It was so wonderful to be invited to an in-person media event in October: The launch and christening of the The Rugged Coast Research Society’s new vessel, a 32-foot landing craft which is capable of safely navigating rough west coast waters, carrying large clean-up crews, landing on remote rocky beaches, and carrying large quantities of debris. The vessel is designed and built in Coombs by Rival Craft. The ceremony took place at Brechin Boat Launch on a sunny fall afternoon, which made for a great first sailing.
The Rugged Coast Research Society is a Nanaimo-based charity with a mission to help the ocean through research and restoration activities. This year the society received operational funding through the Province of BC’s Clean Coast, Clean Waters Initiative to remove marine debris from high accumulation areas on the island’s west coast. To implement these clean-up projects, Rugged Coast partnered with local First Nations and contractors to aid with economic hardships associated with COVID-19.
A vessel of this capability does not come cheaply, and a fundraising campaign was launched. The Stanley de Vos fund, administered through the Nanaimo Foundation, donated $65,000 and provided matching donations for every $10,000 raised. Over the summer they ran a fundraising campaign that received large donations from local companies and many smaller donations through their website.
Run entirely by volunteers, the new landing craft has aided in the safe and successful completion of 4 large marine debris clean-up projects removing over 65,000kg of marine debris, and will be doing more.
Once launched, with a ceremonial bottle of champagne cracked over its bow, we trolled slowly through Departure Bay before flying over the swells to reach Snake Island. I was very grateful to be part of the “maiden” voyage of this remarkable vessel whose mandate is for the betterment of our marine landscape.