Volunteer marine rescuers on the West Coast have a new name and a new look as they continue their 150-year tradition of saving lives on the water.
Royal Canadian Marine Search and Rescue is the new name for the Canadian Coast Guard Auxiliary – Pacific, an all-volunteer organization with stations in 46 communities in British Columbia.
“We work very closely with the Canadian Coast Guard but we are a separate organization,” said president Randy Strandt. “Our new name recognizes the distinct identity of our service, and helps emphasize the strong links we have to the communities that depend on us, and on which we depend for fundraising.”
The name change affects more than a thousand members in British Columbia where volunteers are on call around the clock and are often the first to respond to emergencies on the water.
In the past year they have taken part in more than 700 missions and assisted more than 850 people. Their area of operation covers some 27,000 square kilometres of B.C. coastline and includes some of the busiest waterways in the world.
Crews are supported by local societies which raise funds for community-based rescue vessels. Funding comes from private donations, corporate contributions, community grants, legacies, local fundraising, and gaming grants. Operational funding is also provided by the Canadian Coast Guard.
“There is a long tradition of marine rescue service here on the West Coast, and our new name reflects a growing sophistication in the training we provide to our crews, the professional skills they bring to the public, and the amazing capability of the modern rescue vessels that they operate,” said Strandt.