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Shuswap marine rescue receives $10K from fundraising event

‘Right place at the right time’: Tom Pedersen’s respect for SAR stems from water rescue of his own
Royal Canadian Marine Search and Rescue Station #106 Shuswap members receive a cheque for $10,000 following Saturday’s (Sept. 9) dinner, dance and silent auction fundraiser. (Contributed)

A Sicamous-based marine rescue organization received some positive recognition along with a donation to help them continue saving lives.

For the past 60 years, Calgary resident Tom Pedersen has been visiting Sicamous and the surrounding area, camping, boating, hiking and enjoying the community. To show his appreciation for the organization that keeps Shuswap waters safe, Pedersen planned a fishing derby and evening complete with dinner, dance and a silent auction. Funds raised went to the Royal Canadian Marine Search and Rescue Station (RCMSAR) #106 Shuswap.

The total amount raised for RCMSAR Station #106 was $10,000.

Although the fishing derby had to be cancelled due to low registration, Pedersen said the evening’s events were very well attended. Dinner was served to 110 people at the Sicamous Legion, and the highest bid for a single item was over $3,000, he said.

Pedersen isn’t officially part of RCMSAR Station #106’s crew, but marine safety is a topic close to his heart following an incident nearly 15 years ago.

While out boating with a friend and his son, Pedersen’s group stopped to use a bathroom near Cinnemousun Narrows while they waited to meet up with another person to go fishing, he said. They were an hour ahead of schedule, and while they waited, Pedersen said they heard far-off cries for help.

Looking around, they couldn’t see anything, but they heard the cry again and used binoculars to spy “heads bobbing in the lake,” he said.

“It was early May, temperatures were low, it was cold, cold water,” remembered Pedersen. His group headed over in their boat and found five young boys having been tipped from overturned canoes, not one of them wearing a lifejacket.

“They were trying to swim to shore, but either direction was about a mile, they never would have made it.”

Pedersen’s boat was likely the only one out on the water that day, he said, and he feels they were in “the right place at the right time” as a rescue operation wasn’t yet set up near Sicamous.

His worry that boaters and recreational water users weren’t being watched over was resolved just a few years later when RCMSAR Station #106 began patrolling the water in 2012.

Read more: Sicamous-based marine rescue crew celebrates 10 years of serving the Shuswap

The marine search and rescue crew is working to build their floating rescue base and Pedersen said the funds will likely go to that, as well as needed boat repairs. Another event may be in the works for next year, he said.

Read more: Shuswap marine rescuers honoured for commitment on and off the water


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Rebecca Willson

About the Author: Rebecca Willson

I took my first step into the journalism industry in November 2022 when I moved to Salmon Arm to work for the Observer and Eagle Valley News. I graduated with a journalism degree in December 2021 from MacEwan University in Edmonton.
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