Royal Canadian Search and Marine vessel not only help save local boaters but also offer assistance and safety tips. Photo submitted
Royal Canadian Marine Search and Rescue crews on the Sunshine Coast will be coming alongside local boaters this summer, but there will be no emergency. Instead, boat operators will be offered a free safety check under a new program supported by Transport Canada.
“We’re doing something new this boating season. While we’ve always promoted boating safety with shore-based programs, this year our search and rescue crews will offer safety checks for pleasure craft that are away from the dock and out on the water, “ said Royal Canadian Marine Search and Rescue (RCM-SAR) president Jim Lee. “Our search and rescue crews will have even more opportunity to connect with the boating public, help boaters ensure they have all the safety gear they need, and promote what we call search and rescue prevention.”
The Vessel Safety Survey Program is strictly voluntary and will be provided as a courtesy to boaters who request it. Crews will approach vessels and offer to check items such as personal flotation devices, signalling devices, fire extinguishers, bailers, radar reflectors, navigation charts, and other items. RCM-SAR crews are search and rescue specialists and do not provide enforcement.
The RCM-SAR 2013 Vessel Safety Survey program will receive $150,000 through Transport Canada’s Boating Safety Contribution Program, which promotes safe boating practices by pleasure craft operators and aims to reduce deaths and injuries from boating accidents. There were more than 560 boating-related deaths in British Columbia between 1991 and 2008.
During the past year, RCM-SAR crews were called out on more than 690 missions to assist people on the water in British Columbia. The lower Sunshine Coast is home to three stations: Gibsons (#14), Pender Harbour (#61), and Halfmoon Bay / Sechelt Inlet (#12). Station 12 alone responded to over 20 calls over the past year.
The Sunshine Coast RCM-SAR stations are three of over forty in British Columbia. These volunteer RCM-SAR crews provide 24/7 marine search and rescue coverage with dedicated fast-response rescue vessels that are designed and equipped for the task.
The Vessel Safety Survey program information can be found at: http://rcmsar.com/sar-prevention/vessel-safety-survey-program