RCMSAR assists in foggy conditions

Staff writer
September 19, 2013 01:00 AM

The searchlights on the coast guard hovercraft PENAC during a foggy night at sea last Saturday, Sept. 14.

Gibsons Royal Canadian Marine Search and Rescue (RCMSAR) station 14 in Gibsons was taskedlast Saturday evening (Sept. 14) to assist the coast guard hovercraft in search of two boats lost in the fog off Bowen Island.

Navigating in very limited visibility using radar, the RCMSAR 14 crew quickly found one of the lost boats, which had just picked up a tow from locally owned S/V Sailing Still, that returning to Gibsons.

RCMSAR crew was re-tasked to liaise with the hovercraft, which found the other boat, and escorted it back to Gibsons returning.

After liaising with the RCMSAR 14 boat, the hovercraft immediately left in response to a call from another lost boat off Nanaimo.

The RCMSAR crew reported that the fog was so thick that it was not until they were within 30 feet of the vessels that they could see them. Thejoint rescue coordination centre in Victoria reported that RCMSAR teams in the area were tasked 19 times during this foggy spell to find people lost at sea."

"We are able to respond quickly and effectively in very difficult conditions such as this due to the navigation equipment (primarily radar) and the training our crew members receive to operate in just such conditions," said station leader Russ Ayers-Berry."

Like the other RCMSAR stations on the Coast, the Gibsons station is seeking new volunteers to strengthen its ranks.

"We are looking to select four new boat crew members this fall who will complete extensive sea-time training to equip them for missions 24/7, in all types of weather conditions," he said. "They will join a volunteer 24/7 community service that has been providing marine rescue for over 35 years. If active boat crew membership is not for you, we also have a team of support members fulfilling important roles." Interested community members can contact the station at www.rcmsar14.org.

- Submitted

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