David Stanley, a Nanaimo Foundation donor, breaks a bottle of champagne on a new Rugged Coast Research Society vessel at Brechin Boat Ramp during a ceremonial launch on Oct. 7. (Karl Yu/News Bulletin)

David Stanley, a Nanaimo Foundation donor, breaks a bottle of champagne on a new Rugged Coast Research Society vessel at Brechin Boat Ramp during a ceremonial launch on Oct. 7. (Karl Yu/News Bulletin)

Vancouver Island non-profit shows off rugged new boat for coastal cleanups

Donations allow for purchase of vessel capable of transporting 10 tonnes of marine debris

Donors have ensured that a Nanaimo-based ocean research and cleanup non-profit has a rugged vessel with which to conduct its work.

Rugged Coast Research Society ceremonially launched a 32-foot locally built landing craft Oct. 7 at Brechin Boat Ramp.

Renny Talbot, society executive director, said the organization started up in 2017 to “map accumulations of plastics along the coast and to prioritize cleanup of those locations,” and after four years, the society realized it needed a bigger vessel for its shore cleanups.

He said the vessel can transport about 10 tonnes of debris so crews can stay out longer, decreasing costs.

“And it’s a very West Coast capable boat, so we’re able to be safe in adverse conditions, if need be, as well as just placing crew onto areas with large swell, it allows us to do that safely and easily,” said Talbot.

While the ceremony took place Thursday, the society has been utilizing the vessel throughout the summer since it first went out to sea on July 12.

“We’re launching it now because as soon as it was built, it got put to use and we did cleanups all summer long,” said Talbot. “We worked in partnership with other organizations as well, but were involved in the removal of 100 metric tonnes of marine debris this year.”

Rugged Coast Research Society embarked on a fundraising campaign to pay for the $145,000 vessel, which included $80,000 from the Stanley de Vos Fund via the Nanaimo Foundation.

David Stanley, Stanley de Vos Fund co-founder, said he was happy to provide money for the boat’s purchase, having previously contributed to the society’s first boat. He said he appreciates the work that the society does.

“All these guys are volunteers, there’s no money being siphoned off for executive salaries … and they do a great job. They’re working with local communities, First Nations, all sorts of people,” said Stanley. “They’re working to clean up the coast of British Columbia and I can’t see how anybody could be against that.”

Talbot said the society finds all sorts of trash during its work.

“Big blocks of Styrofoam from flotation and docks and things like that, that’s one of the worst things we find because it breaks up in the marine environment and is easily assimilated into the food web,” said Talbot. “The other thing we find is lots of fishing debris, line, nets, ropes, floats, commercial fishing debris, lots of that.”

The vessel was designed and built by Rival Craft in Coombs.

RELATED: Nanaimo-based group needs bigger boat for coastal cleanups

RELATED: Nanaimo-based group hauls 30 tonnes of trash from remote shores



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Bret Bickerton, left, and Owen Gardiner, crew from Rugged Coast Research Society, untie a new research vessel at Brechin Boat Ramp on Thursday, Oct. 7. The Nanaimo-based non-profit, which transports clean-up crews to remote areas of Vancouver Island to remove debris, held a boat cruise to celebrate its fundraising efforts that made the vessel’s purchase possible. (Karl Yu/News Bulletin)

Bret Bickerton, left, and Owen Gardiner, crew from Rugged Coast Research Society, untie a new research vessel at Brechin Boat Ramp on Thursday, Oct. 7. The Nanaimo-based non-profit, which transports clean-up crews to remote areas of Vancouver Island to remove debris, held a boat cruise to celebrate its fundraising efforts that made the vessel’s purchase possible. (Karl Yu/News Bulletin)