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Auxiliary marine search and rescue at Comox needs support
Although some may ask what's in a name, the newly minted Royal Canadian Marine Search and Rescue based at the Comox marina hope the change will bring about community support.
The auxiliary station, which acts as a rescue society, has been on the coast for about 150 years, explained Jim Linderbeck, unit leader of the Comox Station 60.
He noted the rebranding of the Canadian Coast Guard Auxiliary-Pacific to the Royal Canadian Marine Search and Rescue is to bring about community attention to the volunteer group.
"We need money and we need to raise funds to keep our vessels running and for training. If we don't get that, then our area won't be protected the way it should be protected," he said to media.
"We're going to be doing the same as we did before, the only thing that's changed is our name. The reason that we've changed our name is because this is locally owned, this is community owned."
The local station has been providing services to the community for more than 25 years and comprises of more than 48 active and supporting members of the community.
The station helps boaters in a variety of rescue capacities from lifesaving to saving someone who is out of fuel.
Their area of coverage consists of Hornby Island to the south, to the middle of the Strait of Georgia to the north.
Linderbeck said the society attended to about 40 rescue emergencies last year.
"We're trained, ready 24 hours a day, 365 days a year to go out on the water and rescue or to help somebody in distress and that's our job," he added. "We're part of the community. If we can't replace our vessels and keep our crews safe ... what are we going to do? We're losing some support and we're going to become more involved in our area than what we are right now."
Jim Brass, president of the Comox Valley Marine Search and Rescue Society said the society does not receive any money from the Canadian government, but solely from money raised within the community.
"Everyone here is a volunteer. We need to get rid of this vessel which is basically the oldest vessel with the Coast Guard on the Pacific coast," he said to media, and added they hope to have a new vessel by 2014 or 2015.