Bute Island Regional Park occupies a 0.9 hectare (2.2 acre) island located in Ladysmith Harbour. The small island became a park in 2018 when the Cowichan Valley Regional District (CVRD) acquired the property as the first addition to establishing a Ladysmith Harbour Islands Regional Park. Bute Island had previously been owned privately. Since the acquisition, residents and visitors have been able to walk the rustic trail circling the island, seek out its flora and fauna, and explore its baylets with low-tide beaches. The Park is also home to a floating day-dock that can accommodate canoes, small boats, dinghies and kayaks.
This summer, Bute Island became more accessible to larger recreational craft after the CVRD, in collaboration with the BC Marine Parks Forever Society, installed eight pin-and-chain stern ties on the island’s west side. The tie pins are securely bolted to the shorelines’ bedrock and a chain hangs down from the pin to the waterline. After anchoring, boaters can easily tie a stern line to the chain without being required to clamber up a jagged, sometimes steep and slippery shoreline to stern tie their boats.
The CVRD approached the non-profit BC Marine Parks Forever Society (MPF) to partner with the pin-and-chain stern tie installation. The Society provided funding assistance and materials, as well as its long technical expertise mounting these devices on other island shores. It’s part of the Society’s mandate, whose all -volunteer staff fundraise to secure more marine parks in our province and to improve marine safety. It’s been reported that boaters began using the stern ties and chain combo just days after installation.
Tie pin-and-chain stern ties also help preserve trees that have often served as tie-ons. Arbutus trees, which frequently edge our shores, are particularly sensitive to rope chafing. Other trees can also be stressed and even pulled over if they’re not deeply rooted.
With a stern line threaded through the chain and a bow anchor out, the boat stays in place and significantly reduces the impact of the anchor chain scouring bottom habitats, including eelgrass beds and other aquatic plants and animals.
Both the CVRD and MPF are happy with Bute Island stern-tie results. “The BC Marine Parks Forever Society (www.bcmpfs.ca/) is pleased to participate in this project to add to the number of stern ties available to boaters on the BC coast,” said Jim Phillips, president of the BC MPF. “The society has donated over $130,000 for the installation of stern ties since 2015 and looks to continue its efforts with federal, provincial, and municipal governments, and to improve the environmental and safety aspects for all boaters.”
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