The voluntary 15-knot speed restriction aims to help keep port users safe. It is applicable to all tier 2 vessels, which includes any vessel that is not a deep-sea piloted vessel. Most recreational vessels such as power boats, fishing boats, and sailboats fall into this category, in addition to tugs, ferries, and whale watching boats, among others. Deep-sea commercial vessels already follow a speed restriction of 10 knots through the First Narrows Traffic Control Zone.

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The First Narrows is a narrow waterway with difficult tide and current conditions can make it difficult for small watercraft to navigate safely. During the summer months when the weather, the channel becomes very congested because of an increase in commercial and recreational vessel traffic.

Last fall, the Port increased the access area for recreational boaters through the First Narrows and around Siwash Rock. As a result, more pleasure crafts including kayaks, canoes and paddle boards are in this area, especially during this time of year.

As the Port of Vancouver mentioned:

Preparation and knowledge of safe boating practices and understanding your responsibilities on the water are key to ensuring your outing is enjoyable and safe.