A concept drawing of the proposed RCMSAR Station #106 (Shuswap) boathouse. (Image Contributed)

Proposed marine rescue station on Shuswap Lake could serve as classroom

RCMSAR boathouse may be used to teach maritime safety courses

The Shuswap’s on-water search and rescue crew is hoping to build a boathouse for its fleet that could also serve as a classroom for teaching navigation and safety courses.

Shuswap Royal Canadian Marine Search and Rescue (RCMSAR) Station #106 leader Fred Banham said design of the boathouse, which will be a floating structure able to shelter both of RCMSAR’s rescue boats, is expected to be complete in the early spring. Design work is being funded by the Shuswap Community Foundation and TA Structures, and naval architects from Vancouver are collaborating on the project.

RCMSAR explored the possibility of getting some of their people certified to teach Transport Canada courses, but a recent feasibility study found there wasn’t sufficient demand for the courses in the Interior to justify the expense. Instead, instructors from outside the organization will be able to use the classroom space on the water to teach marine navigation courses and other learning opportunities valuable to the rescue boat volunteers.

The Shuswap Lifeboat Society, which supports the RCMSAR station, commissioned the feasibility study with grant funding from the rural dividend program and Shuswap Watershed council.

Lifeboat society president Bruce Weicker said the expense required to have a certified trainer for the Transport Canada courses did not make sense financially or in terms of the RCMSAR station’s core mission.

“We’re in the saving the lives business, but we could help the people doing the training,” he said.

Cliff Doherty, a lifeboat society director who worked as project manager for the study said interest in more local training opportunities has been building among the local RCMSAR crew in recent years. Currently, RCMSAR volunteers seeking the various certifications required to pilot and crew the rescue boats have to travel to either Kelowna or the coast to take the courses.

Read More: Man charged in armed robbery of Salmon Arm liquor store opts for jury trial

Read More: Update: Three vehicles involved in fatal collision on Highway 1 near Salmon Arm

The consultant tasked with the feasibility study mailed out a survey to various organizations and businesses to gauge interest on marine training opportunities being available regularly in Sicamous. It was concluded there was not enough demand for the RCMSAR station to offer training themselves, but a classroom space that could host outside instructors would be valuable.

Some of the courses of interest include marine emergency duties certificate and navigation courses that teach marine chart and radar skills.

Read More: Boat crash one of five weekend calls for Shuswap marine search and rescue

Read More: Shuswap’s water rescue crew preparing for frigid temperatures

Banham said there isn’t usually much interest in navigation courses inland because lakes lack hazards like shoals and islands which are present in the ocean. While this may be true for pleasure boaters out on sunny days, Banham said navigation in reduced visibility is very important for RCMSAR as they have to take calls at night and in high winds and driving rain.

“A couple years ago we were using radar in the smoke,” Banham said.

Doherty said the classroom in the boathouse would be unique as there is not dedicated classroom space with a focus on water safety in the Interior; most instructors who hold courses in the area rent out rooms in schools or other public buildings. Weicker added that instructors they spoke with looked favourably on the prospect of a classroom on the water with easy access to the RCMSAR vessels for demonstrations.


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Man sentenced for stealing pricey ring from Salmon Arm pawn shop

Accused vows to change criminal history through beating addictions

Anxiety, depression among student priorities for Sicamous school wellness centre

Initiative provides comfortable space to care for students at Eagle River Secondary

Shuswap woman creates stress-reducing cuffs for Alzheimer’s patients

Personal connection to disease adds meaning to endeavour

WEB POLL: Would you like to see a new highway built between B.C. and Central Alberta?

Building another highway through the mountains would shave 95 km from Kamloops to Red Deer

Okanagan divers ready to take on 2020 B.C. Winter Games

The athletes have been training four days a week

B.C.’s soda drink tax will help kids lose weight, improve health, says doctor

Dr. Tom Warshawski says studies show sugary drinks contribute to obesity

A&W employees in Ladysmith get all-inclusive vacation for 10 years of service

Kelly Frenchy, Katherine Aleck, and Muriel Jack are headed on all-expenses-paid vacations

B.C. mom’s complaint about ‘R word’ in children’s ministry email sparks review

In 2020, the ‘R’ word shouldn’t be used, Sue Robins says

Askew Tennis Centre draws 14 teams for mixed doubles tourney

Event at new facility hosted competitors from throughout Okanagan

B.C., federal ministers plead for meeting Wet’suwet’en dissidents

Scott Fraser, Carolyn Bennett says they can be in Smithers Thursday

EDITORIAL: Revisiting cannabis regulations

Recent retail license application has brought up concerns about present policy in Summerland

Guidelines regulate Summerland cannabis stores

The municipality’s policy, 300.6 establishes the 50-metre buffer zone around schools and parks

Largest aircraft to operate at YLW begins service to Toronto this summer

The Boeing 767-300ER will increase seat availability for flights to Toronto by 40 per cent

Most Read