Search & Rescue Dispatches, July 2017

jane macdonald sar

When pagers sounded on Sunday evening (July 9) at 11:22 p.m. RCM SAR Station 12 members were notified of a Code 2 (Pan Pan call for help) for our inside vessel located at Porpoise Bay. No matter the hour, a Coxswain and two crew members responded to a campsite at Nine Mile Point where two separate groups of campers requested emergency evacuation due to an aggressive cougar who was stalking them.

Normally an idyllic campsite, the seasoned kayakers and experienced outdoor enthusiasts grew increasingly nervous after sunset when an agitated cougar appeared and would not retreat after several attempts to scare it away.  With young children in one of the camping parties, the responsible adults called for help and elected to give nature its space.  All supplies and camp materials were left for retrieval the next day due to the proximity of the angry feline, which can be a formidable hunter.

The visibly shaken and nervous campers experienced difficulty contacting water taxi or animal control assistance, due to the time of night and spotty cell phone reception.  A call came to Joint Rescue Coordination Centre, likely via 911 emergency call referral, which relayed the emergency location and situation to our local volunteer crew in Porpoise Bay. After boarding six adults and three children on RCM SAR’s swift response vessel and ensuring everyone had lifejackets, the crew transported the upset campers to safety for the remainder of the evening.

A number of sheepish apologies for calling were offered by the campers; there is no need to ever apologize for needing help, as that is why the Royal Canadian Marine Search and Rescue exists.  Saving lives on the water and helping to prevent accidents is what the crews of volunteers train for all year.  The Sunshine Coast has three volunteer-staffed Marine Search and Rescue stations which respond to boater (including kayak and stand up paddleboard) emergencies 24 hours a day, 7 days per week; Station 14 in Gibsons, Station 12 in Halfmoon Bay / Porpoise Bay and Station 61 in Pender Harbour.

All marine campers and boaters are encouraged to travel with a functioning VHF radio, where Channel 16 should be used to convey emergencies.  If coverage is available, distressed boaters can call *16 on mobile phones to call for help.  RCM-SAR will respond, no matter the hour or situation without judgment or penalty; it is what we do.

Search & Rescue Dispatches, June 2017

jane macdonald sarWhen a 40-foot powerboat began sinking on June 4, a sunny Sunday afternoon, seven people were rescued off the North side of Keats Island, Howe Sound.  RCMSAR Station 14 Gibsons and Station 1 West Vancouver, along with a Canadian Coast Guard vessel and crew from Kitsilano Base, were tasked by Joint Rescue Coordination Centre (JRCC) Victoria. With the additional help of a vessel of opportunity, all SAR teams worked closely together to ensure everyone made it safely home, and the boat got towed.

Calls for help on the water go to JRCC Victoria which coordinates and directs Search and Rescue Units (SRUs) within its area of responsibility. The centre serves as a communications hub and primary point of contact for the coordination and direction of rescue units and on-scene commanders in order to fulfill the mission in the safest and most effective manner possible.

Please remember to dial *16, #727 or call 1-800-567-5111 to report a marine emergency.

P 7 SAR rescue

Seven people were rescued when this boat began sinking off Keats Island on June 4. RSM SAR photo

The Sunshine Coast has three volunteer-staffed Marine Search and Rescue stations which respond to boater emergencies; Station 14 in Gibsons, Station 12 in Halfmoon Bay / Porpoise Bay and Station 61 in Pender Harbour.  To honour Canada’s 150th, RCMSAR crew will be escorting paddlers on July 1 as they traverse the length of Sechelt Inlet.

On land, Sunshine Coast Search and Rescue (SC SAR) is preparing for their AGM and reflecting on the past year’s 16 tasks involving 20 people in a variety of settings. A recent example was a task to assist at a motor vehicle accident where it was suspected the driver was missing; fortunately the driver was located. As we enter into peak season for enjoying the outdoors, SC SAR wishes to remind people of some basic safety precautions. Before heading in to the back country, leave a trip plan with someone, take ample food and water, bring a functioning, fully charged communication device and make sure you have proper gear, including first aid supplies.

Both Sunshine Coast Search and Rescue and Royal Canadian Marine Search and Rescue will be implementing new membership recruiting drives this September with training starting the first week of October. In late June a volunteer application form will be posted on the website at sunshinecoastsar.ca or visit rcmsar12.org for details.

Search & Rescue Dispatches Nov 12, 2016

jane macdonald sar

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The Ken Moore and her crew out for training

Grateful.

While one word does not make a sentence, it sums up the feelings shared by all Sunshine Coast Search and Rescue and volunteers, on land and at sea. October and early November presented a bounty of recognition events, community support and generous donor contributions.

Leadership

Thanks to the leadership and initiative of the Sunshine Coast Community Foundation, a Royal Canadian Marine Search & Rescue Endowment Fund was officially established. Three Coast-wide RCM-SAR Societies, representing Gibsons, Halfmoon Bay / Sechelt and Pender Harbour together will benefit from the generosity of our community. Within a week of its formation, a very generous couple (you know who you are) donated $2,500 to help us save lives on the water. Please consider joining them when planning your annual gift giving or estate. The income from this fund will be used for critical operations and equipment requirements.

New Recruits

New recruits to Royal Canadian Marine Search and Rescue have been busy getting their initial credentials in order, including criminal record checks, self-recovery water practice, extensive reading, and classroom review sessions of the Crew Orientation Manual.  The enthusiasm demonstrated by new members as well as the time and dedication of active crew who help train the next class is both impressive and humbling.

Fundraising

On Nov. 3, Station 12 (Halfmoon Bay / Sechelt) held its 3rd Annual Beer & Burger Night at the Lighthouse Pub. Over 250 guests showed up to support our volunteers and took part in a fun-filled evening that included food, beverages and lots of mingling.  On the fundraising side, guests enjoyed a Silent Auction featuring Crew Favours with a variety water-based adventure packages, Raffle prizes and 50/50 draws. The night was enjoyed by all, generating in excess of $11,000 dollars to support crew training and safety equipment.

Community

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Bill Lawson

On Nov. 5, members of the public joined current and past members of Sunshine Coast Search and Rescue (Land) to celebrate 40 years of community service.  The well-attended Anniversary & Open House featured displays, demonstrations and speeches from dignitaries as well as past members. We sincerely thank all friends and supporters who joined the celebration. Bill Lawson, one of the founding members of Sunshine Coast Search and Rescue (Land), cuts the 40th anniversary cake at the Nov. 5 celebration. Jan Schuks photo (right)

Call-outs & Training

While fairly quiet on the call-out front, several members recently completed a SAR medic first aid course, rope team practice and helicopter evacuation procedures.  The expressions and demonstrations of community support fuel the crews with confidence and affirm our shared belief that what we do actually makes a difference to residents on the Sunshine Coast.

Thank you for your support.

 

Multiple taskings for RCM-SAR 12.

What a great weekend out on the water! Our crews were tasked 4 times to assist boaters in our area.

Tasking # 1LM 9 Mile Pt

We were tasked to locate 2 Stand Up Paddle boarders spotted off of Turnagain Island. It was a beautiful night, nice enough for an evening paddle. We searched the area and then headed over to Buccaneer Bay.

Our crew used FLIR (Forward Looking Infra Red which can detect body heat) as well as night vision googles. Huge thanks to the Sunshine Coast Community Foundation for last years grant to purchase a FLIR unit for each of our vessels. After searching Buccaneer Bay we headed over to McNaughton Pt. and begun a shoreline search towards Smuggler Cove. With great local knowledge we picked our way through the narrow entrance and rocky shoreline. Situational awareness, teamwork and closed loop communications are imperative during an effective search. Our new David Clarke wireless headsets allow us to stay in constant communication with our team and Victoria Coast Guard Radio seamlessly. After  few hours of searching we called VCGR and informed them of our status, they stood us down and we proceeded back to base.

Tasking #2

Early Sunday morning we were tasked to attend to an injured boater. We were on scene at 0915. A vessel of opportunity got there first and gave the injured man some water. Our first responder attended to the patient with skill and concern. The injured man wanted was brought back to his camp and re united with his belongings.

Another day of great teamwork by Station 12…

Tasking #3

Volunteer with Station 12
We were tasked to find a 25 ft Boston Whaler that was adrift. Proceeding to the area we performed a quick search but no 25 ft Whaler was found. After contacting the reporting party we received a more detailed description and found a 17 ft Boston Whaler tied up to a log boom.
Victoria requested that we tow it to the Government Dock and then we stood down.

Tasking #4

As we headed over to the paddle festival the radio came alive again and we were tasked to a vessel taking on water. No one was on board and it had about a foot of water inside the stern that was partially submerged. No signs of oil or fuel leaks so again we stood down.

Our mission is to save lives on the water, we thank you for your support.