Virginia Windover poses in front of the Coast Guard hovercraft Moytel as Francia Heatcoat snaps a photo Tuesday morning at the old hovercraft pad on Parksville Beach.

Hovercraft slides in for a visit at Parksville Beach

Coast Guard vessel was part of Exercise Coastal Response 2016

Walkers and joggers enjoying the Parksville boardwalk Tuesday morning got a bonus on their outing when the Canadian Coast Guard hovercraft Moytel made an unexpected landing at the long-disused hovercraft pad at the end of Community Park.

The ship, stationed at the Sea Island hovercraft base in Richmond, was serving a support role in Exercise Coastal Response 2016, a massive, days-long earthquake and tsunami response exercise taking place this week in Port Alberni. The Moytel arrived in Parksville to deliver the Heavy Urban Response van and crew, which then continued to Alberni via Highway 4.

After dropping off the HUR team and equipment, with the assistance of members of the French Creek Coast Guard station, the hovercraft remained at the end of the ramp for more than an hour as passersby took photos and were invited on impromptu tours of the craft.

“I’ve never been over here before, so I thought instead of jetting back, why not stay for a bit?” Captain Bruce Briggs said. “We’re just kind of doing some P.R.”

Briggs said that when he received his orders, he understood there was an old hovercraft pad on Parksville’s beach, but had no idea where it was.

“I looked on Google Earth to find it,” he said with a laugh. “We’ve got a woman who lives in Victoria but works up this way, and I had her come out and take some pictures to send us.”

The hovercraft arrived for offloading shortly after 8 a.m. After offering tours and posing for photos with curious onlookers, the Moytel pushed back into the shallow surf at 10:15 a.m., filled its ballast tanks and powered up for the return trip to Sea Island.

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

Just Posted

Reporter takes to the skies: Qualicum Beach flight school now up and running

PQB News staffer Cloe Logan tries flying with instructor Mike Andrews

Parksville council members share views on affordable housing

Divergent opinions on responsibility, priorities

Massive early-morning blaze destroys unoccupied Nanoose Bay home

Firefighters from three departments called in to battle fire

Captain Dziadyk to end season with Oceanside Generals on high note

Qualicum Beach player is longest-serving player in team history

UPDATE: Two killed in fiery collision on Highway 1 near Revelstoke

The Trans Canada Highway was closed for four hours

Father, two children killed after car goes over embankment on B.C. highway

The single vehicle crash occured near Kamloops on Highway 5A

Comox Valley cat rescue organization hit by camera theft

“Someone is taking from an organization trying to help cats who are surviving in the wild.”

Trout ‘doing quite well’ at Kootenay hatchery after otters, who ate 150 fish, relocated

River otters had been pillaging a moat outside the facility for months, gobbling up about 150 trout

VIDEO: Illicit drug overdoses killed 981 in B.C. in 2019, down 38%

Chief coroner says figures were down about a third in the province’s fourth year of the opioid crisis

Trudeau revisits blackface embarrassment during Black History Month

Photos and a video of Trudeau wearing makeup to darken his skin surfaced during last fall’s election campaign

Most Read