The Yacht Club in the Storm surge

The following set of pictures were from the peak of the storm surge in the river.  It only lasted about an hour or an hour and a half. You can see how the gang way to the float is bent backwards on it’s hinges. Fortunately there was no damage  but any more high water and there would have been.  That gangway was only just installed!
Gangway from the dock at Ward’s
A zoomed in view of the gangway from the dock at Ward’s.
The road and parking lot by the retaining wall of Stewart farm.
The parking lot and gangway at peak tide and storm surge.
The tide is starting to ebb and the surge is dropping.
Tide and surge going back to normal
Nice clean gravel for the boats and vehicles to drive on.
Still submerged but dropping quickly.
The start of the ebb…

All picture credits go to Doug McKinnon Vice Commodore of MBYC. He said that he and the club Secretary Treasurer were down the end of the dock and someone on shore started shouting and waving at them. They couldn’t figure out what was wrong until they interpreted the waving to mean ‘look at the gangway!’. It only took about 10 minutes to to from normal to ‘oh my gosh! we need to vacate NOW!’

Fortunately there was no serious damage to the gangway or the dock itself nor were any animals hurt in the creation of this blog. None of the boats were damaged as the river is fairly protected from the wind that hit White Rock.

Locals are correctly saying they’ve never seen a storm like this one.

Storm and Disaster! Devastation and Destruction! Woe, alas!

December 20th 2018 brought disaster to the sister club of MBYC that I belong to.  On that fateful day, a storm such as had not been seen in living memory hit the Lower Mainland of British Columbia. The lads over at the Lower Mainland Yacht Club moor their boats on the float at the end of the White Rock pier. They have (had) seven boats in all.

All seven boats were either sunk or so badly damaged in the storm that they were written off.

According to BC Hydro, the December 20, 2018 storm was the most damaging in the Crown utility’s history making it larger than the August 2015 wind-storm that affected the Lower Mainland and the Fraser Valley, and larger than the 2006 wind-storm that hit Vancouver Island and devastated Stanley Park in Vancouver.

The damage:


A good shot above of how the waves surged over the breakwater battering the float and the boats tied to it.

breaking loose

Above the boats are starting to break free and bounce down the pier.

under the pier

Making their way towards the shore.

boats agains the pier

Above – being forced through the pilings on the pier.

busted boat

Almost through..

on the beach

Clear of the pier & on the beach..

on the beach 2.jpeg


on the beach 3

Not where she’s supposed to be…

on the beach 4

Badly busted up.

An arial view of the damage post storm. That’s about 100 feet of pier missing and a sunken boat in the gap.

A sad day for the sailing community.

White Rock Council is predicting that the repair to the pier will be northwards of 5 million and probably closer to 6 million dollars.  The project likely won’t be completed till August 2019.

This storm affected my boat as well.  While the wind and waves didn’t really affect the sheltered little cove where I moor my boat, the storm surge sure did.

The river has a dyke built along it to protect the low-lying farmland from flooding. It was built many years ago. The builders clearly didn’t anticipate the kind of surge that this storm bought along with it.  The water was within about a foot of breaching the dyke. 

Little Bear’s mooring buoy is in the deepest part of that section of the river.  When I calculated the length of chain I would need I based it on High High Tide plus a few (about 5) feet.  It didn’t occur to me that there may be a surge of any sort. We just don’t get storms like that. Well, at least not till now. 

The tackle on the bottom is about 1100 lbs of steel & concrete. Under ‘normal’ circumstances this is plenty adequate to hold the boat.  However, as the surge came up the chain and buoy reached their limit. Added to that is the relatively short pennant I have to attach the boat to the buoy and the boat simply lifted the tackle off the bottom.  It would never have dragged but pulling straight up was absolutely no problem at all.   So my boat, with it’s buoy & tackle drifted. Toward shore. And other boats that are moored in shallower water.

Little Bear ended up bumping into a trimaran. Between the trimaran and the shallower water she stopped drifting toward shore.  The following day I hustled down to the river to assess the damage and rectify the mooring.  Understand that Little Bear has no fuel tanks at the moment so her engine won’t run!! In a pinch I could have filled a jerry can and stuffed the fuel hose into that but with time and circumstances it was easier just to tow it.

The chap who owns the trimaran was also there.  He helped me with a tow and we moved Little Bear to an empty mooring much further up river. His boat didn’t have any damage at all and Little Bear only suffered the indignity of a bit of scuffing on her new shiny paint.

It could have been worse. Much worse. Look at those pictures!  Some of those boats I know quite well. Every spring they haul out at my club’s facilities for maintenance, bottom cleaning etc. Now they’re gone. I still have a boat. And she’s safe and secure.  Thank God.

Next week I’ll post what the water around the club looked like… stay tuned.