17 inexperienced paddleboarders rescued near Lions Gate Bridge
More than a dozen "wayward paddleboarders" had to be rescued near the Lions Gate Bridge this week after getting caught in a strong current, according to Vancouver police.
Authorities said the paddleboarders were among a group of 30 that left Jericho Beach on Monday afternoon intending to cross English Bay and eventually reach Ambleside Park in West Vancouver.
But the weather had different plans, and 17 of the amateur paddleboarders ended up separated from the group.
"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," Sgt. Steve Addison said in a news release.
"Unfortunately, this group thought there was safety in numbers, and they greatly underestimated the conditions."
A tugboat operator saw the paddleboarders in trouble near the bridge and called for help, prompting a response from the Canadian Coast Guard, Royal Canadian Marine Search and Rescue, and the Vancouver Police Department's Marine Unit.
The four agencies were able to safely return all of the paddleboarders to shore.
Authorities said the incident should serve as a reminder that the shipping lane in Burrard Inlet can be "extremely dangerous" due to the mix of heavy boat traffic, tides and wind.
Police also noted that paddleboards, kayaks and other human-powered vessels are not permitted between Siwash Rock and the Berry Point refinery to the east of the Second Narrows Bridge.