signatures after last weekend’s incident. An update to the petition Sunday suggests there should be a ban on all motorized boats in False Creek.

Dragon Boat Video

Watch the video of this incident at: http://www.metronews.ca/news/vancouver/2016/06/19/paddlers-come-out-for-annual-vancouver-dragon-boat-festival.html


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