The intense level of snow Kitimat experienced in just one weekend resulted in a number of boats lost at MK Bay Marina.
Marina manager Kevin Guest said four boats were sunk due to snow, two boathouses, and one vessel was nearly fully submerged before it was recovered.
Guest said staff went to work Friday morning but were sent away by noon as the road was to be closed off.
“We weren’t allowed back until Sunday,” he said.
Guest said the fact that boathouses toppled over is unusual and he had been out inspecting it and has some guesses for what happened.
“It’s very unusual for boathouses to go over. I’ve been out there in the boat to assess what it was and my estimate is that the boathouses that went over got heavy with snow and one side of the snow let go and then it becomes like a bobbing cork…they flip to the side,” he said.
“We’re just guessing because we don’t really know,” he added.
He said the next step is for the insurance companies to get in touch with boat owners to figure out how to proceed. The marina meanwhile is doing what it can to protect the environment in the area.
“Right now we have oil retention booms around the vessels to stop the hydrocarbons being discharged in to the general marina,” he said. “But the biggest problem is we’re getting fuel from Minette Bay and from the Village, because they had vessels sunk in both locations. Unfortunately the tide washes in to us more than anything.”
One of the boats which sunk is breaking up the sea dock, he said, because of how it came up under the walkway.
For boat owners whose boats didn’t sink, Guest says they should get down if they haven’t already and clear off snow to protect against future possible sinking.
Kitimat’s Marine Rescue Society has issues of their own getting to their boats so no efforts could have been made to save the marina boats until it was too late.
Unit Leader Chris Peacock said the group had seen the photos of the damage on social media and began fearing for their own boathouse too, but they couldn’t get to it until Monday because the road was not cleared until then.
“After shoveling off our boat and dock, I was relieved to see that no damage had occurred. At that point, attention was turned to MK Bay,” said Peacock.
He took a salvage pump over to the marina but the only boat that could save was a 12 foot aluminum skiff that was nearly under.
Peacock said boat owners and marina staff did a great job doing what they could to save boats.