Coast Guard reopens ‘strategically located’ inshore rescue stations for spring and summer season

Photo: Canadian Coast Guard/Facebook
A Canadian Coast Guard search and rescue vessel is pictured in this file photo.

Crews are once again manning inshore rescue stations on and around Vancouver Island, where they’ll be able to swiftly respond to incidents involving boats in local waters this spring and summer, the Canadian Coast Guard (CCG) says.

Four seasonally operated Inshore Rescue Boat Stations reopened on Saturday, May 18, at Cortes Bay, Sointula, Nootka Sound, and Kelsey Bay, according to the CCG. 

A news release says the facilities are “strategically located in areas of coastal British Columbia that see significant amounts of spring and summer marine traffic.”

The CCG says the stations are open annually from May to September when crews respond to incidents, including vessels that are disabled, run aground, lost in the fog, or taking on water, as well as medical emergencies and other situations.

READ ALSO: 3 people rescued from fiery boat in Oak Bay: Coast guard

“A three-person crew, comprising of a Canadian Coast Guard Coxswain and two post-secondary students or naval reservists, operate a rigid-hull, inflatable fast rescue craft out of each station,” the CCG said in a news release.

“Before the Inshore Rescue Boat stations open, crews are trained in seamanship, boat handling, navigation, and search and rescue operations.”

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(Photo: Canadian Coast Guard)

The inshore rescue program has been around for decades, and the CCG says many of the students who have worked at stations have gone on to work with the Coast Guard at all levels within the organization.

“Since 1972, the Inshore Rescue Boat Program has been providing search and rescue coverage in important areas along Canada’s coasts, while developing the next generation of leaders,” it added in the release from Friday.

A recent rescue mission didn’t happen near any of the four stations, but it did see CCG crews respond and pick up three people from a fiery boat in the waters off Oak Bay. While no one was injured, the boat was taking on water, so crews towed it further into McNeill Bay before beaching it. 

On-the-water emergencies can be reported 24/7 toll-free within Canada by calling 1-800-567-5111 or via marine VHF radio channel 16.

Ethan Morneau

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