A man died while boating off Ballenas Island north of Schooner Cove in Nanoose Bay just before noon on Sunday.
The unidentified 54-year-old man and his wife were towing a small boat behind their 42-foot pleasure craft just north of the island in nice weather when they stopped to adjust the towline.
The woman called for help at 11:48 a.m., according to Steve Church with the Rescue Coordination Centre in Victoria.
“She reported her husband was in the water and we sent out the call for help,” he said.
The man was wearing a life vest but was unable to return to the swim grid at the back of the main boat according to an RCMP press release.
A Coast Guard boat from French Creek arrived on the scene and found an off duty Langley firefighter in the water unable to secure the “fairly big man” who was unconscious, on his own. Other vessels attended the scene and helped secure the man to the swim grid.
They were joined by the RCMP and Coast Guard, who administered CPR as they transported him to Schooner Cove. There was a doctor refueling his own boat who helped and a defibrillator was used but the man was pronounced dead on scene.
Church said the weather was good at the time, there was some wind reaching 20 knots coming off the island at times, which he described as normal, and things where otherwise calm on the sunny morning.
The names of the couple, who were from Courtenay, are being withheld at the request of the family.
This investigation is now being led by the BC Coroner Service, as no foul play is involved.