The latest COVID-19 update from the Sunshine Coast Emergency Operations Centre confirms that Royal Canadian Marine Search and Rescue (RCM-SAR) Station 14 Gibsons “is standing down in order to help stem the spread of COVID-19.”
Gibsons Coun. David Croal, a volunteer with Station 14, told a special meeting of council March 24 that one of the reasons is that many of the RCM-SAR volunteers work in essential services.
“We have a number of members who work in health services and they’re at coxswain level. It was their concern that they stay in their prime position and weren’t available for volunteer service,” said Croal. “We were down to one coxswain and two advance crew so it really wasn’t sustainable.”
He said the other volunteers, who’ve all had the necessary criminal record checks, will be looking at other avenues to help during the pandemic.
“We may not be on the water, but at least we’ll be available to serve.”
Croal said anyone venturing out on the water should be aware that “the resources are strained and … there may not be the resource there to support you.”
The Sunshine Coast is served by two other RCM-SAR stations, in Halfmoon Bay and Pender Harbour, and Howe Sound is also covered by stations based in Horseshoe Bay and Squamish.