A Canadian Coast Guard Hovercraft roared through the Ucluelet harbour last week.
The CCGS Siyay was repairing and servicing navigational buoys in Alberni Inlet, Barkley Sound and Clayoquot Sound for the past week and docking in Ucluelet each night.
“The hovercraft are used to help deploy, position, retrieve and service buoys and other Aids to Navigation,” a Canadian Coast Guard spokesperson told the Westerly News via email.
“The large flat deck space provides a stable surface for this work, and the hovercraft can cover a large area efficiently. Hovercraft are also occasionally used to support work by Coast Guard and Fisheries and Oceans Canada such as the recent recovery of illegal crab traps in Boundary Bay.”
The CCGS Siyay was launched in 1998 and is one of four air cushioned vehicles operated by the Canadian Coast Guard across Canada, two of which are stationed in B.C.
The vessel, which measures 28.5 metres long and 12 metres wide, is capable of travelling over land, water, mudflats, shallow water, ice and other surfaces and, along with fixing up navigational aids, is primarily used for search and rescue missions.
“The ability to travel at a high rate of speed—up to 50 knots on the water—and travel across different surfaces means these vehicles can access areas that are more difficult to reach by land,” the spokesperson said, adding the Siyay is able to reach people in distress in areas where land-based first responders can’t access.