Two brothers living on Lasqueti Island have become a lifeline for people who get into trouble in the Georgia Strait’s unforgiving and downright dangerous conditions.
“It was all because of one incident. The Coast Guard I heard over the radio saying get a hold of the shellfish farm. It was a sailboat that the person had fallen overboard,” said Bruce Jones.
The two had started a shellfish hatchery in 1976 and were soon known for dropping everything to go and help people.
They have logbooks documenting most of their 350 rescues over 35 years of official work with the Coast Guard Auxiliary and more recently with Royal Canadian Marine Search and Rescue.
“It’s an attractive place for boaters to go and so where they go they have problems,” Gordon Jones said.
Over the years, a lot of boats end up on the rocks near Lasqueti Island, others sink, there’s engine trouble and any other assortment of marine emergencies they respond to.
They’ve saved countless lives and were recently recognized for 35 years of service by Royal Canadian Marine Search and Rescue. They are officially part of Station 59, Deep Bay.
“And they do so many rescues in that area, they contribute probably 25 to 30 per cent of our total Unit 59 rescues so they’re critically important,” said Dave Ranson, deputy station leader.
Why do they do it?
“We meet the nicest people,” said Bruce.
“We’d like to think someone would do it for us too,” added Gordon.
“We’re counting on it,” finished Bruce.
Ranson says the brothers don’t do it for the recognition.
“They’ve saved countless lives and countless dollars in property as well and they’re very humble. They really don’t want any pats on the back or any real acknowledgment but 35 years they have it coming,” added Ranson.
And when asked how much longer they’ll keep doing it, they say as long as they’re around to help.