We recently had the pleasure of boating as paying passengers on a tour boat out of Egmont, BC to Princess Louise Inlet and Chatterbox Falls. We chose to leave our 8-knot boat in Egmont and take the 25-knot tour boat to save time and give us more opportunity to take pictures of this beautiful area on a spectacularly sunny day.
Rice, our professional captain and tour guide, filled the short two-hour trip to the falls with historical and local information on topics ranging from native culture (with stops at two pictographs along the way) to local industry such as logging and fishing. The tour boat was filled to its eleven passenger capacity which also gave us the opportunity to meet other interesting people.
VHF Securité Call and Malibu Rapids
After thanking Rice for a great tour, we asked if he had any suggestions that we might share with others taking their own boat to Chatterbox Falls. He first acknowledged the numerous recreational boaters that frequent Princess Louise Inlet each season. Second, he noted that the traffic path through Malibu Rapids is S-shaped and that some boaters in an attempt to view the channel before entering, inadvertently position themselves on the wrong side of a port-to-port passage traffic pattern. He noted this happens in both directions and given the amount of boat traffic transiting Malibu Rapids in both directions, it would be helpful if boats maintain a port-to-port passing traffic pattern.
So what does all this have to do with VHF Securité?
Now for the VHF Securité topic: As recommended in the Waggoner Guide, many boaters give a safety Securité call on channel 16 before entering Malibu Rapids and other narrow passages with blind corners. The Securité call is a safety notice to other mariners, but it is not a right-of-way or Stand-On / Give-Way notice. The established Stand-On and Give-Way rules should be maintained; and in the case of rapids, the Stand-on and Give-Way rules are determined by the direction of the current. Vessels traveling with the current flow are the Stand-On, and those traveling against the current are the Give-Way.
~ Leonard and Lorena Landon, Managing Editors of the Waggoner Cruising Guide