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Dinghy operator lucky after cutting off freighter

VANCOUVER (NEWS1130) – A close call on the water has the VPD’s Marine Unit issuing a traffic warning to boaters.

It comes following a call near Jericho Beach where a 14-foot sailing dinghy cut in front of a 500-foot freighter.

The freighter immediately pulled an emergency stop.

Cst. Jamie Gibson with the VPD says it was almost too little, too late. “The pilot of the freighter believed one knot faster, he would have run over the sailing dinghy.”

The VPD is warning boaters to stay out of navigational channels and to never cut in front of large ships like freighters or cruise ships.

The operator of the dinghy didn’t even know the freighter was moving.

“Be just so aware that at any time, these large vessels can be underway,” says Gibson. “This freighter appears not to be moving and then as you get closer, you realize it is moving, now you’re right in its path.”

They can also take up to 400 metres to stop.

Gibson says boaters should constantly be on the lookout for traffic and be aware of any potential hazards above and below water.

Freighters and larger boats, like cruise ships, do have the right of way.