On average, the Comox Station receives 60 call outs per year. Photo by RCM-SAR member Chris Beech, Media.

On average, the Comox Station receives 60 call outs per year. Photo by RCM-SAR member Chris Beech, Media.

BOATING WITH BARB: Victoria JRCC and RCM-SAR Station 60 Comox work together to save lives

Barb Thomson

Special to The Record

Just imagine you wander down to the Comox Marina to look at the boats.

Foremost are two official-looking red and yellow powerboats.

What exactly are you looking at?

These boats are in part the result of the brilliant multi-level National Search and Rescue (SAR) organization that links the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF), the Canadian Coast Guard (CCG), and the Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO). Here’s the brief: if you need help, an alphabet is coming to get you.

Water is coming into your boat and the engine has failed. Who figures out how to rescue you? It’s easy. Somebody neatly divided Canada into SAR three regions and established one Joint Rescue Coordination Centre (JRCC) in each: Victoria, Trenton, and Halifax. The Victoria JRCC covers the entire province and coastline of British Columbia and the Yukon to the Beaufort Sea. I recently spoke with a Victoria JRCC SAR co-ordinator, who described their office as a large room with one window. From which they can see about one-third of Canada. Victoria JRCC would like boaters in distress to know:

• How to call us: *16 or #727 or 1-800-567-5111

• Where are you?

• How can we call you back?

• RCM-SAR Station 60 Comox does “a huge amount for us.”

Roch Massicotte is the Station 60 Leader. He described Cape Lazo and Paul Giles (those red and yellow boats) as “a local asset” and part of “a very good relationship” with Victoria JRCC.

“Time is crucial if you have a person in the water with average temperature of 12 degrees Celsius,” said Massicotte. “In those cases, JRCC will deploy all assets available for maximum coverage of the area of the lost person.”

Those assets include air and sea. On average, the Comox Station receives 60 call outs per year, although last year, 20 calls less. Those numbers are reduced by a year of COVID-19, and numbers hardly near what is given by the volunteers who keep the boats ready to go.

Massicotte would like local boaters to know: “If you suspect a person or vessel to be in danger, do not hesitate to call on channel 16 VHF Radio, the Canadian Coast Guard or 9-1-1.”

A delay could make the risk to rescue worse.

“It is much easier to cancel a call if the situation is resolved.”

JRCC Victoria: https://bit.ly/2KuDO2q

RCM-SAR Station 60 Comox: unit60comox.ca/


Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Comox Valley-raised Shay Sandiford has earned a spot on the Canada skateboard team. Facebook
Courtenay skateboarder selected to first-ever national team

A young man from Courtenay is among 12 athletes who have been… Continue reading

A WestJet flight on the runway leaving Comox. Photo by Erin Haluschak
Aviation company seeks contracted employees to fill former WestJet roles at YQQ

Menzies Aviation from Edinburgh Park, Scotland, operates in 34 countries across the world

A cougar was spotted Monday near Queneesh Elementary. (WildSafe BC photo)
Cougar sighted Monday near Courtenay school

Conservation officers are warning the public to avoid the wooded areas around… Continue reading

Island Health chief medical officer Dr. Richard Stanwick receives a first dose of Pfizer vaccine, Dec. 22, 2020. (B.C. government)
COVID-19: B.C. seniors aged 90+ can start to sign up for vaccination on March 8

Long-term care residents protected by shots already given

COVID-19. (Image courtesy CDC)
SD71 to address COVID-19 exposures with virtual town hall

The meeting is set for Thursday, March 4

Langley resident Carrie MacKay shared a video showing how stairs are a challenge after spending weeks in hospital battling COVID-19 (Special to Langley Advance Times)
VIDEO: Stairs a challenge for B.C. woman who chronicled COVID-19 battle

‘I can now walk for six (to) 10 minutes a day’

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry updates B.C.’s coronavirus situation, May 8, 2020. (B.C. government photo)
B.C.’s weekend COVID-19 cases: 532 Saturday, 508 Sunday, 438 Monday

Fraser Health still has most, eight more coronavirus deaths

B.C. Attorney General David Eby speaks in the legislature, Dec. 7, 2020. Eby was given responsibility for housing after the October 2020 provincial election. (Hansard TV)
B.C. extends COVID-19 rent freeze again, to the end of 2021

‘Renoviction’ rules tightened, rent capped to inflation in 2022

Face mask hangs from a rear-view mirror. (Black Press image)
B.C. CDC unveils guide on how to carpool during the pandemic

Wearing masks, keeping windows open key to slowing the spread of COVID-19

Churches, including Langley’s Riverside Calvary Church, are challenging the regulations barring them from holding in-person worship services during COVID-19. (Langley Advance Times file)
Tofino Resort and Marina has temporarily shut down after several staff members tested positive for COVID-19. (Nora O’Malley photo)
COVID-19 confirmed at Tofino Resort and Marina

Resort apologizes to Hesquiaht First Nation for Valentine’s Day boating incident.

Det. Sgt. Jim Callender. (Hamilton Police Service screenshot)
B.C. man dead, woman seriously injured after shooting in Hamilton, Ont.

The man was in the process of moving to the greater Toronto area, police say

Wildlife advocate Gary Schroyen captured this picture of a one-year-old cougar in the Sooke Hills using a homemade trip camera. Vancouver Island is home to approximately 800 cougars, which makes up about a quarter of the total population in B.C. (Gary Schroyen photo)
Wildlife advocate Gary Schroyen captured this picture of a one-year-old cougar in the Sooke Hill using a homemade trip camera. Schroyen presents Animal Signs: The Essence of Animal Communication on Nov. 30. (Gary Schroyen photo)
Declining Vancouver Island cougar populations linked to wolves

Large carnivore specialist says human development still plays biggest role on cougar numbers

Most Read