Derelict Boat Stays in Howe Sound


Despite assurances that it would be taken away, the boat owned by Steen Larsen stays in Howe Sound.
Photo: Gagandeep Ghuman

By Gagandeep Ghuman
Published: June 14, 2014

From a distance, the boat looks like a scab on the clear skin of Howe Sound. Up close, it looks less of an affliction or so says Steen Larsen.

“The tug boat is in excellent shape,” Larsen told the Reporter.

“The tug boat is in excellent shape.” Steen Larsen

“From a distance it looks a little tattered, but the condition is very good, it just needs a paint job.”

The tug boat is visible from the Highway, but also from the new Sea to Sky Gondola, Larsen’s ‘gift to the community’ as one visitor wryly remarked looking at the distant brown blob.

It’s been a month since Larsen promised the boat would be removed, but it remains in Squamish, casting an ominous shadow on the Howe Sound. 

About a month ago, it dragged the buoy it was tied to and started drifting towards the shore.

Larsen said the chain was so old that it let go. He said he was negotiating the boat’s removal from the Sound.

“We will take it away…and it won’t come back,” he said.

“It was never meant to stay here, but this was temporary until we got approval for the new site.”

Larsen claimed he monitors the boat regularly and it’s in excellent condition.

He refused to disclose when or where the boat would be moved, claiming he is in the midst of a negotiation.

In January this year, Elf, a boat co-owned by Larsen, sank near the government dock and spilled up to 1,500 litres of diesel into Mamquam Blind Channel.

At that time, Larsen claimed to the CBC that the Elf could have been sabotaged.

Overlapping jurisdictions make it difficult to pin blame or find solutions to the derelict boats issues that have plagued Howe Sound in the recent past.

In March, the council also passed a resolution encouraging the federal government to actively enforce the federal environmental regulations with respect to derelict vessels.

There is no inventory of derelict or abandoned boats in the province, although Transport Canada is said to be working on one.

Some unofficial estimates, however, have put the number of derelict boats in the province at 200.


  1. MichaelL65 says:

    This idiot needs to be stopped.

    • Andy11 says:

      Totally agree! We had a spill once and then a month later another one is in. The system is broken if we can’t get this accident-waiting-to-happen out of our Sound.

  2. What? says:

    While we’re talking about building Christy Clark’s little LNG experiment on our doorstep and prepping to log right up to the Chief – in full view of anyone exploring our tourist gem, why not hold ourselves out as a dumping ground for derelict vessels too. I’m sure we could make some bucks.

  3. Curious George says:

    Needs a paint job, he says….Well, day-glow orange comes to mind; then it can be targeted more easily! Or it can be pointed out more clearly to tourists looking down on it from the Gondola. The present gradated rust finish is so camouflaging.

  4. tj says:

    It has an owner, so it is not a derelict….and it qualifies under Canadian maritime law, not the Squamishite NIMBY act.
    Take your complaints up with those in power that can do something about it, or not…
    Well done Steen !…. your addition gives texture to this place. Makes a wonderful backdrop for an oil painting, much like an old gnarly tugboat does…Frankly Starbucks and the parking lot is kinda getting boring to look at now…
    Looking forward to seeing more historical old timers…