Marine search and rescue providing free on-water safety checks

NANAIMO – B.C. marine search and rescue crews will provide free safety checks for boaters this summer.

  • Jun. 16, 2013 11:00 a.m.

Royal Canadian Marine Search and Rescue crews will be coming alongside B.C.’s boaters this summer offering more than emergency assistance.

The 2013 Vessel Safety Survey Program is sponsored by Transport Canada, which is spending $150,000 to provide free safety checks on the water.

Jim Lee, Royal Canadian Marine Search and Rescue president, said the program is an opportunity to connect with the boating public, ensure boaters have the right safety gear and promote search and rescue prevention.

Search and rescue crews are safety specialists and do not conduct enforcement.

Safety checks are strictly voluntary and are provided as a courtesy to boaters who request them.

Crews will offer to check personal floatation devices, fire extinguishers, bailers, radar reflectors, navigation charts and other items.

The program is designed to promote safe boating practices among pleasure craft owners and help prevent injuries and deaths through boating accidents.

More than 560 boating-related deaths occurred in B.C. from 1991 to 2008.

Marine search and rescue crews will target high traffic areas such as the Lower Mainland, Gulf Islands and southern Vancouver Island.

The Vessel Safety Survey program started June 8 and will continue through January 31.

For more information, please visit the Royal Canadian Marine Search and Rescue website at www.rcmsar.com.