Video has emerged online showing an alarmingly close encounter between a boat and a pod of killer whales off Stanley Park.
"We knew something was happening," said Antonio Hurtado-Coll, who captured the moment the four orcas breached in a busy area near Prospect Point. "Then, we see this guy who is not stopping."
While most of the boat traffic in the area came to a standstill as the animals made their way through, Hurtado-Coll's video shows one boat speeding right past the spot where the pod surfaced.
"It was shocking to see this guy not stopping," Hurtado-Coll told CTV News. "I like to think he was just oblivious to their presence."
Marine mammal expert Andrew Trites agrees, calling the footage "disturbing to watch."
What you see in the video is also against federal regulations.
In May, Ottawa announced new laws to protect killer whales. As of June, vessels are required to stay 400 metres away from killer whales and officials included a voluntary "go slow zone" to help boats avoid interfering with the animals.
In the spring, MP Terry Beech announced the government was "asking boaters to reduce their speed to less than seven knots if they are within 1,000 metres or one kilometre of killer whales."
The federal Department of Fisheries and Oceans told CTV News it is aware of the incident. The department notes that the regulations apply to all boaters, including both commercial and recreational vessels. Anyone who fails to obey the regulations can be charged with an offence under the Fisheries Act, which could come with a fine of up to $500,000.
In this case, Trites said the encounter could have been deadly.
"Whales can also be unpredictable and it doesn't appear the boat driver paid any heed or had any concern for those whales," he said. "Both can end up being casualties."
Hurtado-Coll said he believes even inexperienced boaters should be using common sense around whales and paying attention to what others are doing on the water.
"Even when you're driving and you see that everyone is stopped or slowed down, you stop and slow down at least to know why," he said.
Anyone who witnesses people violating the regulations requiring boaters to stay away from killer whales can call the violation reporting line at 800-465-4336, the DFO said.
With files from CTV News Vancouver's Allison Hurst