A Point Roberts man, who’s marine services business has been deemed essential, has been helping Canadians retrieve sailboats moored in American waters. (Norman Orr file photo)

Point Roberts man reconnects Canadians with yachts moored in U.S.

Businessman with dual citizenship has found a unique way to stay afloat during COVID-19

While COVID-19 has left many business owners in uncharted waters, Philip Cragg, a businessman and dual citizen, has stayed afloat by reconnecting Canadians with boats that were moored in the U.S. when the border closed.

Born and raised in Vancouver, but now living in Point Roberts, Wash., the president of Richmond’s Pacific Coast Yacht Sales found a new revenue stream almost immediately after the Canada-U.S. border was closed to non-essential travel last March.

His business deemed essential, Cragg has spent the last six months reconnecting Canadians and Americans with their sailboats and yachts that were moored south of the 49th parallel.

“Today I’m doing a new 30-footer, brand new boat for an American customer that came from Vancouver. I’m just in the process of clearing customs right now,” Cragg told Peace Arch News over the phone Monday morning.

“I’m going to take the boat to Blaine, and then I’m going to turn around and bring a big sailboat back for a Canadian customer.”

He said there are a limited number of places in Canada that Cragg can bring a vessel, due to Canada Border Services Agency requirements. Most yachts and sailboats heading north from Blaine, he said, are taken to the White Rock Pier to be turned over to their owner.

On a typical delivery day, Cragg said he drives to Blaine, bringing a bicycle. After sailing his client’s boat to the White Rock Pier, he meets customs agents for an inspection and to receive a clean bill of health. After returning the vessel to its owner, Cragg hops on his bicycle and rides it back to Blaine to pick up his vehicle.

“So I’ve gotten a ton of exercise this summer,” Cragg said.

Cragg said there are quite a number of Canadians and Americans who remain separated from their vessels due to the border closure.

Prior to the pandemic, Canadians would head south every two weeks to check on and maintain their boats, he said. Months without routine maintenance can cause a whole host of problems, which inevitably end up being costly.

“Like a car… If you don’t run it on a regular basis, they won’t start. Things seize up and they fall apart,” Cragg said.

“When you leave a boat sitting in salt water especially, you get an amazing amount of growth occurring, especially if it’s stagnant. So you get barnacles and weeds and mussels growing on your boat if it just sits there and doesn’t get moved.”

About 160 boats have so far been safely delivered, but it hasn’t always been smooth sailing, he noted.

“Have I had problems? Absolutely. Have boats broken down on me? For sure they have,” he said, adding that he’s also a skilled marine mechanic.

“I had a $3 million yacht break down and it took me five hours to get it running again. That’s a good example of an exceptionally well-maintained boat and it still had a problem.”

A highlight of this new revenue stream, Cragg added, has been seeing people’s reaction when they are reunited with their vessel.

“People have been more than grateful.”



aaron.hinks@peacearchnews.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

BoatingCoronavirus

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

PJHL delays start of season as teams struggle to secure facilities

The junior B hockey league was hoping to start Sept. 29 but is now targeting mid-October

Abbotsford has a COVID-19 rate 10 times higher than Chilliwack

Abbotsford has been much harder hit by COVID-19 than its neighbour to the east

Missing Chilliwack woman last seen on Wednesday

Friends and family concerned for Joy-Lynn Leon, 42, who was last seen Sept. 23 on Mary Street

Chilliwack illusionist Chris Funk brings live magic, music to Cultural Centre

‘You’ll see some creations that have made appearances on some of the largest television shows in the world’

Chilliwack’s Gary Robbins maps out epic trail across eight mountains

Robbins spent nearly 40 hours covering 110 miles and over 10,000 metres of elevation gain

B.C. records 98 more COVID-19 cases, most in Lower Mainland

One new senior home outbreak, Surrey Memorial outbreak over

Father hopes journey to aviation-safety program inspires hope

Former South Surrey resident Greg Sewell hasn’t given up on quest to mandate older-plane retrofits

$250K reward offered as investigation continues into Sea to Sky Gondola vandalism

Police also asking for specific footage of Sea to Sky highway around time of incident

Trudeau ‘disappointed’ by RCMP treatment of Sikh officers over mask issue

World Sikh Organization of Canada said taking Sikh officers off the front lines constitutes discrimination

Liberals reach deal with NDP on COVID-19 aid bill, likely averting election

NDP and the Liberals have reached an agreement on COVID-19 sick-leave

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

VIDEO: Mounties looking to catch Chilliwack bike-riding teen groper

Man caught on video slapping the backside of girl near CSS riding a bicycle

Money laundering inquiry delayed over of B.C. election: commissioner

Austin Cullen says the hearings will start again on Oct. 26

2 British Columbians arrested, 3 at large in massive Alberta drug bust

Eight people are facing 33 charges in what police have dubbed Project Incumbent

Most Read