Fundraiser this Saturday at Pages Marina for Search and Rescue vessel

Sounder News

Monday, April 28 2014

Pages Marina, Resort and Bookstore will be the site of a fundraiser this coming weekend. Local supporters of the Royal Canadian Marine Search and Rescue (RCM-SAR) out of Ladysmith will continue to raise money to equip a new rapid response vessel purchased recently.

The Royal Canadian Marine Search and Rescue Station 29 is based in Ladysmith (RCMSAR 29). RCMSAR 29 is a group of local, highly trained, marine rescue volunteers who provide 24 hour per day marine rescue services to the commercial mariners, recreational boaters and local residents between Dodd’s Narrows and Sansom Narrows including Gabriola Island, adjacent islands and Georgia Strait. 

Station 29 is one of the busiest volunteer stations on the coast, given the volume of marine traffic and recreational boating in this area. The volunteer crews respond to a wide variety of emergency call-outs including service to the residents of local islands as well as vessel emergencies. These volunteers often go out in bad weather and sometimes dangerous conditions and their effectiveness is a result of extensive training as well as access to good equipment and specialized tools to enable them to respond quickly and reach the emergency location accurately.

At present the society, a registered charity, is in the process of replacing its rapid response vessel which is nearing the end of its service life. The new vessel, built in Sidney, BC, at approximately 30 feet in length, is larger and safer than the vessel it replaces, and provides the crew with increased capacity to respond to emergencies. This vessel can carry two stretchers on the aft deck and is equipped with twin, high powered outboard engines to move rapidly to an emergency situation. The society has acquired the new vessel which cost in excess of $300,000 and was financed through grants from provincial gaming resources, a considerable amount of public and corporate donations, as well as volunteer fundraising initiatives. While the society has the vessel, it is still lacking in some of the critical life-safety and specialized marine rescue tools that are essential to operate the vessel and respond to emergency situations. The goal is to commission the new vessel to complete operational state for June of this year.

At present, the society and supporting organizations and groups are actively engaged in fundraising to complete the fitting out of the new vessel with life-safety gear and specialized marine rescue equipment. The event on May 3 at Silva Bay is part of this initiative and we are hoping for a strong participation from boaters and the public in support of the search and rescue effort.

At present, Gabriola Island with the help of Village Food Market, Mid Island Co-op, Carol Martin of Coast Realty, Pages Marina, the Gabriola Lions’ Club, Silva Bay Yacht Club, and the Gabriola Power Squadron have raised over $7,000 towards the target. 

On May 4, a number of cyclists who regularly cycle around Gabriola will be accompanying Ian Waymark of Station 29 as he attempts to ride 100 km around Gabriola. Waymark presently has pledges in excess of $2,000.

The schedule for the day is as follows:

• Events to run on Saturday, May 3, 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.

• Hovercraft rides departing every 30 minutes.

• Kayak safety demonstrations.

• Children’s entertainment (children dressed as pirates will be entered to win a prize).

• Presentations on logging and marine history of Vancouver Island.

• BBQ lunch fundraiser 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.

• Special presentation at 3:00 p.m.