Search and rescue boathouse deal will boost capability

New boathouse will have more teaching, storage space

Coxswain Roan Phillips aboard Station 36’s rigid hull inflatible boat. The organization was rebranded as the Royal Canadian Marine Search and Rescue from the Canadian Coast Guard Auxilary earlier this year.

Coxswain Roan Phillips aboard Station 36’s rigid hull inflatible boat. The organization was rebranded as the Royal Canadian Marine Search and Rescue from the Canadian Coast Guard Auxilary earlier this year.

A donated boathouse and a change of name have given a local Peninsula volunteer organization a boost.

The Royal Canadian Marine Search and Rescue, previously known as the Canadian Coast Guard Auxiliary for the Pacific region, rebranded their organization in May of this year.

Linda Cummings of RCM-SAR Station 36, the Peninsula’s local RCM-SAR unit funded through the not-for-profit Saanich Marine Rescue Society, says she hopes the rebranding will also help the organization with their fundraising.

“By calling ourselves the Coast Guard Auxiliary, it gave most people the impression that we were funded by the federal government, which we weren’t,” she said.

“We received a small stipend for fuel that was meant to be used for calls. Everything else was, and is, totally covered by donations and fundraising. That includes equipment like helmets, cruiser suits, duty vests, radios and any maintenance or training on the RHIB’s (rigid hull inflatable boats) or boathouse maintenance.”

Station 36, which has been a fixture on the Peninsula since 1976, previously kept a boathouse at Van Isle Marina, but eventually outgrew it.

“The space at Van Isle was so small and it had no learning space and very little storage space, so it was fantastic when we found out about the new space,” explained Cummings.

The new space Cummings referred to is a 55-square-foot boathouse at Canoe Cove Marina that was donated to the organization in December 2011 by a man named Larry Clarke.

Station 36 officially took possession of the boathouse in January and began improvements on it almost immediately.

“The boathouse was in decent condition, but (the float was) a bit crooked,” laughed Cummings.

“Overall, it needed about $40,000 work to make it functional so that’s been our major fundraiser, but now it’s our main base to house the fast response craft, to store equipment in and we’re also working on having a teaching space in there as well.”

Station 36, which is operational and on standby at all times, serves a wide area around the Peninsula and surrounding waters and is completely staffed by volunteers who live locally.

For more information on volunteering or donating to RCM-SAR Station 36 through their not-for-profit organization, Saanich Marine Rescue Society, email info@marineresuce.org.