West Coast search and rescue (SAR) was the subject of this BC Shipping News article.  Author K. Joesph Spears states that search and rescue on Canada’s West Coast is an evolving subject. Search and rescue professionals have always responded to new challenges. As the number and size of passenger vessels increase, we will need to be able to respond to both an increasing amount of marine traffic as well as the potential for marine mass casualty incident. We have seen various marine incidents occur on this coast, and we have been able to have a robust, prompt response. Coordination and communication is a vital element that needs to be constantly exercised. West Coast search and rescue is an integral part of Canada’s ocean management and safety management regime.  The Joint Rescue Co-ordination Centre Victoria (JRCC Victoria) is one of three JRCCs in Canada operated by the Canadian Forces (CF) in conjunction with the Canadian Coast Guard (CCG); the others are in Trenton, Ontario and Halifax, Nova Scotia. The JRCC, jointly staffed by trained Canadian Forces and Canadian Coast Guard personnel, is manned 24 hours a day.

RCM-SAR and West Coast Search and Rescue

While they may now be called the Royal Canadian Marine Search and Rescue (RCM-SAR), the mission of saving lives on the water continues to drive the volunteer marine rescue organization formerly known as the Canadian Coast Guard Auxiliary-Pacific. The name change was announced during a special marine search and rescue event on May 26 at the Horseshoe Bay Municipal Pier, home of the new West Vancouver station and moorage for the new 36-foot search and rescue vessel, the Craig Rea Spirit.

Spears asserts that we owe it to the two Royal Canadian Marine Search and Rescue (RCM-SAR) members who tragically died on June 3 during a training exercise to ensure that we have a robust SAR system and be guided by the motto of search and rescue — “so others may live”. On Canada’s West Coast, we must be forever vigilant.

K. Joseph Spears provided additional insights in his August 2015 article in Canadian Sailings entitled ‘The Royal Canadian Navy’s role in response to marine incidents.