Rescue station open house Saturday, May 12

Nanaimo’s Royal Canadian Marine Search and Rescue, Station 27, will launch its Kids Don’t Float program at an open house on Saturday (May 12) at Brechin Boat Launch.

The station will be open to the public from noon to 5 p.m. to introduce residents to its services and operations

The Kids Don’t Float program provides free loaner life jackets for children in all sizes at various locations on the Nanaimo waterfront. The PFDs are available throughout the summer so boaters can use them for children and return them to the Information board. The new KDF sign/station will be opened at 1 p.m.

The KDF board at Brechin Boat launch and the updating of the boards at Townsite Marina and the Nanaimo Yacht Club are funded by the Marcus Negrin Memorial Fund and by a grant from Boating BC. The Negrin family will be there to help with the unveiling of the board.

The Nanaimo KDF program is looking for more locations. Protection Island Mud Bay, Westwood Lake, Brannen Lake, Long Lake, the Crab Dock, and Charlaine Boat Ramp are on the wish list.

Marcus Negrin was a young Nanaimo fisherman who died in 2015. The family has asked that memorial donations go to SAR 27 to help save lives on the water. Last year the funds went KDF and a teen boys mental health program at Dover Bay School.  The Negrin Memorial funds paid for the remodelling and rebuilding of the station Ready Room and Training Centre as well as the KDF program in Nanaimo.



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Safety on the water

RCMSAR Nanaimo Station 27 provided the safety component for the Nanaimo Yacht Club’s annual sailpast on Sunday, May 6. /  Merv Unger photo

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Volunteers put in 1,752 hours helping and being ready

Shore rescue photo by Merv Unger, Media Liaison SAR 27

By Merv Unger
April 23, 2018

Summer may be a little slow to arrive for some people, but once the sun makes a regular appearance people head to the water – on it or in it. And that means being ready.

The Royal Canadian Marine Search and Rescue station in Nanaimo works year round training, teaching and conducting rescue missions. In 2017, volunteers invested 1,752 hours in all aspects of keeping local residents safe in an on the water.

In 2017, Nanaimo’s Station 27 had 69 “taskings” where crews and rescue boats respond to incidents on the water. Those calls involved 29 motor and 19 sailing vessels at sea. Crews also assisted seven human-powered watercraft and 14 other missions with about 150 on the water. Crew volunteers invested 686 hours over all in training while support volunteers put in more than 900 hours.

Photo courtesy

A cursory glance over the type of callouts includes things like mechanical breakdowns or boats taking on water and assisting disabled boats, person in the water, and special events like last summer’s Tribal Journey. Some are relatively simple, like clam diggers stranded when the tide comes in, a person missing off a ferry, a lost disoriented senior, swamped canoe, and an overloaded herring boat. Sometimes there are calls from passengers on ferries believing they spotted a body floating on the ocean.

No call is unimportant. It’s better to respond to a false alarm than to miss a life-threatening incident.

Marine rescue doesn’t just respond to emergencies. They work to prevent them to make sure families and children make it home safely after a day on the water. One of the public support services of RCMSAR is boating safety information, pleasure craft safety checks, and a loaner program for kids’ lifejackets at many docks and marinas in the “Kids Don’t Float” program.

Not sure what safety gear you need? Station 27 offers free safety checks for small craft operators. Members visit boats at the dock and conduct courtesy checks. They’ll make sure you have the safety equipment you need to comply with regulations and stay safe in the environment where you’ll be boating. They will give you an inspection sticker, with emergency numbers, to stick on you boat.

It’s free, quick, and confidential. Watch for volunteers and signs at local marinas, or call RCMSAR for more information.

RCMSAR volunteers promote on-water safety by participating in community events, like the recent Nanaimo Boat Show and Stones Shipyard open house. Crews attend with their vessels and equipment and also have land-based mobile displays and volunteers who talk about SAR prevention and safety on the water.

Aside from the Nanaimo station’s activities, RCMSAR serves the entire coast. Over all, they had 711 total taskings involving 78,767 volunteer hours with 538 people assisted during the year by the 1,104 volunteers.


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Night time training exercises for Station 27 crews

Nanaimo Marine Search and Rescue crews are always on stand by, ready to come to the aid of people in distress at sea. And that takes a lot of regular training at all hours of the day. Thanks to SAR member Jerry Berry for these great photos.


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