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100-Year-Old Boat Raised Twice from B.C. Lake

Mandalay B boat sinking
The 'Mandalay B' after her second raising in May / Photo- Columbia Shuswap Regional District

A classic wooden boat once kept on British Columbia's scenic Shuswap Lake has gone down for a second time, but thanks to several groups it has risen once again.

The century-old boat was raised from the lake in May of 2023 for the second time, but that's not the first time it's been brought back to the surface.

It first went down in January of 2022 during a particularly cold snap where icy cold waves seemingly broke the caulking between planks after constant expanding and contracting.

Her owner, Paul White, told the Salmon Arm Observer at the time: “When it warms up a bit, that ice will melt, especially if it’s on the sunny side of the boat, and then you’ve got a little bit of a hole."

“My plan is that we float the boat and fix whatever went wrong with it, which is happening in the next days, or weeks. Then there will be a lot of cleanup to be done, and then the boat will just continue,” added White.

The Mandalay B was originally built in Vancouver in 1923 by the Hoffar Motor Company. It was predominantly used along the coast before being resold and brought to Shuswap Lake in the mid-1990s. She was originally a diesel powered boat but we repowered in 1949 to house a 100 hp gas engine. White bought the boat in 1993 and spent the better part of 10 years restoring it. Classified as a 'power-cruiser yacht' she was a luxury vessel for her time, with a 46'8" LOA with an 11'1" beam and a 5'4" draught. She's always been kept in her original form with a full hardtop, a massive helm station, and noticeable living space below deck.

“I’ve owned that boat for 30 years and I’ve put a completely unreasonable amount of money into (it), which is the nature of being a boat owner,” laughed White. “My desire for that boat exceeded my common sense.”

After her sinking in January 2022, she was brought back to the surface by White and some private contractors in June of that year. Sadly, she went back down again four months later.

Unable to pay for a second raising, several government agencies including the Columbia Shuswap Regional District (CSRD), British Columbia RAPP (Report all Poachers and Polluters), Fisheries and Oceans Canada, the Canadian Coast Guard and Transport Canada were made aware of the Mandalay B and her repeated sinking.

The CSRD’s then began coordinating with Transport Canada’s Navigation Protection Program to organize a clean-up effort to remove and dispose of the boat.

“After months spent under the water, the antique vessel will not be restored to make a return to the lake,” said the CSRD, adding its Environmental Health Department waived the tipping fees for the boat’s disposal.

White was required to sign ownership of the vessel over to Transport Canada to have it removed and disposed of.

White said he was proud of the Mandalay B, its history and craftsmanship, and he appreciated hearing from others who admired it.

It marks a sad ending to a beloved boat that just couldn't stay afloat.

“I see people in the grocery store, people I hardly know say, ‘I saw your boat this morning, it was looking so nice, I just love seeing that boat, it makes me feel everything is right with the world… It’s like a step backwards in time,’” White told the Salmon Arm Observer before it was raised a second time. “So I love it for all of those things.”

“After months spent under the water, the antique vessel will not be restored to make a return to the lake,” said the regional district, adding its environmental health department waived landfill fees for the boat’s proper disposal.

You can watch the raising of the Mandalay B' in the video below:

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