Barbara Thomson is seen here using a stern tie chain to secure the family boat in Walsh Cove Marine Park, where the BCMPFS has installed 15 stern tie long link chains. Photo supplied

Barbara Thomson is seen here using a stern tie chain to secure the family boat in Walsh Cove Marine Park, where the BCMPFS has installed 15 stern tie long link chains. Photo supplied

Boating with Barb: Stern tie program benefits boaters and the environment

By Barb Thomson

Special to the Record

You find a beautiful anchorage in Desolation Sound.

Carefully, you line up the back of the boat with a stern tie chain you see attached on a shore rock. Next, you order the wind and waves to stop. Then you drop the anchor and hop into the dingy to pull a line from the boat to the shore. Eventually, you reach the long link chain installed by the BC Marine Parks Forever Society (BCMPFS) volunteers. Now you hop out of the dingy, pull the line through the chain, and then pull the line back to the boat’s stern where you cleat it off.

More than a few wonderful things have happened over the course of this simple exercise.

1. The boat is secured in a way that prevents the anchor chain from dragging across the sea floor, disturbing sensitive plant and marine life.

2. There is room for more boats because your boat doesn’t need room to swing.

3. Tying a stern line around live trees is not allowed in BC Marine Parks. Using a stern tie chain avoids intrusive damage to shore plant and animal life.

4. The BCMPFS Stern Tie Program has made an exercise in marine gymnastics safer for the environment and safer for you.

I recently spoke with George Creek, president of the BCMPFS, about what the volunteer Society’s “collective brainstorming” has accomplished for the benefit of all recreational boaters. He described how the Society “morphed” from its founding mandate (1990) to financially assist the provincial government with marine park purchases, into more of an advocacy group for recreational boaters. Creek said later changes in government priorities forced the Society’s membership to ask themselves, “Why do we exist?”

The BCMPFS Stern Tie Program was in part, an answer to that question, a decision to re-direct volunteer time, money, and energy towards already existing marine parks. The Society’s contribution of $124,000 has helped to install 185 stern tie chains in more than a dozen marine parks.

For all pleasure craft – motor, sail, paddle – the BC Marine Parks Forever Society has continued to work over the years to establish a legacy.

“It’s a story,” Creek said. “I’ll be invited to make a presentation and told, ‘okay, you’ve got 30 minutes,’ and one and a half hours later, I’m still there. People want to know, interest is piqued, and a conversation leads to knowledge.”

To learn more visit https://www.bcmpfs.ca

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