Station 27 Nanaimo
RCMSAR Station 27 is located in beautiful Nanaimo, centrally located on the east coast of Vancouver Island. Our convenient location at Brechin Boat Launch allows easy access to our local waters, with our typical response area covering Nanoose Bay to Dodd Narrows, Silva Bay and beyond.
Nanaimo is home to kayakers, divers, a very active dragon boating community, boaters, as well as many campers and hikers who travel to our surrounding islands. Sailors enjoy the challenging races that take place around Nanaimo, including the Van Isle 360 and the Southern Straits Yacht Race. In addition, Nanaimo is home to two ferry terminals and two float plane bases. Station 27 strives to provide the highest standard of emergency response in this vibrant and active marine community.
Station 27 originated in the early 1990s with a handful of local boaters and divers. In 1992, a fatal marine accident raised awareness of the need for a trained fast response unit. With a Boston Whaler donated by the City of Nanaimo, the small group became part of the city’s emergency program and, in 1998, formed the Nanaimo Marine Rescue Society.
Thanks to the vision and hard work of its dedicated members, in 2002, Station 27 was able to purchase a Titan 249 RHI Delta. By 2008, the Station built a rescue station at Brechin Boat Launch. With a further desire to continue to improve our capabilities, and with great support from our community, we were able to acquire our newest vessel, a Falkins Class Type II jet boat, in 2010.
In order to keep our Station and members SAR ready 365 days a year, we engage in ongoing, challenging training. Some of our partners in training and tasking have included Ground SAR, RCMP, Nanaimo Port Authority, BC Ferries, Canadian Coast Guard, and our neighboring RCMSAR Stations. Nanaimo has also been involved in several larger scale SAREX events, practicing large-scale disaster response. Station 27 is an integral part of the community and our 40(plus) volunteer members are involved in community events like the Boat Show, the Nanaimo Marine Festival and Bath Tub Races, the First Nations Tribal Journey, the Dragonboat Festival, parades and fireworks events, and many Nanaimo Yacht Club events.
Search and Rescue
RCM-SAR Station 27 is routinely called upon to respond to local emergencies which include medical evacuations, grounded or overturned vessels, diving incidents, transport of medical and R.C.M.P. personnel, mechanical failures, searches for missing persons, and many other situations where assistance is required on the water. The crew responding to these calls are all volunteers and are ready to respond year round, 24 hours a day. The Search and rescue crews are tasked by the Coast Guard’s Rescue Coordinated Centre in Victoria. Launch time is normally 18 minutes from when crews are paged.
Pleasure Craft Safety Check (PCSC)
This is a FREE service provided by the RCM-SAR organization to assist you as an operator of a small craft (up to 78′ or 24m in length) to help you maintain your vessel’s safety equipment to an acceptable marine standard.
A PCSC is not mandatory or required by law, but the law does require you to carry the required safety equipment. This legal requirement is there is to help improve your safety and that of your loved ones while you enjoy your time on the water.
During a check, a trained member of the RCM-SAR boards your vessel with your permission and conducts a thorough check of all safety equipment required to be on board according to the Canada Shipping Act, Small Vessel Regulations and Collision Regulations Guidelines. The member makes sure the equipment is present and in working condition, and discusses general safety awareness and safe boating practices. Optional safety and navigational equipment is also checked for your benefit.
A PCSC check takes anywhere from 15-30 minutes for small vessels and longer for larger vessels depending on the quantity of equipment to be checked, the condition of the vessel and equipment on board and your interest in safety. If this check is successful, you receive a decal to be placed on the vessel.
The RCM-SAR does NOT forward any of the information about a PCSC to any enforcement agency, regardless of whether a check is successful or not. If a check is unsuccessful, the member checking your vessel is there to help advise you on how you can remedy the deficiencies.
In the end, it’s safety first and when it comes to boating, safety means the safeguarding of your friends and family. We appreciate that you are a responsible boater who cares for those on your vessel. Thank you for letting us conduct a PCSC on your vessel!
Kids Don’t Float
This program features large boards with colourful graphics along with a supply of children’s personal floatation devices (PFDs). These boards are installed at marinas, boat launching ramps, parks and swimming areas. Kids Don’t Float is run on an honour system and offers free day use of PFDs for your children.
These loaner stations for children’s PFDs are very popular throughout the province and RCM-SAR stations receive many requests for new locations. By the end of 2005 there were 14 KFD boards set up across the province. More recently, Mustang Survival, a manufacturer of personal safety equipment, has joined us as a partner to supply the program with additional PFDs. In time, there will be 25 boards set up in the province.
The RCMP has also joined the Kids Don’t Float program and has signed a memorandum of understanding with RCM-SAR to place stations in remote communities on the coast. The purpose of this joint effort is to encourage more children in the remote areas to wear a PFD while on the water. The program gives the RCMP an opportunity to develop a non-enforcement profile with the children and youth in these communities while providing an important service.
Crews, Prevention Officers & Supporting Members
Our search and rescue (SAR) Crew and SAR Prevention Officers make up our operational personnel. All operational personnel must pass a Criminal Record Check.
SAR Crew must also have Standard First Aid training with CPR Level C, hold a Restricted Radio Operator Certification license, and have a Pleasure Craft Operator Competency Card. Members interested in volunteering as SAR crew should be able to meet the physical conditions of long hours on the water in rough conditions, have the time to commit to training, and be willing to be on call. You must also live within a 15 minute driving range from our Brechin boathouse.
SAR Prevention Officers often work with the public and sometimes with children in educating people on boating safety. The ability to easily engage people, work well with children and to deal with large crowds is a definite plus.
Supporting members are members of the local fundraising societies that support the RCM-SAR stations in a non-SAR role. Supporting members often have specialized skills in finance, marketing, community outreach, fundraising or simply want to contribute to their local station. Supporting society members must also obtain a Criminal Record Check.
Nanaimo Marine Rescue Society
The Nanaimo Marine Rescue Society (NMRS) is responsible for raising the funds necessary to operate RCM-SAR Station 27. NMRS is a registered charitable organization in Canada, and all donations are tax-deductible.
There are no administration fees and no hidden costs when you donate. With no paid employees, every dollar raised by NMRS goes towards purchasing and maintaining our search and rescue equipment. All equipment, including our boats, is purchased through funds raised by donation.
Some operating costs, such as the cost of fuel and insurance, are reimbursed by the Department of Fisheries and Oceans on a per-incident basis when we are called out to help people in distress.