VPD helps rescue stranded paddleboarders at First Narrows

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Vancouver – Vancouver police are reminding paddleboarders and kayakers to be cautious on the water after 17 wayward paddleboarders had to be rescued from high winds and waves near Lions Gate Bridge on Monday.

“This incident is a good reminder for anyone venturing out on the water to stay close to shore if you don’t have the skills and experience to navigate safely in open water,” said Sergeant Steve Addison, VPD. “Unfortunately, this group thought there was security in numbers, and they drastically underestimated the conditions.”

VPD’s marine unit assisted in the rescue just before 3 p.m. Monday, after 30 paddleboarders attempted to cross English Bay in high winds and strong current. The group started from Jericho and were trying to reach Ambleside in West Vancouver when more than half of the group got caught in the current.
“Their lack of experience, combined with the wind, tides and waves created by heavy vessel traffic, put paddleboarders into a dangerous situation,” adds Sgt. Addison.

VPD was called in to help after a Vancouver Fraser Port Authority tug operator spotted struggling paddleboarders near the Lions Gate Bridge. The Coast Guard and Royal Canadian Navy Search and Rescue also assisted. Working together, the four agencies rescued the 17 stranded paddleboarders and brought them ashore. Thirteen others succeeded in crossing the strait to the North Shore.

VPD reminds anyone on the water that human powered boats like paddleboards and kayaks are not permitted between Siwash Rock and the Berry Point refinery, located east of the Second Narrows Bridge in Burnaby . Monday’s incident is also an important reminder that the Burrard Inlet shipping lane can be extremely dangerous due to wind, tides and heavy boat traffic.

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