A few shivering and tired sailors and their pets were forced to spend a night camping on a beach south of Nanaimo last week after their boats struck a submerged reef a short distance offshore, according to Ladysmith Royal Canadian Marine Search and Rescue (RCM-SAR)
The five Station 29 volunteers as well as the Canadian Coast Guard Ganges from Saltspring Island were called to the scene close to Boat Harbour, near Cedar and south of Dodd Narrows, early Friday morning.
“We discovered that these two vessels as they were navigating into Boat Harbour overnight struck the same reef and it holed the bottom of both boats,” said RCM-SAR Coxswain and spokesperson Brian Cromp. “The boats sank within minutes.”
Rescuers arrived to find the boats submerged in approximately six metres of water and the three young adult men as well as two dogs and a cat on shore.
Cromp said luckily the men had kayaks aboard to help them safely get to land.
“They were disoriented as to where they were so they camped out on the beach overnight until daylight when they discovered they were a lot closer to population than they had originally thought.”
Paramedics and the RCMP also attended the scene and the three sailors who were midly hypothermic after an overnight rainsquall.
“Apparently these two vessels that they lived on were their homes and now unfortunetly they’re sitting on the bottom.”