VANCOUVER (NEWS1130) – It was a happy ending to a dramatic rescue operation by the Coast Guard this morning in English Bay after two large boats collided.

High winds and large waves are being blamed for the crash.

The call came in around 4:30 a.m., when a 14-metre pleasure boat was swept up, crashing repeatedly against the side of a 21-metre sailboat. There was one man on the pleasure vessel. He was not hurt.

Coast Guard Officer Matt Thirkell from the Rescue Coordination Centre in Victoria says the Kits Coast Guard responded within five minutes.

“The nearest other Coast Guard Station is at Sea Island, which is approximately 16 miles away. So, their travel time could have been as much as half an hour, depending on their alternate taskings,” he explains.

How much longer would it have taken for response from Sea Island?

“The weather and sea conditions would affect their transit time. But it probably could have been as much as 20 minutes to 30 minutes for them to get on-scene,” estimates Thirkell.

The Kits Coast Guard is being axed by the federal government next year. But NDP Fisheries Critic Fin Donnelly argues this morning’s crash is another example of why the station needs to be saved.

“We need this station open. We need a fast response. We’re putting people’s lives at risk. I hope it doesn’t take a death for the minister to actually figure out how important this is.”

The pleasure boat is now at Granville Public Docks, along with the owner.