Trans Mountain’s Westridge Marine Terminal is located on the Burrard Inlet in Burnaby, BC. In the spirit of respect, Trans Mountain honours and acknowledges the shared territories of the Coast Salish peoples, the Nuu-chah-nulth people, and the many Indigenous communities of the Salish Sea and Juan de Fuca Strait located in Canada and the United States who continue unique cultural practices as well as steward and protect the Salish Sea ecosystem including the shorelines, the ocean, and its watersheds.

As part of the marine community on the Salish Sea, Trans Mountain actively supports the Pacific Pilotage Authority (PPA) and Transport Canada’s work to raise awareness about boating safety in the vicinity of large deep-sea ships. To help spread awareness about safe boating in shared waterways, we’ve put together a short quiz on safe boating practices.

By taking three minutes to test your knowledge, you’ll be entered into a draw for a chance to win a $950 prize package that includes a YETI Tundra 45 Hard Cooler and a Fish Safe Vessel Emergency Ditch Kit.

Please read and review the terms and conditions before entering.

British Columbia’s southern coastal waters, including the Burrard Inlet, the Strait of Georgia, Haro and Boundary Straits and the Juan de Fuca Strait, is a popular destination for recreational boaters, including sailboats, kayaks, canoes and fishing boats. These waterways are also the primary travel route for deep-sea ships that call on the Port of Vancouver. On a typical day, it’s possible that a recreational boater may encounter a deep-sea ship, including tankers, dry bulk carriers, and container ships. These vessels regularly travel to and from Vancouver through the Salish Sea, which is within the traditional territories of the Coast Salish and Nuu-chah-nulth peoples.

Quick Tip: Tankers, dry bulk carriers, and container ships look similar from the shore. An easy way to identify the vessel is to look at the long flat deck for piping on a tanker, raised square hatches on a dry bulk carrier or shipping containers on a container ship.

Deep-sea ships are subject to many international, national and port authority requirements and operate under certain restrictions to ensure the safety of all waterway users. They travel in designated marine vessel traffic lanes in well-established patterns of movement. Due to their size and momentum, they are unable to easily change direction to avoid objects in their direct path. Deep-sea ships do not have brakes so they can take up to two nautical miles to come to a complete stop.

The course and speed of a deep-sea ship are piloted from the bridge—a control centre typically located at the rear (stern) of the vessel on the top level. The yellow area highlighted above represents the blind spot from the bridge, which can extend several hundred metres ahead of the vessel. Officers can see far in the distance but have limited visibility near the front of the ship (the bow). Small boat operators should take this into account and understand that there is a risk of harm to any small vessel that impedes the path of a deep-sea ship.

Quick Tip: As a recreational boat operator, an easy way to know if a deep-sea ship can see you is if you can see the windows of the bridge.

There are safe navigation responsibilities when traveling in the vicinity of large vessels. It is prudent for small boat operators to follow the requirements of the Collision Regulations and avoid crossing ahead of an underway ship. The Pacific Pilotage Authority and Transport Canada recommend that small boat operators wait for the vessel to pass and cross to the back of it (astern). If required to cross in front of an underway ship, exercise caution and remain 500 metres or more ahead of the vessel.

As boating season begins, here are important reminders to help prioritize safety on the water.

When in a shipping lane or a designated traffic separation scheme, be aware of large ships; cross shipping lanes at a 90-degree angle and keep clear of large ships.

If fishing is allowed in a shipping lane or designated traffic separation scheme, keep as near to the outer edge as possible and leave the centre of the channel open for large ship traffic.

Make sure the required additional lights are displayed.

Make a lookout by sight and sound. Sounding five shorts and rapid blasts in a warning signal.

Keep a listening watch on the appropriate VHF channel and set your AIS (Automatic Identification System - if fitted) for information on other ship movements in the area.

Consider fitting your small craft with AIS or a radar reflector to be visible to large vessels.