Increased noise around Metchosin as Navy crews conduct underwater demolition training

Increased noise around Metchosin as Navy crews conduct underwater demolition training
Photo: Fleet Diving Unit - Pacific/Facebook
This photo from Fleet Diving Unit - Pacific shows crews participating in underwater demolition training at Whirl Bay in June 2022. Faces blurred by Fleet Diving Unit.

The Royal Canadian Navy says people in Metchosin and surrounding areas may hear increased noise and see more personnel amid underwater demolition training at Whirl Bay.

The training is happening for about a week, from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Sept. 14-22, with the demolition range at Whirl Bay, according to the Navy on Tuesday.

In a news release, it says this is part of routine operations, and while there’s “no cause for concern,” there may be increased noise during underwater demolition training hours.

The Navy adds that “strict mitigation measures and procedures,” including an air bubble curtain, will help limit the impact on fish and marine mammals.

“An air bubble curtain is used during underwater demolitions to reduce underwater sound pressure,” it said, “and acoustic monitoring will be conducted to verify the effectiveness of the bubble curtain at reducing sound propagation.”

Training will be delayed if whales are observed in or transiting toward the range, “and activities do not resume until the observer confirms all-clear,” reads a release.

“Operations at Whirl Bay employ an expert third-party marine mammal observer to advise military staff when the range is clear of whales prior to demolitions.”

The Navy says Whirl Bay, on the south shore of Rocky Point, is bordered by Pedder Bay to the northeast, Race Passage to the south and Beecher Bay to the west.

“The public is advised that they may observe military personnel, boats, and other assets in the area,” it adds in the release.

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Ethan MorneauEthan Morneau

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