Community

Marine Search and Rescue volunteers needed

Royal Canadian Marine Search and Rescue (RCM-SAR) Station 60 – Comox Valley is looking for new volunteers to assist with marine search and rescue services around the region.

The RCM-SAR Station 60 is comprised of a number of dedicated volunteers that provide marine search and rescue, first aid, vessel assistance and towing in Barclay Sound and Georgia Strait; from south of Campbell River, east to Powell River and south of Hornby and Denman Islands.

Volunteers train year round developing boat handling skills, rescue procedures, first aid skills, navigation and team work. Station 60 also provides support to a number of on-water events in the community such as Snow-to-Surf, volunteer boat safety inspections and parades.

In 2012, volunteers collectively contributed over 3,700 hours in training and emergency calls. Last year, Station 60 responded to 40 emergency calls and carried out over 750 hours of training and operations. Its most recent high-profile callout was the sailboat that ran aground near Union Bay on Jan. 7.

Additional volunteers are needed for the next training course in March. The training will include basic boat-handing skills (seamanship), first aid training, navigation work, GPS and electronic pilotage, and search and rescue techniques.

You qualify if you are 19 or older with at least a PCOC and a strong commitment to volunteering for your community. Additional qualifications such as a marine radio operator's certificate and boat-handling skills are an asset.

All training is based on a detailed training program developed by the Royal Canadian Marine Search and Rescue. Once certified as new crew, volunteers assist with rotating call approximately once a month.

“Volunteering with RCM-SAR Station 60 provides me the opportunity to help out the community and learn more about boating, which I enjoy,” states station leader Jim Linderbeck. “I enjoy being part of a great bunch of people who enjoy a common interest.”

RCM-SAR Station 60 Comox Valley has two vessels in their fleet — Bruce Brown II, a 30-foot enclosed cab boat; and a 22-foot RHIB (Rigid Haul Inflatable boat). The boats are moored at the Comox municipal marina and the unit has a floating base located there.

Persons interested in finding out more about RCM-SAR Station 60 can be at an open house this Saturday between 1 and 3 p.m. at the Comox municipal marina, where members will be on hand to discuss the operations and show you the vessels.

“We will be commencing a new recruit course start training in March,” said Peter Bolton, coxswain and membership co-ordinator. “We will be taking applications in person on the 23rd. We encourage potential volunteers to come along and find out more and apply for the available potions.”

— Royal Canadian Marine Search and Rescue Station 60

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