In 1990, designer Harold Aune was asked to 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 exposed waters of English Bay. They required a boat that handled particularly well in sometimes rough, and shallow water. Whitehall subsequently built and sold the Vancouver lifeguards 22 of these Whitehall Spirit® Westcoast 11.6 lifeguard boats since that time.
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 Whitehall Spirit® Westcoast 11.6 rowboat was originally designed by Rudy Kirmshe in 1971. His design was for a rowing boat ideal for family use, with ease of rowing and handling. The Westcoast 11.6 has fuller shaped hull and 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 very 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 Vancouver 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 bottom 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 fitting both shorter or taller lifeguards plus another rowing station forward for use when passengers are carried. A bronze custom cast open anchor chock is located on the transom.
When delivered this boat is ready to row with only a pair of oars additionally required. Any standard traditional 8’ pair of oars will work however we recommend the Spruce/Carbon Fiber Traditional Oars, Oarlocks & Leather Collars or the Solid Carbon Fiber Oars with Scotty Collars and Oarlocks we can supply shipped with the boat.
The Westcoast 11.6 Lifeguard Patrol Boat has some definite advantages over the old wood boats. It never requires painting, the teak woodwork is weatherproof, so maintenance is minimal. And finally, it is gorgeous to look at, with its sweet lines and lap-strake style hull.
Like all Classic Whitehall Spirit® rowboats it is built to last 100 years or longer. However if the boat is going to be stored outside, we recommend adding a Sunbrella cover and Lexan battens to keep it pristine. If tying up to a dock is part of the scenario, consider adding a set of tie-up lines and fenders to your order.
This boat includes solid teak woodwork, bronze fittings as shown, lap-strake fiberglass hull with red topside strake, lifeguard lettering on both sides and on the transom, stainless steel teak wood-backed through-bolted keel strip, bilge drain/plug, and the bronze builder’s plaque.
Click here to download a printable pdf of this case study on the Westcoat 11.6 Lifeguard model.