Shuswap lifeboat crew sees busy first year

The first weekend tested the skills of the crews assigned to Shuswap Lifeboat One, the marine SAR boat outfitted for the task

The volunteer crew aboard Shuswap Lifeboat One attend one of the numerous emergency call-outs on Shuswap Lake received over the summer by Royal Canadian Marine Search and Rescue Shuswap Station #106.

The newest and first inland marine search and rescue station, based in Sicamous, was one of the busiest of 48 stations in B.C. this past season.

Formally known as the Canadian Coast Guard Auxiliary (Pacific), the Royal Canadian Marine Search and Rescue (RCM-SAR) Shuswap Station #106 began operations on the May long weekend after extensive training in marine search and rescue  techniques from December 2011 to May 2012 on the Shuswap, and at training facilities located near Victoria.

The first weekend tested the skills of the crews assigned to Shuswap Lifeboat One, the marine SAR boat outfitted for the task. After that it, was all out, resulting in 44 successful missions between the May and September long weekends. Everything from searching for missing/overdue boats, to broken bones and strokes, says station leader Rob Sutherland.

The Shuswap station crew also had the opportunity to work with the land-based Shuswap Search and Rescue unit, located in Salmon Arm, when two vacationers fell into a gorge at Albas Falls, located on Seymour Arm. One was killed and the other, who tried to save him, broke both of his legs. Sutherland says co-ordination between the two SAR units, as well as the BCAS helicopter crew who evacuated the injured man, was intense and well executed – “proof that training was the key to the mission’s success.”

Sutherland says all of last season’s missions are being reviewed for opportunities to learn and improve. And, based in part on those missions, a winter training program has been developed to further enhance the skill and knowledge of the Shuswap station’s 24 members.

“They have shown a lot of dedication and skill since we began last December,” says Sutherland. “All of us are volunteers and it takes a commitment from everyone to produce the results we had over the summer.” That commitment was recognized at the annual general meeting of RCM-SAR held in Richmond, B.C. in September. RCM-SAR president Jim Lee presented the Shuswap station with a plaque for “Outstanding Achievement & Dedication to Saving Lives on the Water In their First Year of Operation.”

Sutherland accepted the plaque and was given the opportunity to explain why a marine SAR station was required on what is perceived by most as safe waters (inland lakes).

“The Shuswap and Mara lake systems are unique in that much of it is not accessible by road,” says Sutherland. “That, coupled with the thousands of house boaters and vacationers using the lake and marine parks presents a high risk of accidents. This was proven over this past season.

“Lives were saved and injuries tended to on the spot and some were transported to local hospitals.

“Our Marine SAR operations depend on donations and Sicamous businesses came though with their complete support. The plaque represents an achievement that, without support, could not have happened…” As with any organization that depends on donations to operate, explains Sutherland, the RCM-SAR Shuswap Station #106 future has a continuous task ahead of it. Ongoing effort will be put into recruitment of new volunteers, training and operations, upgrading and maintaining SAR equipment, and as a  long-term goal, planning for the replacing the society’s used 1976 Lifetimer rescue boat,  which is expected to cost up to $160,000.

“Annual operations costs will be upwards of $30,000 per year, and sustains the station with fuel, maintenance and repairs, repair and replacement of SAR equipment and moorage to mention a few,” says Sutherland. “Very generous donations from Sicamous businesses and BC Lottery gaming have started our station, and commitments have been made for our next season.

“But this is an operation that provides marine SAR for the whole of the Shuswap and Mara lake systems… and thus should be supported by all that use the lake, that have customers that use the lake, and communities that depend on the lake through vacationers and tourism.”

Those interested in saving lives and/or offering monetary support, or wanting further information, may call 250-836-2396 or 250-833-7677.

Submitted by Rob Sutherland, station leader of RCM-SAR Shuswap Station #106.

 

Just Posted

Working it out at Roots and Blues Festival

A pot-pourri of talented artists will jam to make workshop magic this weekend

Health centre plan for Sicamous’ Main Street takes shape

District applying for rural dividend funding for the design of new building

Salmon Arm’s panhandling bylaw put on hold

City council allows time to pursue more compassionate solutions

No end in sight, smoke is here to stay

There is no anticipated change in weather for the Okanagan-Shuswap this week

Eagle Valley Senior Citizens Housing Society expands mandate

Society to explore housing projects for low-income families and disabled people

‘Queen of Soul’ Aretha Franklin has died

Publicist Gwendolyn Quinn reports Franklin passed Thursday at 9:50 a.m. at her home in Detroit

UPDATED: B.C. RCMP dismantle Kinder Morgan protest camp

RCMP say they will enforce a court injunction today and remove Trans Mountain pipeline protesters who have been camped outside a Kinder Morgan terminal in Burnaby.

Italy says death toll will mount in Genoa bridge collapse

Authorities worried about the stability of remaining large sections of a partially collapsed bridge evacuated about 630 people from nearby apartments.

Former CIA Director: Trump worked with Russians and now he’s desperate

In an opinion piece in The New York Times, John Brennan cites press reports and Trump’s own goading of Russia during the campaign to find Democrat Hillary Clinton’s missing emails.

Church sex scandal: Abuse victims want a full reckoning

Since the crisis exploded in Boston in 2002, dioceses around the country have dealt with similar revelations of widespread sexual abuse.

Baloney Meter: is flow of asylum seekers at Canada-U.S. border a ‘crisis’?

“I think any time you have a government that allows 30,000 people over the course of a short period of time to come into Canada illegally, the impact that that has, that is a crisis,” said Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer.

Altidore nets 3 as Toronto drubs Whitecaps 5-2

Vancouver falls 7-4 on aggregate in Canadian Championship final

Ottawa intervenes to get B.C. ball player, 13, to Little League World Series

Before immigration issue was resolved, Dio Gama was out practicing the game he loves Wednesday

Pet goldfish invades small B.C. lake

Pinecrest Lake is located between Whistler and Squamish

Most Read