17 stranded paddle-boarders rescued near Vancouver’s Lions Gate Bridge

Vancouver police say 17 paddle-boarders had to be rescued near Lions Gate Bridge on Monday after becoming stranded in strong winds, waves and currents while trying to cross English Bay. 

A tugboat operator spotted the paddle-boarders struggling in the conditions at around 3 p.m. PT. The VPD marine unit, coast guard and Royal Canadian Marine Search and Rescue all contributed to the rescue effort.

“Their lack of experience, combined with wind, tides, and waves created by heavy marine traffic, pushed the paddle-boarders into a treacherous situation,” said Sgt. Steve Addison.

“Unfortunately, this group thought there was safety in numbers, and they greatly underestimated the conditions.”

The 17 rescued were part of a larger group of 30 that set out from Jericho in Vancouver with intentions of reaching Ambleside in West Vancouver. The other 13 made it across.

Vancouver police are reminding people that human-powered vessels like paddle boards and kayaks are not permitted between Siwash Rock off Stanley Park and the Berry Point refinery in Burnaby, located east of the Ironworkers Memorial Bridge.

Addison said the incident also serves as a reminder that shipping lane traffic in Burrard Inlet can be extremely dangerous due to winds, tides, and heavy boat traffic.

“This mishap is a good reminder for anyone venturing out on the water to stay close to shore if you don’t have the skills and experience to safely navigate in open water,” said Addison.

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