Residents of British Columbia are faced with all manner of conflicting information related to current and projected levels of marine traffic density, navigational challenges and weather conditions on our coastline.
The fact is that traffic density is very low by world standards and will remain low, even if all development projects currently under consideration were to materialize.
With respect to coastal navigation challenges, our coast line is well charted, readily visible by the naked eye and by radar and presents no more or less of a challenge to qualified mariners than any other well used waterway in the world. Additionally, fog is uncommon and our inland waters are covered by the world’s largest single largest compulsory pilotage district. This adds a high degree of local knowledge and a further layer of safety.
So far as weather is concerned, those who commonly warn of the exceptional weather conditions on the BC coast are often unfamiliar with weather conditions elsewhere in the world. Certainly a statistical comparison even between the east and west coasts of Canada reveals very little difference in the frequency and intensity of storms. The east coast however, does have the challenges of winter ice-navigation.
If we then consider winter weather conditions on the coastlines of Europe and Scandinavia, Southern Africa, the east coast of the United States and even large areas of the eastern Mediterranean as examples, the prevailing winter weather on the coastline of BC is by no means exceptional.
Rogue waves are a fact of life in some parts of the world, the south east coast of South Africa in particular having claimed a number of victims but this is not a common phenomenon on the BC coast.