Meet the Crew

Crew highlight of the week.

Today’s crew is our newest Coxswain and New Crew Training Officer,

John Howcroft
Member since: October 15, 2018
John is an Account Manager with a National Commercial Printer. John likes to go out hiking every Saturday and Sunday morning in the mountains with his two best doggie friends Si & Beula
Favorite thing with SAR is: Navigating and instructing fellow crew members on using Charts and the various ways to Navigate. Also I love BBQ covers after spending so much time under one to practice navigating in Restricted Visibility
Most memorable thing is: To numerous to contemplate but I would say it’s being with such a diverse group of crewmembers and enjoying the time with them all. Also with all the time and training the Coxswains put in so I could go to RHIOT (and not being called Pops by the other trainees) and also getting to CLll-B to become a Coxswain in such a short time.
Total Class Sessions: 94 (207 hours)
Total Missions: 12 (31 hours)
Total Sea Trips: 105 (297 hours)
Total overall Hours: 668
Quote: “Nothing better than being out in an open RHIB in the middle of the winter with high seas and the rain pelting down on you. But seriously it’s the close bond I have come to have with my SAR team members is truly a gift.”
Crew – Look out for each other, Be Safe, Share the knowledge
Craft – To be ready and safe
Mission – Be trained and prepared for all conditions
Image may contain: 1 person, standing, outdoor and water

Search &Rescue Dispatches, July 2018

SAR: Preparation and precaution essential to staying safe this summer

SAR: Preparation and precaution essential to staying safe this summer

As members of the Search and Rescue Community, our hearts go out to the families of the young adults who tragically lost their lives at Shannon Falls near Squamish this past week. The volunteer teams from Squamish Search and Rescue, Squamish fire and the RCMP who attempted the rescue, and ultimately performed the recovery, are equally in our thoughts. Closer to home, our own Sunshine Coast Search and Rescue team worked alongside first responders to assist at the tragic plane crash in Selma Park. Our deeply felt sympathy and support goes out to the family and loved ones of those involved. As we learn at Search and Rescue on a regular basis, accidents are by nature unpredictable.

With the excitement that the outset of summer brings, may we remember as well to make every preparation, and take every precaution possible. As we are forced to learn, each year it seems, accidents happen so very quickly. It is for this reason that we prepare, plan and inform friends of our intended path before we take to the ocean, lakes and mountains of our beautiful coast.  As survivors, we owe it to the fallen to maintain a vigilant and compassionate watch over one another.

It will surprise few that the vast majority of water related fatalities occur during the summer months; incidents of drowning occur most commonly when British Columbians are swimming, fishing or power-boating. The Community Against Preventable Injuries is partnering on a safe boating campaign with Transport Canada, the BC Injury Research and Prevention Unit and the Royal Canadian Marine Search and Rescue (RCMSAR), in an effort to significantly reduce the number of serious preventable injuries – including drowning – by challenging the notion that injuries just “happen” but they “won’t happen to me”.

Here are a few tips worth following:

• Wear a Personal Flotation Device/Lifejacket: No one “expects” to fall overboard – hence the vast majority of boaters who drowned in 2016 were not wearing a lifejacket or were wearing it incorrectly.

• Alcohol consumption: Drinking and boating don’t mix – over 40 per cent of victims had consumed alcohol prior to the incident.

• Have the right equipment: Make sure it is in good working condition and accessible, and know how to use it.

“No one expects to fall overboard when enjoying a day out on the water,” says Pat Quealey, CEO of RCMSAR. “Too often we rescue people who have fallen into the water without wearing a lifejacket. Having the right equipment and wearing a lifejacket can save lives.”

The safe boating campaign is part of a three-year project. To learn more about preventable injuries, visit To learn more about RCMSAR, visit

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 or

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:

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.

Search & Rescue Dispatches May 2017


jane macdonald sar

It is May 2017. Spring is upon us.  For many of us, thoughts now turn to the upcoming boating season.  This means cleanup of the boat, de-grunge the slippery decks, air out the inside, change the engine oil and filters, and general maintenance of the boat and equipment.  Next, maybe, a haul-out to clean and paint the bottom, replace the zincs, and check the props.  This a good time of year for these rituals.

It is also a good time to check the safety gear, such as the life-jackets, fire extinguishers, flares, running lights, bilge pumps, anchors, radios and all the other important safety equipment, and to review the response procedures with your family and crew members.  A basic reference document is Transport Canada’s “Safe Boating Guide”. It is available on line at .

RCM SAR Station 12 provides search and rescue capability to the central Sunshine Coast with our two boats – one in Secret Cove and one in Porpoise Bay. In addition, and in the interest of safe boating, we also provide a complimentary safety check service.  We have eight members of Station 12 who are trained to carry out safety checks on pleasure boats up to 24 metres in length.  It is roughly a 40-point check list. It is free and entirely voluntary.  A safety check takes about an hour. The result of a safety check is a written report to you, the owner. The RCM SAR report looks a lot like the 50-point safety check on your car when you have it serviced, with all the mandatory requirements checked (Yes or No) and recommendations for corrections or improvements. Boats that check Yes for all the requirements also receive a sticker that demonstrates compliance.

Why is this important? First, recreational boats in BC are required by law to meet certain safety requirements. Owners of boats can be fined by the law enforcement agencies (RCMP, Coast Guard, Transport Canada, etc) if the boat is not in compliance.

Second, concerns your boat insurance. While insurers may not actually give a discount in premiums for boats certified to meet mandatory safety requirements, they do look favourably on those owners who have the up to date safety check.  It is also reassuring for the owner to know that if you did have an accident and a claim, a record of a passed safety check could be important.

Third, is your own peace of mind.  Boating in BC waters, for most of the time is pretty benign. But weather can turn bad, fast, and mechanical problems can arise unexpectedly. It is good to know that you have covered the bases to protect your boat, your family and friends boating with you.

How can you arrange for a RCM SAR safety check?  Join us at Secret Cove Marina on Sunday, June 4, 9am-2pm for a private Pleasure Craft Safety Check. Please phone 605-885-7456 to book an appointment or email us at