Monthly report 6: Interim Protocol for the Use of Southern B.C. Anchorages

From Transport Canada

The Interim Protocol for the Use of Southern B.C. Anchorages came into effect on February 8, 2018.

This report is for July 1 to July 30, 2018.

Highlights for July

  • Transport Canada’s National Aerial Surveillance Program:
    • completed 13 coastal flights, and 8 in the Canadian North
    • inspected 792 ships by air this month
    • observed no pollution from commercial ships anchored along the south coast
  • Vancouver Fraser Port Authority (VFPA) continued to follow up through ships’ agents with vessels that did not reduce their noise and light per the voluntary guidelines
    • Most ships that anchor regularly in south coast waters are aware of the protocol near residential areas
    • But many complaints still came in, usually about ships that are “first-timers” in our waters
  • Our Vancouver Oceans Protection Plan anchorage desk spoke with several community representatives who asked for a detailed explanation of the system VFPA uses to assign vessels to anchorages
    • We will work with the VFPA to draft a short summary of the specific factors VFPA uses to make an assignment, and will post it to our website
  • Two communities wrote to us in July, asking that anchorages in their near-shore waters either be relocated or removed
    • We noted these requests and shared them with the national Anchorages Initiative team
    • Any permanent changes, if necessary, will be made in 2019
  • Update on a complaint about noise and light and pollution reported in early August from the vessel STAR GRAN anchored in Ladysmith D:
    • Transport Canada inspectors, the Port of Nanaimo, BC Chamber of Shipping and the Canadian Coast Guard followed up on citizen complaints
    • We found that the vessel had reduced its noise and light per the protocol
    • We also found that the ship had not discharged sewage, ballast water or other pollutants

Data review

  • The July summaries show:
    • activity for the month
    • total anchoring days by site from February to July
  • New this month is a summary graph showing total anchor-days at each south coast location for the 6-month period, by size of anchorage
  • Use at larger-sized anchorages is still much higher than at smaller sites
    • This is in part because shorter vessels are sometimes assigned to larger locations when other sites are not available
  • To receive the summary data for south coast anchorages for February to July 2018, please email:

Next steps

  • Over the next several weeks, we will use traffic and length of stay data from the first 6 months of the protocol to look at how changing its guidelines might impact anchoring
    • For example, we’ll consider whether changing the length of stay at a Port or along the south coast will increase or decrease the overall congestion, or if a small change to the protocol could reduce transits
  • The national Anchorages Initiative team:
    • has received feedback from the first 6 months of operational experience with the Interim Protocol
    • has also received many comments and suggestions from coastal communities
    • will suggest studies we need to do before we finalize a new national anchorages framework and make long-term decisions that impact British Columbians (e.g., to determine the relationship between export growth and anchorages demand)
  • For more updates, read the August 2018 monthly report

Background information


Please send your anchorage inquiries to

If you have comments or suggestions about anchorages, you may also join the conversation at Let’s Talk – Oceans Protection Plan.

Related links