Even if you donít know the green side from the red side or the pointy end from the flat end, Royal Canadian Marine Search and Rescue (RCM-SAR) would appreciate your interest.
RCM-SAR is a volunteer organization with the mission to save lives on the water. Membership includes men and women, from juniors of 16 years to seniors in their 70s and all ages in between. The organization is made up of more than 1,200 men and women from every background who give up a great deal of their own time to train, be trained and be on standby to respond to emergencies on the water.
Volunteers also help in areas such as administration, maintenance and fundraising. Funds from corporate contributions, legacies, grants and private donations are necessary for acquiring and maintaining the vessels and ancillary equipment needed to operate safely in all conditions day or night. Donations have also paid for much of the crewís protective gear and clothing, outside training and the equipment on board the vessels.
The rescue vessels of station 12 in Halfmoon Bay are modern, well-equipped, purpose-built, rigid-hull inflatables that are on call 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. These vessels are owned by the Sunshine Coast Marine Rescue Society, of which members of station 12 are automatically members.
The area of operations for the RCM-SAR organization includes more than 27,000 km of rugged coastline, more than 6,000 islands (mostly uninhabited) and approximately 450,000 square km of inland and offshore waters. Station 12ís duty area ranges from White Islets to McNaughton Point and halfway across the Strait of Georgia. It also includes all of Sechelt Inlet from Egmont to Sechelt. In addition, the vessels may be tasked from Lasqueti Island to Hardy Island and into Jervis Inlet.
There are three RCMSAR stations on the Sunshine Coast: station 14 (Gibsons), station 12 (Halfmoon Bay) and station 61 (Pender Harbour). All three stations are under the same overall organization and operate in same manner of volunteer crews and supporters.
Training for all members is provided both on the water and in the classroom and is ongoing. All training is provided free of charge to all members and is a requirement for ongoing membership. Training includes areas such as boat handling, seamanship, navigation, radio operations, first aid, search and rescue, vessel electronics and collision regulations.
Becoming a crew member of RCM-SAR means a commitment of time and energy, as duty crew commits to being on call 24 hours a day for a week at a time. Vessels are located in Secret Cove and in Porpoise Bay and duty crew must be able to reach at least one vessel within 15 to 20 minutes of a call. Non-crew support membership does not include this requirement.
Regular meetings are on Monday evenings in Sechelt and all are welcome to attend. For further information about station 12 and volunteer opportunities, contact the training officer at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 604-989-4196 before the end of September.