The CCGS Moytel hovercraft parked on Harrison Lake beach between outings to upgrade the navigational aids around the lake last week.

Coast guard hovercraft helps in Harrison Lake

The CCGS Moytel journeyed upstream to support navigational aid upgrade last week

A Sea Island coast guard hovercraft, the CCGS Moytel took the journey up the Fraser and Harrison rivers to play a support role in replacing all navigational aids throughout Harrison Lake last week.

The craft has a removable crane and a stable platform that were useful in the four year nav aid maintenance cycle that took place over the week throughout the lake.

The upgrade that was a joint venture of the Sea Island coast guard base and Marine Civil Infrastructure (MCI) out of Victoria (a division of the coast guard), and included LED lights and solar installation this time around.

“With improvement in battery technology it gives us the opportunity for longer lasting more energy-efficient materials,” said carpenter and project lead Aaron Chan of the green tech.

New and emerging technology reduces annual maintenance costs and is actually a better product for mariners and boaters, he added.

The wind storm delayed progress of the operation and the crew finished Friday before heading back to base early that afternoon, leaving the lake beach where the craft had parked during downtime.

It was the first time the craft had been out to Harrison Lake, and it was met with strong winds during their approach early last week.

“We generally work in remote locations, so one of the biggest challenges is often the weather,” Chan said.

The hovercraft crew had to stop for 45 minutes on their journey up the river while they waited for the strongest of the wind storm gusts to subside last Tuesday.

The 28.5 metre long vessel is capable of a 50 knot cruising speed with its four Caterpillar C32 engines and was launched by the Canadian Coast Guard in 2013 and put into service in 2014.

It is owned by the coast guard mostly to run rescues on the mud flats near Vancouver airport should an incident occur, along with the CCGS Siyay.