Communications & Resources

JRCC Co-ordinators rely greatly on communications to receive information and to task resources. RCC Co-ordinators are required to plan, co-ordinate, conduct, control and monitor incidents from start to finish, which requires a comprehensive communications network. These vital communications are achieved through direct phone links with CCG Marine Communications and Traffic Services (MCTS) stations (Prince Rupert, Tofino, Comox, Victoria and Vancouver), CCG SAR stations and 442 Squadron Operations as well as a direct link with United States Coast Guard in USCG District 13 - Washington. In addition, RCC has several satellite communication systems for direct link to vessels. Air communications is facilitated through DND Air/Ground Aldergrove as well as through NAV Canada Flight Service Stations and Area Control Centers. In addition, the Search and Rescue Satellite (SARSAT) system is an effective tool in alerting and positioning Emergency Locator Transmitters (ELTs) and Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacons (EPIRBs).

Primary SAR Resources

The Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO)/Canadian Coast Guard (CCG) provides primary SAR vessels. Motor lifeboats and cutters are stationed along the coast in historically high-risk areas such as Bella Bella, Campbell River, French Creek (Parksville), Westview (Powell River), Ganges, Bamfield, Sandspit, Tofino, Port Hardy and Prince Rupert. An AP188 hovercraft is stationed at Sea Island adjacent to Vancouver International Airport YVR to provide flexibility in accessing shallow waters of the Fraser River delta. An Inshore Rescue Boat (IRB) program employing students is also run by CCG in the summer to augment these high-risk areas during peak traffic periods. Exposed coastal waters have been divided into two SAR areas. A DFO/CCG patrol vessel is continuously stationed in each zone to provide SAR coverage.

The Canadian Forces (CF) provide aircraft and personnel for SAR at 442 Transport and Rescue Squadron at 19 Wing Comox, BC. A CH-149 Cormorant helicopter and CC-115 Buffalo aircraft are on continuous SAR standby.

Secondary SAR Resources

Civil Air Search and Rescue Association (CASARA) - a national organization of volunteers with over 980 members operating 100 private aircraft in BC under the control of the Provincial Emergency Program.

Canadian Coast Guard Auxiliary (CCGA) - a national organization of volunteers with over 1200 volunteers and 200 vessels throughout the coastal waters of British Columbia who offer their time and commitment to actively provide search and rescue services.

Other resources available include the Canadian Navy, Canadian Air Force, RCMP, and the United States Coast Guard.

Vessels of Opportunity - A vessel of opportunity is any other vessel not mentioned above, close enough to provide assistance to a vessel in distress. Under the Canada Shipping Act and international law, every vessel at sea is required to assist in a distress situation.