Boaters spend cool evening waiting for rescue


Nanaimo Coast Guard auxiliary’s heat-detecting camera and night-vision goggles came in handy during a rescue Tuesday evening.

Station leader Gordie Robinson said auxiliary volunteers were called out just before dusk to search for three adults and a young girl in a five-metre vessel who had run out of gas and were drifting about eight kilometres east of Entrance Island.

The boaters had at first called friends, who searched for them unsuccessfully, before calling the coast guard for help.

“It was getting dark and they were drifting in the middle of the strait,” said Robinson.

After a 30-minute search – the boaters had drifted another eight kilometres out into Georgia Strait – the crew found the boaters using search lights, a heat-seeking infrared camera that came with the auxiliary’s new rescue vessel earlier this year, and night-vision goggles.

Robinson said volunteers immediately took the people on board the rescue vessel and towed their boat back to Nanaimo harbour.

“They were cold. They’d been drifting for probably three hours,” he said, adding that the people were lucky it was a calm, warm night.

Robinson recommends people make sure they have a backup for the equipment they have in case of failure.