Back in 1990, designer Harold Aune was asked to help design and produce a rowboat specifically for use as a lifeguard patrol boat that is easily handled by one person. This was to replace an aging fleet of wooden rowing boats used by the City of Vancouver Lifeguards to patrol the waters of English Bay. They required a boat that handled particularly well in rough, shallow water. Whitehall subsequently built and sold them 20 of these Westcoast 11.6 lifeguard boats since that time.
Click here to download a printable pdf of this case study on the Westcoat 11.6 Lifeguard model.
In August 2017, the CBC (Canadian Broadcasting Corporation) published a news article about Vancouver lifeguards in which they showcased our boats in action through a couple of images within the article.
The Westcoast rowboat was originally designed by Rudy Kirmshe in 1971. His design called for a rowing boat ideal for family use, with ease of rowing and handling. The Westcoast 11.6 has an “untucked” transom rather than the “wineglass” shape of a Classic Whitehall. The fuller hull shape adds stability and provides more carrying capacity, making the boat suitable for carrying a heavier load or towing a distressed swimmer back to the beach.
The Westcoast 11.6 is almost identical in size to the old “woodies” the lifeguards had used for over thirty years. Interior modifications make it ideal for lifeguard patrol duties. It features extensive built-in buoyancy tanks, one on each side, eliminating the danger of swamping or sinking. A stainless steel through-bolted keel strip with a teak backing piece elevates and protects the keel itself from countless beach landings. This, in addition to two parallel hull-mounted strakes, protects the fibreglass hull from repeated beaching.
The gunnels are built extra tough to handle continuous and heavy rowing loads. There are two sets of oarlocks for both shorter or taller lifeguards plus another rowing station forward for use when passengers are carried.