Sailing enthusiasts may soon have mooring buoys to tie up to off White Rock beach.

Sailing enthusiasts may soon have mooring buoys to tie up to off White Rock beach.

White Rock eyes buoys for summer

Boaters steer clear of White Rock beach due to lack of moorage, says Coun. Grant Meyer.

City of White Rock staff are weighing the costs and feasibility of making it easier for visiting boaters to moor overnight in Semiahmoo Bay.

Council last week unanimously endorsed a recommendation by the city’s environment committee to investigate installing six mooring buoys south of the breakwater.

It’s simply the right thing to do, committee vice-chair Gary Saunders said.

“It really is a no-brainer,” Saunders told Peace Arch News Tuesday. “It’s a safety issue, it’s being environmentally responsible – it’s a good thing.”

The buoys enable boaters to “park” their vessel off-shore without weighing anchor.

They typically have a weight that sits on the ocean floor that’s attached by a chain to a rubber ball that floats on the surface, said Saunders, who is also president of the White Rock Harbour Board. Boaters simply tie up to loops or eyes that are connected to the buoy.

Eliminating the need to weigh anchor is not only more convenient for boaters, it protects the ocean floor from damage that can occur from anchors ripping up the sensitive eel grass.

“I guess technically, you’ll disturb the ocean floor once, while you lay that mooring block down, but after that, that’s it,” Saunders said. “As opposed to boats coming and going, anchors up and down, up and down, dragging across the floor.

“Even in a light breeze, a boat will drift. We’re trying to get away from that.”

Coun. Grant Meyer – the council representative on the environment committee and a boater himself – said the buoys “just make sense.”

Meyer said fellow enthusiasts have said they won’t weigh anchor off White Rock beach because there are no mooring buoys.

He is hopeful they can be installed in time for summer. The process would require approval from Fisheries and Oceans Canada and Transport Canada.

Predicting cost to the city would be minor, Saunders noted he raised the issue following discussion of the harbour board’s Clean Marine B.C. certification in 2011.

“They said ‘you’re not being environmentally responsible unless you put in mooring buoys,’” he said.

“Now, we’re actually going to be protecting our environment, and promoting safe boating and bringing more business into the White Rock waterfront.”

“It’s a very small cost in comparison of what you’re achieving.”