Discuss the problems and solutions to all of the situations that Pilot X finds himself in.
User avatar
By MichaelP
FLYER Club Member  FLYER Club Member

On Saturday a Beaver collided with a boat in Vancouver Harbour.

It would be very difficult for the pilot to see over the nose to the right, and then there’s the windscreen pillar and so it would be difficult to see and avoid this collision.

The boat had the aeroplane on it’s port side, and so boat to boat it had right of way.
But then an aeroplane taking off has right of way.

Normally Harbour Tower would advise a pilot of the waterborne traffic where there’s a risk of collision.

Perhaps, like we do when at an uncontrolled airfield where we might do a 270 degree turn to look along the approach path before entering the runway, in the seaplane we should do likewise.

Even an S turn to scan the water path before applying takeoff power would allow for see and avoid.
User avatar
By MichaelP
FLYER Club Member  FLYER Club Member

I learned some more today. To be confirmed!
I was told that the Beaver pilot replied to Harbour Tower that he had the boat traffic in sight.
(There were two boats looking at the video, maybe he saw the wrong one?).
According to an expert witness he was not in the take off area advised to waterborne traffic, “Alpha”, nor was he taking off into the wind.
I would have to look at the video a few times to confirm this.

The Beaver has a swing to the left and so most seaplane pilots offset their Beaver to the right to account for this.
The water rudder can be used up to “40 knots” I was told, (I have done this myself many times, but perhaps not to such a speed), they must be up before forty knots, they get damaged if the Beaver leaves the water with them down.

I once flew a Cessna 180 floatplane with a pronounced swing to the left on takeoff, I accepted the curve, nothing to do but hold full right rudder until it started to work.

During the takeoff slide, the aeroplane would step turn more easily to port than to starboard.

I must add, having looked at the video above, that the amount of swing varies with the position of the CG.
An aft CG will move the buoyant centre aft on the floats and worsen the swing.
The aeroplane was fully loaded and so the CG would have moved aft though it will probably still be within the CG range.

One thing that has changed since I first obtained my float rating is that the experience requirements have reduced considerably. ‘Supply and demand’.
User avatar
By Sooty25
Extract from a nautical chart below.

The green line is noted as being "Sea-Plane landing area", but it is not a restricted area.

Both boats were inside it as you can see the marker bouy is behind them.

The Beaver is inside the Sea-Plane area.


Technically the boats are "stand on" so have right of way.


You could possibly argue "restricted maneuvrability" but seaplanes don't really qualify, they are treated as motorboats.

However, I'd like to think that if I was at the helm of a boat crossing a known and marked Seaplane Landing area, I'd have my eyes everywhere, and be prepared to get out of the way of a bloody great big spinning propeller!

The pilot will cop the blame, but the skipper was either blind or arrogant. Just my opinion.
By Aerials
FLYER Club Member  FLYER Club Member
Extract from Times Colonist https://www.pressreader.com/canada/time ... 4368688529

Seaplane-boat crash third in B.C. in 25 years

Victoria’s busy harbour — which is shared by touring vessels, tug boats, small ferries, float planes and more — has its own set of rules, created by Transport Canada.

A seaplane crash involving a boat in Vancouver’s Coal Harbour on Saturday was the third in B.C. in the past 25 years — a list that includes one in Tofino, according to a database of investigations from the Transportation Safety Board of Canada.

In that collision, the float plane pilot had received clearance to land from the control tower, which is located at the top of a highrise building at the foot of Granville Street. The single controller who was working at the time did not see the boat when scanning the area before clearing the plane for landing.

Saturday’s crash occurred in a similar part on the harbour and involved a Harbour Air seaplane that collided with a pleasure boat as it was taking off. Vancouver Fire Rescue Services said two people on the boat were hospitalized, but no further details on their condition were provided.

Harbour Air said there were five passengers on board the plane that collided with the boat. All five passengers and the pilot were uninjured, the company said.

A spokesperson from the TSB said it is “too early to say what the causal and contributing factors are,” but that investigators were on scene Sunday and have begun interviewing witnesses.

Shortly before the collision, a tower controller called attention to a westbound pleasure boat approaching the northern end of the takeoff zone, according to an audio recording of communications with the pilot.

“Caution for the westbound boat … takeoff northwest at your discretion,” a controller can be heard saying.

The collision occurred in the waters between Canada Place and Stanley Park. The area, referred to as “Area Alpha,” is one of three takeoff and landing zones for seaplanes in Vancouver Harbour.

Though boaters are legally permitted to go within the takeoff and landing zone, port authorities ask boaters to keep clear because of the heightened risk, said Sean Baxter, acting director of marine operations at the Port of Vancouver.

“The most advisable course of action is to avoid this area altogether,” he said.

A buoy outside the plane terminal marks the southwest corner of Area Alpha, but there are no formal visual markers on the water, Baxter said.

He said the area is clearly marked on navigation charts.

There are between 60,000 and 70,000 seaplane takeoffs and landings each year in Vancouver Harbour and another 25,000 to 30,000 aircraft enter the airspace, according to a 2019 article on Harbour Air’s website.

Area Alpha is “absolutely” the busiest of the three zones, said Randy Hanna, founder of Nanaimo-based Pacific Seaplanes.

Hanna, who has flown seaplanes in and out of Vancouver Harbour “thousands” of times, said when it comes to boat and other marine vessels — which include seaplanes until they take flight — collision regulations clearly state that “when something is on your right, you give way.”

Rules aim to keep harbour safe

Victoria’s busy harbour — which is shared by touring vessels, tug boats, small ferries, MV Coho, float planes and more — has its own set of rules created by Transport Canada. Known as the Port of Victoria Traffic Scheme, the rules “help avoid collisions so you stay safe on the water,” Transport Canada says on its website.

The Greater Victoria Harbour Authority pointed to the federal directions in a statement made following Saturday’s collision.

“GVHA provides this traffic scheme to all boating clients when they make a marina reservation,” the harbour authority said. “We also educate boating clients about the importance of following these safety regulations.”

Victoria Harbour is considered a water airport and boaters have to stay clear of seaplane runways — one in the Middle Harbour and one in the Outer Harbour.

“Upwards of 100 flights take off or land in the port per day,” Transport Canada said.

White strobe lights atop beacons at Shoal Point, Laurel Point, Berens Island and Pelly Island will flash whenever a seaplane is about to land or take off. “When you see the strobe lights, use extreme caution,” the federal agency says.

Paddlers can cross the runways in just two spots: the narrows from the Songhees to Laurel Point and in a straight line between Shoal Point and Berens Island. Otherwise, they have to keep to the shoreline.

Power-driven vessels under 65 feet long, including sailboats, must use marked lanes when going through the Outer and Middle harbours; those 65 feet or longer can use runways. No sailing is allowed inside Shoal Point.