“Turn down loud party boat ‘music’ in Vancouver harbour”: Online petition asks City and Coastal Health for action

English Bay with boat, music petition July 2015Mayor Gregor Robertson
Vancouver City Council
Environmental Health Vancouver Coastal Health

Please help turn down the loud party boat “music” in Vancouver harbour.

Signed: xxx


Those are the words of the “Please help turn down the loud party boat ‘music’ in Vancouver harbouronline petition started on Change.org by Vancouver resident Elvira Lount. Perhaps she has a point. In raw numbers, it may be a few hundred people enjoying the music on the boats each night, but tens to hundreds of thousands — including tourists, visitors, and locals — hearing it from water and land all around English Bay. This topic is worthy of public debate, a policy response, and perhaps also some more cooperation or self-regulation from the industry. What are best practices in other urban centres that have party boats?


Below is the explanatory text from the petition.

Every summer Vancouver beach goers and the surrounding communities are subjected to loud party boat “music” emanating from the charter boats cruising in the harbour. Every summer local citizens complain and every summer nothing changes.

Sometimes there are 3 or 4 boats out at a time competing with each other, blasting away from 1pm to 11.30 pm on holidays and weekends. Since sound is amplified over the water, people at the nearby beaches, and within a few blocks radius, can hear it, whether they like it or not. The worst is when there’s a pounding base. That really gets on people’s nerves.

Vancouver has by-laws governing noise. These include both amplified and non amplified music in our neighbourhoods and parks.

The Vancouver City noise by law 6555 states that “Sounds from a radio, television, musical instrument or voice amplification equipment must not cause an unreasonable disturbance.” http://vancouver.ca/your-government/noise-control-bylaw.aspx

In Vancouver a permit is required if you want to hold an outdoor block party, and you’re also required to get 65% of your neighbours to sign off on it. http://vancouver.ca/doing-business/block-parties.aspx

The Vancouver Park Board by-law 8 (c) states “No person shall operate any amplifying system or loud speaker in any park without the written permission of the General Manager first had and obtained… 22. No person shall: …(l) in any portion of a park designated as a “quiet area” and posted as such, operate a radio, tape player, or other device capable of transmitting live or recorded sound, unless the sound is transmitted directly to a person’s ears through the use of headphones.


But it appears that noise by-laws are meaningless when it comes to loud party boats in our harbour. It appears that out on the water it’s open season as far as noise. I’ve been told by the Vancouver Police Department that there’s a jurisdictional problem. No one seems to really be in charge of these party boats. They’re not subject to city noise by-laws and the Port Authority has no authority.

However, there is a solution. Charter boat companies are required to get a City Business Licence as well as a Liquor Licence. So, why can’t the noise levels be controlled via the granting of these 2 licences? I’m sure that if the charter companies thought they might lose their business and/or liquor licence they would turn down the music right away. 

We’re asking you to please do something to get the party boats to turn it down so we can enjoy a quieter time at the beach, sitting on our balconies or walking in our neighbourhoods. Many thanks for your attention and action on this matter.

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