British Columbia, Canada: At the mouth of the Fraser River the tides routinely have a 3.5-metre. Sixty-five kilometres upriver at Mission the coastal mountains are beginning to crowd the flat farmland but still the tidal range is frequently 1.8 metres.
‘No salt water reaches this far as the tide only serves to back up the river water. But the river can slow to a crawl from the pressure of the flood tide and with the combined ebb and river current the flow can be dramatic. This is no place for the faint of heart, especially when operating a towboat in the river currents. But this is the routine for the operators of the boats at Catherwood Towing based in Mission, BC. Much of the work involves moving booms from storage along the river side to lumber and shingle mills that are also along the river. The booms are made up in 18-metre by 18-metre sections and are chained together.
Capt. Butch Salsbury on Cahterwood’s ‘Sea Imp X’ explains that when he started with the company 22 years ago they would often deliver enough sections to a sawmill to last them for a week, but now, with escalating log prices, the mills want the logs delivered one or two sections at a time. “And they want it right now,” he laughs.