They are on standby 24 hours a day, seven days a week for nautical emergencies, and hope a new vessel will help rescues performed by Comox’s Royal Canadian Marine Search & Rescue Station 60 happen even more smoothly.
Unit Leader Jim Linderbeck said the Comox Valley Marine Rescue Society — the fundraising arm of the RCMSR — is working towards acquiring a new boat to improve service and safety for those who need aid in the water.
“It’s a state-of-the-art rescue craft and it’s jet-propelled,” explained Linderbeck, who added their current boat, the Bruce Brown II is reaching the end of its working life as a rescue vessel.
The new boat is a “fast, responsive, safe boat for the crew,” he said. “It’s a self-righting craft that can stop on a dime. It has a new diving platform and it’s much easier to pull a person on board.”
Linderbeck added CVMRS hopes to have the boat by 2015.
The RCMSR is a volunteer marine search and rescue organization and a part of the Canadian Search and Rescue (SAR) system.
Volunteers of Station 60 are community members who give their time to be trained in marine SAR and boating safety eduction to better serve the people of the Comox Valley and save lives on the water.
The organization has been in operation since 1978, and has been providing the service for commercial, recreational and tourist users of the waters surrounding the Comox Valley.
Their coverage area is from Oyster River to Fanny Bay, and Texada Island in the Georgia Strait. The CVMRS will also assist other units as well.
CVMRS performs more than 200 hours of training a year and responded to more than 50 rescue missions in the past year.
Linderbeck said their mission is also to promote public boating safety education and prevention, something which the organization will be focusing on even more this summer as boating season approaches and more people will be on the water.
“We’re stepping into high gear,” he explained. “All of our crew needs certification and we’ll be bringing everyone up to a high standard. Our coxswains are going to Nanaimo for upgraded training over the summer and will come back and train our crews.”
He added the CVMRS will have an increased presence on the water this summer, as Transport Canada has awarded the organization funds to perform safety checks on vessels.
“We’re not there to enforce, but rather to do safety checks on pleasure crafts. We will check everything from batteries, exhaust fans, to life jackets,” he said.
Linderbeck added the safety checks are non-compliant and checks by RCMSR are confidential.
“We make (boaters) aware, not only for safety reasons but also for them to avoid a future fine. It’s to their advantage to get the free safety check. We can go to them, or they can come to us.”
He noted both RCMP and Fisheries and Oceans Canada are increasing their patrols and safety checks for vessels.
The CVMRS are also looking forward to holding a contest to name the new boat, which Linderbeck said would like to be Comox Valley-related.
To have a vessel checked for safety and to ensure it is ready for the boating season, call Garry at 250-339-3842, and in Powell River, call Mike at 604-483-3918.
For more information or to volunteer, visit www.unit60comox.ca, or e-mail Peter at email@example.com.