The Royal Canadian Marine Search and Rescue has a brand new boat to be used predominantly at Station 29 out of Ladysmith.
Ladysmith’s old rescue boat, now being replaced, was the second oldest vessel in the RCM•SAR fleet and the station is the second busiest on B.C.’s west coast behind Nanaimo.
“The whole process started about three years ago,” said Brian Cromp from the RCM•SAR. “The Royal Canadian Marine Search and Rescue envisioned a plan to establish standards in the type of dedicated search and rescue vessels being used by the various stations. To this end a group was brought together to work in concert with a marine architect to design new rescue vessels.
“Ladysmith Station 29 was fortunate to have a long serving member on that design committee and, by extension, had major input into the design. We were asked if we wanted to take part in the process so we did. This has took three years of fundraising and with the assistance of the local communities, marine organizations, mariners and Gaming grants, we were able to place our order.”
The actual building of the boat commenced last summer and that was done so by Liquid Metal Marine out of Sidney.
“The new boat gives us the ability to respond to emergencies in larger sea conditions and allows us to remain at sea for longer,” said Cromp.
One of the main reasons for that is due to the fact the new boat has numerous shock absorbers equipped with it, as part of the cabin, taking the impact of crew members whilst out at sea.
“The cabin, or console, is a Shockwave style console and is equipped with 18-inch shock absorbers which significantly reduce impact forces on crew members. With the resultant heavy weather, crew fatigue being reduced missions are now possible for longer periods of time in heavier seas. The Shockwave console is built by Professional Components also of Sidney,” confirmed Cromp.
The boat will be used for regular marine rescue missions such as vessel fires, medical conditions at sea, retrieving abandoned ships and rescuing vessels hung up on rocks.
“The vessel is 9.14 m in length (30 feet). State of the art electronics package purchased from Raymarine will provide the backbone of the navigational instruments on board. The vessel is configured with the helm to the port side and the navigator riding starboard seat. In normal operations the coxswain, or the master of the vessel, will ride port side aft where another set of electronics and radio gear permit him or her to keep abreast of the vessel’s operation on a minute by minute basis. A fifth seat is available centre aft in a ‘jump seat’ type configuration. There is room on the aft deck for two stretchers, side by each, which provides additional room not found on our current vessel,” stated Cromp who will be continuing the fundraising efforts, alongside his colleagues, in a bid for further state of the art equipment.
“Although the new vessel is now a reality there are still fund raising activities under way in the Ladysmith and surrounding area. There remains a need to purchase additional on-board equipment before the new boat can be placed into dedicated marine search and rescue activities. We look forward to working with the community in achieving these goals.”