The Ahousaht First Nation’s new 29-foot dedicated response vessel is capable of cruising at 32 knots and has an estimated range of 400 nautical miles. (Photo courtesy of the Canadian Coast Guard)

The Ahousaht First Nation’s new 29-foot dedicated response vessel is capable of cruising at 32 knots and has an estimated range of 400 nautical miles. (Photo courtesy of the Canadian Coast Guard)

New rescue boat making Vancouver Island’s Pacific Rim safer

Ahousaht’s Coastal Nations Coast Guard Auxiliary boosts response capacity on west coast

A Vancouver Island First Nation known for its selfless marine rescues has another weapon at its disposal for keeping the West Coast safe.

The Ahousaht First Nation has launched a new search and rescue vessel that’s ready to respond to emergencies in waters off Vancouver Island’s Pacific Rim.

“This new dedicated SAR vessel has created a great sense of community pride especially among our dedicated CN-CGA volunteer crew,” said Coastal Nations-Coast Guard Auxiliary member Luke Michael Swan Jr. in a May 19 announcement.

“Having a dedicated vessel ready to respond to a marine emergency has really elevated and strengthened our SAR program here in community and territorial waters and will allow crews to work more effectively alongside the Canadian Coast Guard and SAR partners, ultimately saving lives at sea.”

The new 29-foot dedicated response vessel is capable of cruising at 32 knots and has an estimated range of 400 nautical miles. It was paid for with $214,156 of funding from the Canadian Coast Guard’s Indigenous Community Boat Volunteer Pilot Program.

“I would like to hold up all that had a hand in making our dedicated SAR vessel a reality,” said Coastal Nations-Coast Guard Auxiliary Board Chair Alec Dick. “Let me also celebrate our CN-CGA Crew volunteers, the marine SAR backbone of our community. This vessel will allow our volunteers to deliver top notch SAR services, provide care alongside our mission partners and neighbors in providing effective marine SAR services for people in distress.”

Ahousaht members are well known for their willingness to rapidly respond to marine emergencies and the First Nation received a Medal of Good Citizenship from B.C.’s then-premier Christy Clark for its efforts during the Leviathan II tragedy of 2015. Six people died in the tragedy, but Ahousaht helped rescue 21 of the whale watching vessel’s 27 passengers.

Ahousaht was a founding member of the Coastal Nations-Coast Guard Auxiliary, Canada’s first all-Indigenous Coast Guard Auxiliary, in 2018.

The CN-CGA has over 50 members from the Ahousaht, Heiltsuk, Gitxaala, Nisgaa, Kitasoo and Quatsino First Nations that are equipped and ready to respond to marine emergencies 24 hours-a-day, 365 days-a-year.

“As the Executive Director of CN-CGA, Canada’s first Indigenous led Coast Guard Auxiliary, I’ve seen the organization grow significantly, in just a short time,” said CN-CGA Executive Director Conrad J.S. Cowan.

“I foremost recognize the critical role of this dedicated SAR vessel and its importance to members of the Auxiliary in protecting mariners and coastal communities. Our crews are simply the most experienced stewards of the marine environment and are unquestionably vital to Canada’s marine safety system today.”

For more news from Vancouver Island and beyond delivered daily into your inbox, please click here.



andrew.bailey@westerlynews.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

READ MORE: Rescue attempt costs man his boat off Pacific Rim National Park Reserve

READ MORE: Ahousaht First Nation saves six after vessel runs aground near Tofino

READ MORE: Two B.C. Indigenous Coast Guard auxiliary units receive big financial boost

Canadian Coast GuardFirst NationsTofino,

Just Posted

Karl and Stephanie Ann Johanson were thrilled to spot a pair of Sandhill Cranes in the Panama Flats this month, an unusual appearance for such birds. (Photo by Stephanie Ann Johanson)
WATCH: Sandhill cranes an unusual, joyful sight in Saanich parkland

The birds don’t often touch down in the south of the Island

Jesse Roper tackles weeds in his garden to kick off the 2021 season of What’s In My Garden Man? (YouTube/Whats In My Garden)
VIDEO: Metchosin singer-songwriter Jesse Roper invites gardeners into his plot

What’s In My Garden, Man? kicks off with the poop on compost

Barriers to rental housing brought on by no-pet rules add stress to renters, says councillor. (Pixabay)
Saanich councillor wants to remove barriers to housing for pet owners

Motion calling for province to amend lease stipulations against pet ownership defeated in 5-4 vote

A sketch of the multi-use path that will connect Lagoon Beach and Royal Beach in Colwood. (Sketch courtesy of the City of Colwood)
Concepts for Colwood beach connector coming to council June 21

Major infrastructure project includes gathering places, public amenities and pathways

(V.I. Trail/Google Maps)
Now 90% complete, Vancouver Island trail forges new funding parnership

Victoria Foundation takes on Vancouver Island Trail Association; fund valued at $40,000

A small pod of Pacific white-sided dolphins pass by close to shore in Campbell River June 16, 2021. Still capture from video courtesy of Kimberly Hart
VIDEO: Dolphin sunset captured from Vancouver Island shore

Spectacular setting for view of travelling pod of Pacific white-sided dolphins

Police are asking for public assistance in locating Anthony Graham who has been charged with the murders of Kamloops brothers Carlo and Erick Fryer. (RCMP photo)
2 charged, suspect at large in killings of B.C. brothers linked to gang activity: RCMP

Kamloops brothers Erick and Carlo Fryer were found deceased in May on a remote Okanagan road

Albert Health Minister Tyler Shandro and Alberta Premier Jason Kenney unveil an opening sign after speaking about the Open for Summer Plan and next steps in the COVID-19 vaccine rollout, in Edmonton, Friday, June 18, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Alberta 1st province in Canada to lift all COVID-19 public health restrictions

70.2% of eligible citizens 12 and older in the province have received a dose of the vaccine

Fraser Health registered nurse Ramn Manan draws a dose of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine into a syringe at a walk-up vaccination clinic at Bear Creek Park, in Surrey, B.C., on Monday, May 17, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
‘Honour our fathers’ with COVID-19 vaccine protection, B.C. urges

109 new cases Friday, 75 per cent of 12 and up immunized

Freighters have becomd abundant in the Trincomali Channel on the east side of Thetis Island.
Nanaimo ponders taking on waste from nearby anchored freighters

Vancouver-based Tymac petitioning the Regional District of Nanaimo to accept waste at its landfill

(Paul Henderson/ Chilliwack Progress)
Trutch Avenue in Chilliwack to be renamed to remove racist taint

New name to have Indigenous significance as Chilliwack takes new step toward reconciliation

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is seen during a joint news conference following the EU-Canada Summit, in Brussels, Belgium, Tuesday June 15, 2021. Trudeau says Canada is on track now to have 68 million doses delivered by the end of July, which is more than enough to fully vaccinate all 33.2 million Canadians over the age of 12. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Vaccine deliveries enough to fully vaccinate all eligible Canadians by end of July

Three in four eligible Canadians now have their first dose, nearly one in five fully vaccinated.

Chief Public Health Officer Theresa Tam listens to a question during a news conference, in Ottawa, Tuesday, Jan. 12, 2021. The number of confirmed COVID-19 cases attributed to the highly contagious Delta variant grew in Canada this week. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Canada’s public health agency reports spike in confirmed cases of Delta variant

More than 2,000 cases of the variant confirmed across all 10 provinces and in one territory

(Black Press Media file photo)
POLL: When was the last time you visited the mainland?

The films are again lighting the screens at local theatres, the wine… Continue reading

Most Read