Vancouver is Well-served by the Canadian Coast Guard
- Harper Government Announces New Inshore Rescue Boat Station and Royal Canadian Marine Search and Rescue Assets in Vancouver Harbour
- New Search and Rescue Assets in Vancouver Area
Current Workload of Kitsilano Lifeboat Station
Marine incidents are situations that occur on the water involving a vessel or a person from a vessel. Humanitarian incidents, such as medical evacuations and missing persons, remain outside the core mandate of the Canadian Coast Guard (CCG).
Marine and humanitarian incidents are further classified according to the level of urgency required, which helps to ensure that people in immediate danger receive a timely response. Distress incidents refer to situations where a person's life is at risk, or potentially at risk. Non-distress incidents refer to situations where no lives are in immediate danger, such as a false alarm or a disabled vessel.
In 2011, the Kitsilano lifeboat station responded to 271 calls.
Of the 271 calls:
- 195 (72%) were non-distress incidents, meaning that no lives were at risk or potential risk. 76 (28%) were distress incidents meaning lives were at risk or potentially at risk.
- 89 (33%) were humanitarian incidents, which remain outside the core mandate of the Canadian Coast Guard. 182 (67%) of the incidents were marine incidents.
- 36 (13%) were marine distress incidents.
- 54 (20%) of Kitsilano Lifeboat Station`s taskings (humanitarian and marine) were cancelled, meaning that Kitsilano’s services were not required to resolve the incident.
Decision to Reorganize Search and Rescue Services in Vancouver
The Canadian Coast Guard continually strives to provide outstanding maritime services to Canadians and improve service delivery whenever possible.
Vancouver is the only major port in Canada with a Coast Guard lifeboat station and a hovercraft station. In both Montreal and Halifax harbours, search and rescue is provided by Coast Guard Inshore Rescue Boat stations and Coast Guard Auxiliary units.
Based on the volume and nature of incidents requiring Coast Guard's expertise and service, we are reorganizing our assets in Vancouver to better align our capacity with other, comparable ports.
We are confident that the search and rescue network—including a new Inshore Rescue Boat and a strengthened partnership with the Canadian Coast Guard Auxiliary (Pacific), (newly named the Royal Canadian Marine Search and Rescue)—can effectively manage the caseload of the Kitsilano lifeboat station and that service levels will be maintained.
New Resources to be Established in the Greater Vancouver Area
We are establishing a new Inshore Rescue Boat station to provide increased search and rescue capacity during the peak summer operational season, which will extend from May long weekend until after Labour Day. Inshore Rescue Boat stations have proven to be an effective means to deliver search and rescue response in major metropolitan harbours. For example, the average response time of the Kitsilano lifeboat station is 22 minutes while the average response time for the Montreal Inshore Rescue Boat is 7 minutes. The Coast Guard is currently looking at the best location for the new Inshore Rescue Boat.
The government will also be investing an additional $100,000 a year in the Royal Canadian Marine Search and Rescue to enhance its presence in downtown Vancouver.
Royal Canadian Marine Search and Rescue to Enhance its Presence in Downtown Vancouver
The Coast Guard has enjoyed a longstanding partnership with the Royal Canadian Marine Search and Rescue. There are over 1,000 members and 61 units in British Columbia that dedicate their time to providing search and rescue response service.
As we move forward, we will work with Royal Canadian Marine Search and Rescue to determine how its capacity and capability could be enhanced to serve mariners in the Vancouver port.
It is notable that other maritime nations rely on volunteer organization for marine search and rescue. Volunteers around the world contribute to saving lives every day, as they do in the United Kingdom, the United States and many other countries.
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