Search and Rescue Dispatches March 2018

SAR Prepares for the Season

 

From Gibsons to Pender Harbour, four distinct Search and Rescue units comprised of 120 active crew members and over 50 supporting volunteers stand guard over the trails and shoreline, ocean and inlets of the Sunshine Coast. Well trained, and well prepared for a wide range of emergency situations, these volunteer crews act as an outdoor adventurer’s last hope, when the best-laid plans go awry. To be prepared for any event, each unit raises funds for meeting spaces, gear, training courses, emergency equipment as well as rescue vehicles and vessels to fulfill rescue duties. Contributions from generous community members and grants from local foundations, government and service agencies allow volunteers to focus on skill development and proficiency.

Donations are greatly appreciated and are accepted online via  rcmsar12.org/donate or sunshinecoastsar.ca

Search and rescue vessels from Pender Harbour and Halfmoon Bay take part in a training exercise last month near the Earls Cove ferry terminal. Mark Wenn photo

Sunshine Coast Search and Rescue volunteers actively train and anticipate events that may entrap, trip or trick the unsuspecting trail or water enthusiast.

The month of February saw crew members refreshing their first aid skills, testing gear, pursuing safety certifications and practicing effective communications with other Coast resources. Ground and marine crews met in both indoor and outdoor classrooms to practice advanced search skills and to review crew communication and tasking drills.

For marine preparedness, crew members from Station 14 (Gibsons), Station 12 (Halfmoon Bay) and Station 61 (Pender Harbour) have been busy with first responder first aid certification, emergency operations essentials with Sunshine Coast Regional District, navigation, local area familiarity as well as radar and chart plotter electronic tool literacy.  New recruits have been on several check rides and are joining active crew on call rotations.

An impressive on-water training rendezvous was facilitated in February with three of the four RCMSAR vessels on the Sunshine Coast. Two crews from Station 12 and one from Station 61 mustered near Earls Cove ferry terminal where towing, pacing, boarding, first aid scenarios and search pattern exercises were practiced.  Developing skills and readiness, cross-Coast emergency response connections, crew familiarity and local area knowledge are top priorities for all Search and Rescue volunteers. On behalf of all four Coast crews, we thank you for your support, and wish you safe, and uneventful enjoyment of our great outdoors this spring.

Winter training keeping SAR folks tuned up

On behalf of Royal Canadian Marine Search and Rescue Stations 12, 14 & 61, and our partners in safety and preparation, Sunshine Coast (Land) Search and Rescue, we extend the very best wishes of the season to all of our friends, generous donors and fellow outdoor adventurers. We also extend a gracious thank you to the Local for sharing our dispatches so generously throughout the year.

With winter upon us, our teams have been busy doing fog and foul-weather training on land and sea, with new recruits joining our crews and preparing for new challenges.

Sunshine Coast (Land) Search and Rescue recently hosted a year-end dinner and recognition night.  Members were recognized for their long-term volunteer commitment to search and rescue including the annual Top Pick award. Members also recently volunteered their time to help out the Elves Club in their annual drive.

SCSAR member Sue Duxbury is now trained to present “Adventure Smart”, a suite of five national prevention programs focused on reaching Canadians, and visitors to Canada, who participate in outdoor recreational activities.  All programs are free.

• Hug a tree and survive (kids)

• Paddlesmart (16- plus)

• Snow Safety (grade 4 and up)

• Survive Outside  (adults)

• Snowmobile Safety  (16- plus)

Please contact Sue 604-740-1687 or email: Landcruiser@dccnet.com

Search and Rescue members train in all kinds of weather, including, in this case, fog. John Maddalozzo, left, and Bart Porebski, are seen practising their rescue techniques in Porpoise Bay. Mark Wenn photo

Station 61 has officially kicked off its fundraising campaign with the intent to purchase a type 11 vessel.  Pender Harbour’s Rotary group has generously donated to the cause and a community education campaign was held at the John Henry’s Christmas Market.This summer’s group of new RCM SAR recruits have been training tirelessly and many have completed their Radio Operators Certificate Marine course, first aid and even RHIOT school for advanced crew in Bamfield.   All Stations have extremely enthusiastic and dedicated new recruits well on their way to becoming leaders in each station. We are pleased and honored by their level of commitment to our station and our SAR mandate.

Station 14 (Gibsons) participated in a multi-unit coordinated search for a missing boater and his vessel (eventually located in the Strait) and recently assisted and towed a disabled sailboat off Bonniebrook.  Join us for January 1st Polar Bear Swim at Armours Beach at 11am or at Davis Bay with the Lions Club & Station 12 (Halfmoon Bay). All members of the Coast are invited to enjoy hot chocolate, certificates for swimmers and prizes for best costume.

‘Tis the season of making lists, and checking them twice, and if ever there was a call to action that your SAR teams believe in, that is it.  As you plan your hiking, sledding, snowshoeing, back country skiing or boating this winter, please remember to make a route plan, share it with a friend or relative, and check your gear twice before heading out to enjoy our magnificent coast and coastal mountains. Play safe, and the very best of the season to all.

Sunday School April 23, 2017

Helping save lives on the water!

The smell of outboard fills the air as the 2017 boating season begins.

Station 12’s members want to remind you to check your safety gear for out of date items. Such as dead batteries, replenishment needs or refills etc. Make sure you have a life jacket or PFD for every person on board. Enough fuel to get to your destination and back (with some in reserve) is always a great idea. Look for us on the water to receive your free Vessel Safety Survey and safety kit. Or contact info@rcmsar12.org if you would like to book a full Pleasure Craft Safety Check.

A VHF radio is a great addition to your boating experience. With today’s models being smaller and less expensive they are easy for anyone to carry. If you are having an emergency on the water use channel 16 on the VHF, or dial *16 on your mobile.

Play safe and have fun!

Footage courtesy of Bart Borebski

Search & Rescue Dispatches March 14, 2017

jane macdonald sarSunshine Coast Search and Rescue volunteers actively ‘stand on guard for thee’. The month of February saw crew members snowshoeing, practicing rope rescue techniques, swimming, testing gear, heaving throw lines, refreshing First Aid skills and learning how to respond to potential overdose situations. Ground and marine crews met in both indoor and outdoor classrooms to practice necessary search skills and to review effective crew communication and tasking drills. Keeping our land and waters ‘glorious and (event) free’ is a calling heeded by our local volunteers who willingly step into situations where many fear to tread.

On land, Sunshine Coast Search and Rescue was tasked in an urban setting and assisted RCMP in locating a missing male in the Gibsons area. SAR crew practiced several rescue drills on Dakota Ridge, employing local area navigation with the help of our dedicated search team volunteers and two of our greatest tools of the trade—UTV (Utility Task Vehicle) and Echo, our very own Sunshine Coast Search and Rescue canine. The unit is planning to renovate its meeting and secure storage space at John Hind-Smith Hall on Solar Road in Wilson Creek.  Also this month, the SCSAR crew honours the retirement of a respected search manager, Jim Janke, who will be greatly missed.

sar search

Robert Allen photo

For marine preparedness, crew members from Station 14 (Gibsons), Station 12 (Halfmoon Bay) and Station 61 (Pender Harbour) have been busy with Critical Incident Stress recognition and management training, First Responder first aid certification and Emergency Operations Essentials with Sunshine Coast Regional District.  New recruits have been on several check rides and are joining active crew on call rotations.

From Gibsons to Pender Harbour, four distinct Search and Rescue units comprised of 120 active crew and over 50 supporting volunteers standing guard over the Sunshine Coast’s trails and shoreline.  Each unit raises funds for meeting spaces, gear, training courses, rescue equipment, special vehicles or vessels to fulfill rescue duties.  Contributions from generous community members and grants from local foundations, government and service agencies allow volunteers to focus on skill development and proficiency.  Donations are greatly appreciated and are accepted online via sunshinecoastsar.ca
or rcmsar12.org.

Search & Rescue Dispatches February 15, 2017

SAR teams continue to practice for all weather conditions

jane macdonald sarThese challenging days of snow and icy winter are no match for the spirit and energy of Search and Rescue volunteers, who continue to spend their time upgrading personal skills and technical knowledge. For these teams, a life-affirming antidote to cabin fever and media overload is found in the active application of compassion, teamwork and service to one’s local community. Local SAR volunteers, across land and sea, are bound by a personal commitment to community service and a love of the Sunshine Coast’s natural beauty and marine wonders.

SAR teams continue to practice for all weather conditions. A day-long practice session was held at Dakota Ridge on Jan. 8 during which snowmobile, snowshoes and the UTV were all put to the test. The unit’s search dog and rope rescue team also took the opportunity to work in the deep snow. On the community front, one of our SAR members made a presentation on what we do to the local Pathfinders group at their “Be Prepared” Camp at Sarah Wray Hall in Irvine’s Landing on Jan. 22. SAR continues to hone its map and compass skills with indoor classroom learning complemented by outside practical skills – in the dark.

On the waterfront, Royal Canadian Marine Search and Rescue volunteers work on refining their understanding of Aides to Navigation, Collision Regulations and First Aid practice and drills.  At the end of February, members of Station 12 will be hitting the pool at the Sechelt Aquatic Centre to ensure everyone is comfortable in their gear and in multiple water-based scenarios.

Winter’s long nights provide time for reflection on the importance of training and preparedness, ensuring the safety of our crew and vessels.  On March 2, British Columbia’s Search and Rescue volunteers will unveil a memorial to our fallen at the grounds of the BC Legislative Buildings.  It is with great and enduring sorrow that we recognize the names of two RCMSAR Station 12 members who will be inscribed on the memorial: Angie Nemeth and Beatrice Sorensen. Proud team members whose contribution and commitment will never be forgotten. The monument will be located near similar memorials for BC’s police, fire and ambulance personnel. It will honour marine, air and ground SAR volunteers who gave their lives in the line of duty and serve as a permanent reminder of the contribution of SAR.

Search training

Training opportunities 

Training 10:48 Wed Dec 21, we departed Secret Cove boat house, at Welcome pass we met SE 15-25 knot winds, 3 feet seas with the occasional 5 footer. Peter H was at the helm , there was some wind driven spray come over the port side of the boat as we headed for the northwest side Merry Island, the lee side.

We relaxed for a few minutes, Peter H had done great job, maintained speed and kept the ride smooth, good on the sticks for heavy weather handling. At 11:20 Randal E took over, we were one cable off the shore and followed the west side of Merry Island passing the south cardinal buoy on our port heading towards Sargent’s Bay.

We got more involved with our electronics knowing there were Coast Guard vessels already involved. Our AIS search found the Cape Cockburn. It was a couple of miles out of Selma Park breakwater heading towards it. At 11:37 we headed towards Selma Park. As we approached we saw the Cape Cockburn and to aft what looked like a boat being towed. As we got closer we realized it was an orca. 12:00 The Cape Cockburn took the whale from a stern tow to an along side and moved closer to the shoreline. The Department of Fisheries had their RHIB there who took the hand off and moved the whale to the shore.

At 12:25 Sue B took over helm. Now we had following seas for the ride home, the wind had come down a bit . We had a great ride where Sue got to practice heavy weather handling. Back at the boat house at 12:08 it was a good day with a good team. Always good to practice what we know in more challenging situations.

Dave Brown, Coxswain

“The Sechelt Nation is very thankful for all the efforts that RCMSAR12 contributed today. Between DOF and the Cape Cockburn from French Creek it was towed to Selma Park breakwater..”

Peter Forster, Deputy Station Leader

Search & Rescue Dispatches Nov 12, 2016

jane macdonald sar

ken-moore
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.