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Action needed TODAY – Floatplanes coming to Squamish

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by mjamero » Sun Aug 23, 2020 7:06 am

Does the town of Squamish also have plans to clean up and push out the log booms in that side channel? It seems all those logs in and around that area are a serious hazard to float plane operations. All it takes is one loose dead head and you have dead people.
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by raquo » Sat Jun 08, 2024 8:09 pm

For the record – Harbour Air floatplane collides with boat in coal harbour.

https://globalnews.ca/news/10554741/pla ... l-harbour/

https://www.reddit.com/r/vancouver/comm ... _downtown/
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by Ryan » Sun Jun 09, 2024 3:43 am

With the amount of congestion in the blind channel and the Nexan bay I don't know how it could ever be safe for aeroplanes to land and takeoff there. Clearly the pilots have a very restricted view of the water.

Here are the rules if anyone wants to figure out who's fault that was. https://laws-lois.justice.gc.ca/eng/reg ... ge-56.html
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by raquo » Mon Jun 10, 2024 8:44 pm

In addition to CARs, marine collision regulations also apply, and they treat seaplanes as vessels – section 1 (3).

Marine collision regulations 18 (a) seems to give right of way to the seaplane taking off:

A power-driven vessel underway shall keep out of the way of:

(ii) a vessel restricted in her ability to manoeuvre,


Marine collision regulations 18 (e) pulls in the other direction:

A seaplane on the water shall, in general, keep well clear of all vessels and avoid impeding their navigation.


Then there's 15 (a) which would put the blame on the seaplane in this particular case:

When two power-driven vessels are crossing so as to involve risk of collision, the vessel which has the other on her own starboard side shall keep out of the way and shall, if the circumstances of the case admit, avoid crossing ahead of the other vessel.


Then there's the air traffic controller, who allegedly warned the aircraft about the boat prior to takeoff. If that's true, sections 8 (f) (i) and 16 become relevant too.

Then there's section 8.23 of Port of Vancouver Information Guide which prohibits pleasure craft from entering the designated seaplane zone:

The aircraft operations zones marked on the chart are areas of high activity and
operators of recreational vessels or pleasure craft are required to keep clear.


So there are rules that put blame on the boater, AND on rules that put the blame on the pilot. The fault will likely be split. Disclaimer: not a lawyer, this is my personal understanding of the situation.

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The elephant in the room that isn't talked about much is the poor forward visibility in these aircraft on takeoff. I'm almost certain that in this case the engine cowling obscured the pilot's view of the boat. If you've seen videos showing how many kids can you hide in front of a modern American SUV without the driver noticing, it's like that but worse.

This accident shows that even with an air traffic control tower, which Squamish won't have, operating seaplanes in a busy marine traffic area safely is very challenging, to say the least.

For our location, the only reasonable option is for seaplanes to taxi at normal speeds to the Darrel bay area, and take off from there. Over there, there's very little traffic, and waves are not as big as near Oceanfront beach. But they don't want to do it, because it takes more time and fuel.

Unfortunately for us, I think this accident raises the prospect of Transport Canada resuming legislative work on NPA 2019-014 which would see more strict traffic separation (aka exclusion zones) for urban water airports like Squamish.

We will need strong advocacy to avoid being excluded from prime sailing locations. I am monitoring CARAC notices for air regulation proposals, but I do hope that Transport Canada will reach out to us prior to deciding on the new regulations. And I hope that "us" (the SWS?) will have someone fully dedicated to Oceanfront beach users interests at the time.
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by Cathulu » Mon Jun 10, 2024 10:17 pm

Despite the Nexan beach access (or whatever it is called) providing a "free" launch site that allows peopleto avoid a SWS membership, it is perhaps in all of our best interests to support SWS for advocacy and help deal with water access.

I will continue as a member for those days when really only the river will deliver.

SWS might consider a membership tier that say includes advocacy and rescue services, but no boat ride to the Spit???

Food for thought...
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by raquo » Thu Jun 13, 2024 12:06 am

Some news coverage below.

As I expected, the media reaction to this accident is revolving around ways to implement traffic separation, mark up the water airport runways, ban boaters from those areas, increase licensing requirements for boaters, etc. And when the floatplanes' lack of forward visibility and maneuverability is even mentioned, it's always in the context of "that's why boaters must be the ones to avoid seaplanes". Somehow I doubt that they will extend the same generosity to wingers. Worryingly, I am seeing Victoria harbour mentioned as a model to follow – and that one is more tightly regulated than coal harbour. The port authority says that they will follow the recommendations by TSB when they come out. We'll have to wait to see what those are.

This accident shows that we need to take the risk of floatplane operations in Squamish seriously, because by the time they start operating, the traffic separation rules will likely be tighter. And even without extra regulations, we now see that when things go wrong, it's our lack of training that will be questioned, and ultimately us who will be pushed out in the name of safety / traffic separation.

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https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7d-3gfbVLXI

Sean Baxter, Vancouver Fraser Port Authority:
if you're encountering ... seaplanes, it's important to remember that those port users have limited visibility and can't always see you clearly


CTV correspondent:
The question is, after Saturday, should they make it [seaplane takeoff area] off limits [to boats] at all times? Should they put up barriers? Should there be fines? That's all things they'll be looking into.


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https://vancouversun.com/news/local-new ... -collision

Randy Hanna, founder of Nanaimo-based Pacific Seaplanes::
"The wind direction may well have been carrying the sound of the aircraft away from him [the boater] and if he was sitting up on a seat with the wind in his ears, the vessel operator may not have been aware” of the plane until the last minute


What kind of training is needed for boating? [...]


There are no navigational aids — visible markers like buoys delineating the aircraft takeoff and landing area — on the water, though “that might change,” Baxter said, depending on recommendations from the Transportation Safety Board following their investigation


By contrast Victoria’s waterfront has a clearly marked runway zone, with rules about how and when vessels can encroach on it.


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https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/british- ... -1.7230864

Director of the Canadian Safe Boating Council:
The vessel that is least maneuverable is the one that has the right of way ... When a floatplane is either landing or taking off, it cannot change its course ... So any other objects on the water have the responsibility to give way and to stay well clear.


Daniel and Candice Hecjman said they had close encounters with two different seaplanes while sailing in Coal Harbour in February 2019. The couple is calling for more buoys and lights in Burrard Inlet to warn boaters to avoid areas where seaplanes can land. "If the planes knew exactly where they're supposed to take off and land, then boaters will never go in that zone," Daniel said.


Hayne pointed out that in B.C., residents do not require a pleasure craft operator card if they are simply renting a pleasure boat—although he says there are discussions about changing that.


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And some more, including more detailed comments from the port authority, and Randy Hanna's description of how chaotic the coal harbour environment is for seaplanes:

https://www.burnabynow.com/the-mix/vanc ... on-9069978

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Also, it appears that the air traffic controller did warn the floatplane about the incoming boat:

https://vancouversun.com/news/local-new ... -boat-rare

Shortly before a collision involving a float plane on Saturday in Vancouver’s Coal Harbour, a tower controller called attention to a westbound pleasure boat approaching the northern end of the takeoff zone, according to an audio recording of communications with the pilot. “Caution for the westbound boat … takeoff northwest at your discretion,” a controller can be heard saying.

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