A lot of smoke can be seen from a boat fire on the Crofton waterfront Thursday evening. (Facebook photo)

A lot of smoke can be seen from a boat fire on the Crofton waterfront Thursday evening. (Facebook photo)

Man’s retirement plan vanishes in flames on the Crofton waterfront

Firefighters douse burning boat to prevent spread to nearby vessels as blaze delays Saltspring ferry

Countless hours of work by Gary (The Duck) Drake literally went up in smoke and flames on the Crofton waterfront last Thursday night.

Drake, getting ready to retire from the Crofton Paper Excellence Catalyst pulp mill in about a month, saw a boat he’d been working on destroyed. It’s not known what caused the fire, but some sort of electrical problem is suspected.

Crofton and Chemainus Fire Departments responded to the call.

“Quick response limited damage to other nearby vessels,” noted Martin Drakeley, manager of fire and bylaw services for the Municipality of North Cowichan. “Fire was extinguished rapidly and handed over to the wharfinger.”

Wes Bissett of Chemainus, a longtime friend and co-worker of Drake’s, has started a GoFundMe page for him and hopes it will raise $5,000.

“I’ve known Gary the whole time I’ve been at the mill,” Bissett said. “He bought the boat and was living on the boat for a while. His grand plan was he was going to sell the boat and use the money to fund his retirement road trip and to pick up another boat from Alberta on his way home. That kind of went up in flames for him.”

Drake had been utilizing Bissett’s place to work on the boat and store it before putting it in the water. It had been there less than 24 hours when the fire happened.

“I feel bad for the guy, the last three months and the legwork he put in,” remarked Bissett.

The fire caused about a half hour delay to the Crofton-Vesuvius (Salt Spring Island) ferry sailings the rest of the day.

“To add some salt to that wound, the boat reached its age where agencies would no longer issue insurance so it falls entirely in his lap,” noted Bissett.

The GoFundMe page is listed under Duck’s Luck: That Ship Has Sailed.

“We started this page in hopes of taking away at least some of the sting this absolute catastrophe has caused, so we’re hoping anyone/everyone can donate whatever they can to help make his well-earned transition into retirement at least a little less stressful than it has become,” added Bissett.

For more news from Vancouver Island and beyond delivered daily into your inbox, please click here.

Boating

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

 

Charred shell is all that remains of Gary Drake’s boat. (Facebook photo)

Charred shell is all that remains of Gary Drake’s boat. (Facebook photo)

Just Posted

RCMP display some of the fish seized from three suspects who pleaded guilty to violating the Fisheries Act in 2019, in this undated handout photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO - RCMP
3 banned from fishing, holding licences after overfishing violations in Gold River area

Mounties seized the group’s 30-foot fishing vessel and all equipment on board at the time

A 3.0-magnitude earthquake occurred off Ucluelet just after 12:30 a.m. on April 10 and was reportedly felt as far south as Oregon. (Map via United States Geological Survey)
Quake off Ucluelet reportedly felt as far south as Oregon

Magnitude 1.5 earthquake also reported off Vancouver Island’s west coast hours earlier

Mya Servatius and Marilyn May handing out gift baskets to seniors. (Michelle Tremblay photo)
NISS students practice kindness by giving gifts to seniors

This project wasn’t part of a class at NISS, or for any extra credit.

Port Hardy Fire Rescue map of controlled burning.
Controlled burn happening this weekend on Highland Drive

No unauthorized persons, including media, will be permitted within the “Hot Zone”.

Restaurant patrons enjoy the weather on a patio in Vancouver, B.C., Monday, April 5, 2021. The province has suspended indoor dining at restaurants and pubs until at least April 19 in B.C. due to a spike in COVID-19 numbers. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
B.C. sets new COVID-19 daily record with 1,293 cases Thursday

New order allows workplace closures when infections found

B.C. Health Minister Adrian Dix and Premier John Horgan describe vaccine rollout at the legislature, March 29, 2021. (B.C. government)
1,262 more COVID-19 infections in B.C. Friday, 9,574 active cases

Province’s mass vaccination reaches one million people

People walk past the Olympic rings in Whistler, B.C., Friday, May 15, 2020. Whistler which is a travel destination for tourists around the world is seeing the effects of travel bans due to COVID-19. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Adults living, working in Whistler, B.C., eligible for COVID-19 vaccine on Monday

The move comes as the province deals with a rush of COVID-19 and variant cases in the community

RCMP crest. (Black Press Media files)
UPDATE: RCMP investigating after child, 6, dies at motel in Duncan, B.C.

The BC Coroners Service is conducting its own investigation into the circumstances around the child’s death

B.C. Premier John Horgan responds to questions during a postelection news conference in Vancouver, on Sunday, October 25, 2020. British Columbia’s opposition Liberals and Greens acknowledge the COVID-19 pandemic has presented huge challenges for Horgan’s government, but they say Monday’s throne speech must outline a coherent plan for the province’s economic, health, social and environmental future. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Horgan’s NDP to bring in throne speech in B.C., Opposition wants coherent plan

Farnworth said the budget will include details of government investment in communities and infrastructure

FILE - An arena worker removes the net from the ice after the Vancouver Canucks and Calgary Flames NHL hockey game was postponed due to a positive COVID-19 test result, in Vancouver, British Columbia, in this Wednesday, March 31, 2021, file photo. As vaccinations ramp up past a pace of 3 million a day in the U.S, the NHL is in a tougher spot than the other three major North American professional sports leagues because seven of 31 teams are based on Canada. (Darryl Dyck/The Canadian Press via AP, File)
Vancouver Canucks scheduled to practice Sunday, resume games April 16 after COVID outbreak

Canucks outbreak delayed the team’s season by eight games

Two-year-old Ivy McLeod, seen here on April 9, 2021 with four-year-old sister Elena and mom Vanessa, was born with limb differences. The family, including husband/dad Sean McLeod, is looking for a family puppy that also has a limb difference. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
B.C. family looking for puppy with limb difference, just like 2-year-old Ivy

Ivy McLeod born as bilateral amputee, now her family wants to find ‘companion’ puppy for her

A vehicle that was driven through the wall of a parkade at Uptown Shopping Centre and into the nearby Walmart on April 9 was removed through another hole in the wall later that night. (Photo via Saanich Police Department and Ayush Kakkar)
Vehicle launched into B.C. Walmart removed following rescue of trapped workers

Crews cut new hole in parkade wall to remove vehicle safely

Most Read