Houseboaters keep fingers crossed

Published online: Jul 18, 2011 News Kent Spencer - The Province
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Houseboat owners along the fastflowing Fraser River feel lucky to have escaped unscathed as the river swells to seldom seen levels at this time of year.

Ginger Sherlock, emergency coordinator for the two Langleys, believes that water-based craft are at increased risk because of the surging conditions.

"I'm more concerned about boaters and people who live in houseboats than I am about flooding on land," she told The Province on Wednesday.

"The river is up, the water is a lot faster right now and there is underwater debris," she said.
"If something were to fall in the water, like a dog, there would be trouble getting it back."

An inspection of Grants Landing, a community of about two dozen houseboats at 208th Street in Langley, revealed silty brown water swelling up impressively against protective pilings.

Steve McLachlan, who has owned a houseboat at the landing for 18 years, has been watching the river's awesome rise with interest.

"We are all keeping an eye out. Everybody is looking out for each other," he said.

Thursday night he planned to set up a special bed to observe the water's progress a little higher up than he is accustomed to -on the second storey of his floating home.

Grants Landing is one of the few houseboat communities on the Fraser's main channel, nestled against the riverbank but exposed to the full power of 10,000 cubic metres of water rushing by every second.

Houseboat owners at the landing prepared for trouble by stocking up on extra canned food and water. Some even bought generators.

Their biggest worries are things like a gravel barge breaking loose and smashing into the network of pilings that keep the little village secure.

If the waters continue to drop over the next few days, McLachlan will consider himself lucky.

 

Read more: http://www.theprovince.com/Houseboaters+keep+fingers+crossed/5107239/story.html#ixzz1STGAJNyA

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