SAR Training

Rescue Specialist:

SAR team in training

The Canadian Coast Guard Rescue Specialist program was developed in response to needs identified both regionally and nationally for a higher level of rescue capability and emergency pre-hospital care within the Coast Guard Fleet. The approved minimum crewing level in Pacific Region is 2 Rescue Specialists on all major vessels and 1 on all minor vessels.

In order to be considered a "Rescue Specialist" Coast Guard personnel must meet specific training requirements. These include; Marine Emergencies Duties (MED) Fire Fighting, Lifeboat and Sea Survival, which are trained outside of Coast Guard; Rigid Hull Inflatable Operator Training (RHIOT) which is provided in Pacific Region by Coast Guard Operational Services; and the "Medic "A" course which is delivered by Coast Guard SAR.

The "Medic A" training includes certification by St. John Ambulance (Advanced Level II - 70 hours) and a series of Coast Guard specific modules approved by Health Canada. Coast Guard instructors deliver the Medic A course over 15 training days, including exams. Practical examination is by paramedics from the BC Ambulance Service. Re-certification is 10 days training triennially.


The "Medic A" training includes:

  • St. John Ambulance Advanced First Aid Level II (70 hours)
  • Hypothermia and Cold Water Near-Drowning
  • Marine Disaster Scene Management and Triage
  • Diving Injury Recognition and Field Treatment
  • Radio Medical Communications
  • Nitrous Oxide (Entonox)
  • Spinal Immobilisation
  • Pharmaceuticals
  • Practical Skills Application

Some of the equipment available to the Pacific Region Rescue Specialist includes first aid jump-kits, oxygen and airways, an array of stretchers, extrication and spinal immobilisation tools, traction splints, inhalation re-warming equipment for hypothermia, analgesic gas (Entonox), pneumatic anti-shock garments (MAST), and on the larger ships an issue of pharmaceuticals. There is also an automatic external defibrillator (AED) pilot program at one station.

There are an estimated 90 active Rescue Specialists within Coast Guard Pacific Region. They work in a dynamic, challenging and at times remote marine environment on board ships and at Coast Guard Stations. Their responsibilities as Rescue Specialists are in addition to their regular duties. In 2000 this group responded to 222 marine incidents with 239 casualties requiring patient care, as well as serving as the first aid attendants for the officers and crews of their vessels.

Canadian Coast Guard - Pacific Region
Rescue Specialist Co-ordinator
25 Huron Street
Victoria BC, V8V 4V9

Telephone: 250-480-2635
FaXs: 250-413-2833


Coastal Sar Course:

The Maritime Search and Rescue Branch provides training to agencies or individuals which respond to maritime incidents. These agencies may be dedicated primary response or multi-tasked.

At present the program provides a SAR theory course called Coastal SAR. This 20-hour course is adapted from the national Fundamental SAR Course. It provides an overview of the SAR system, elements of a search plan, tasking information, risk/benefit of rescue operations, and vital information during mission conclusion.

Instruction from the CCG can be provided by officers from the Joint Rescue Co-ordination Centre. Statistics and incidents specific to the area of operation and local resources are used to provide a workshop environment for attendees.

This training is provided on a request basis and is delivered onsite.

Canadian Coast Guard - Pacific Region
SAR Training Officer
25 Huron Street
Victoria, BC
V8V 4V9

Telephone: 250-480-2740