Halfmoon Bay: Rush hour traffic and safety on the water

Can you believe it’s July already? Where did the last six months go? 2020 began with the hope of an amazing year but our world certainly changed in March. We continue to work hard at staying safe and finding our own way to feel comfortable, positive and supportive to those around us. Well done, everyone; keep it up! 

Rush hour traffic on the sea. Looking out at the ocean on a clear day, with the wind coming from the northwest, creating white caps, while watching pleasure boats cruising by or sailboats puttering along. We see watercraft of all shapes and sizes heading up the coast to the north and bouncing through the waves heading south. It seems that when the forecast is windy, there are more sailboats on the water, and we are always so impressed when they have their sails raised and are heeling over. On the Monday prior to Canada Day, we were amazed at how many boats went by. Where are they all going? While checking AIS (Automatic Identification System), we found many of these cruisers were heading to Princess Louisa Inlet, Chatterbox Falls. Seems it is a popular place these days as it’s a beautiful, natural wonder. It’s on our radar to visit for sure. 

Speaking of boating and being on the water, the Royal Canadian Marine Search and Rescue Station 12 (RCM-SAR-12) have begun their training exercises again. Station 12 has been in service for 30 years. There are five coxswains, two advanced crew along with 10 crew members and seven new recruits. One of their awesome members, John Howcroft, soon to be coxswain, provided some background information about this incredible team and what they do: 

“Very few people realize that RCM-SAR-12 is 100 per cent volunteer and relies on fundraising for most of our capital and safety gear. We operate two vessels in separate locations. These vessels are moored in boathouses and require a substantial amount of funding for yearly maintenance and insurance. The Lewis McPhee (a Zodiac 733 Hurricane) is located at the SCRD wharf in Porpoise Bay serving Sechelt, the Narrows and Salmon Inlets. Our other vessel, the Ken Moore (a Zodiac 753 Hurricane), is stationed at Dukes Marina, in Secret Cove, serving the Salish Sea from White Islets (Mission Point) to McNaughton Point.

“We are a registered charity and are funded through various sources, some of which include the Department of Fisheries and the Canadian Coast Guard for on the water emergency response and training. Community partners include the Sechelt Nation, Vital Signs, the SCRD and the Sunshine Coast Community Foundation, to name a few. We are careful stewards of the funding received to support our volunteers and are very proud of our track record as an efficient, effective non-profit organization.” 

Recently RCM-SAR signed a memorandum of understanding with Emergency Management BC for mutual aid. This means that as long as they are not required for a SAR task from the Joint RCC, they may be asked to assist BC Parks, local fire departments, BC Coroners Service, RCMP, Ground SAR, and BC Ambulance. During the pandemic, the team had to put training on hold but continued to be an essential service and stay prepared for any emergency. This was challenging given the rapid change in protocols that were required to keep members safe. 

Some yearly averages include: 28 missions, 111 training exercises, 72 classroom sessions and 439 extra activities for qualifications (Transport Canada/Coast Guard). 

The commitment of this group of people is selfless and it is amazing how many hours these incredibly dedicated volunteers have given up in their personal lives to ensure they are ready for any emergency on the water or land. They train non-stop year-round, maintaining a 24/7, 365-day readiness. They are extremely proud of what they do, and we are incredibly grateful knowing that they are there for us should the need ever arise. Thank you RCM-SAR-12, Halfmoon Bay. 

To have your say at the Bay, please contact me before 5 p.m. on Mondays. cindy.kisser@telus.net. 

Be kind, be gentle, be safe.

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