Canadian Coast Guard breaks ground on permanent search and rescue station in Victoria

John Sartisohn, officer in charge of the Victoria Coast Guard search and rescue, shows the navigation tools and radio inside the station’s 47-foot motor lifeboat. The SAR team, launched under a year ago, will now have a permanent station at the Canadian Coast Guard base on Dallas Road and will be hiring over 100 new team members. (Nina Grossman/News Staff)John Sartisohn, officer in charge of the Victoria Coast Guard search and rescue, shows the navigation tools and radio inside the station’s 47-foot motor lifeboat. The SAR team, launched under a year ago, will now have a permanent station at the Canadian Coast Guard base on Dallas Road and will be hiring over 100 new team members. (Nina Grossman/News Staff)
Transport Minister Marc Garneau announces the start of construction on a new Canadian Coast Guard search and rescue station. The station will have living quarters and office and meeting spaces. (Nina Grossman/News Staff)Transport Minister Marc Garneau announces the start of construction on a new Canadian Coast Guard search and rescue station. The station will have living quarters and office and meeting spaces. (Nina Grossman/News Staff)
The 47-foot motor-powered lifeboat ‘Cape Calvert’ is part of the search and rescue team’s fleet.The 47-foot motor-powered lifeboat ‘Cape Calvert’ is part of the search and rescue team’s fleet.
Member of the Canadian Coast Guard’s rescue team join Transport Minister Marc Garneau in breaking ground on a new search and rescue station at the base on Dallas Road. (Nina Grossman/News Staff)Member of the Canadian Coast Guard’s rescue team join Transport Minister Marc Garneau in breaking ground on a new search and rescue station at the base on Dallas Road. (Nina Grossman/News Staff)
Clay Evans, Superintendent of Maritime Search and Rescue for the Canadian Coast Guard, says the search and rescue station is much needed in Victoria, where waters are vast and often rough. (Nina Grossman/News Staff)Clay Evans, Superintendent of Maritime Search and Rescue for the Canadian Coast Guard, says the search and rescue station is much needed in Victoria, where waters are vast and often rough. (Nina Grossman/News Staff)

Waters around Victoria will soon be safer thanks to the upcoming construction of a new, permanent Canadian Coast Guard search and rescue (SAR) station at the base on Dallas Road.

Minister of transport Marc Garneau was in James Bay on Wednesday afternoon to break ground on the project alongside members of the Coast Guard’s rescue team.

“This search and rescue station will be staffed with highly-trained crews, available to respond to all maritime incidents in the Victoria harbour and the Eastern and Central parts of the Juan de Fuca Strait,” Garneau said.

The Canadian Coast Guard opened a search and rescue station in Victoria last summer, but the operation has been run out of a temporary location. The new, permanent station will include office and meeting spaces as well as living quarters.

The investment also brings with it about 200 new jobs – 80 of which have already been filled.

READ ALSO: Canadian Coast Guard opens new search and rescue station in Victoria

With Victoria’s Coast Guard base a focal point for Western Canada, Clay Evans, Superintendent of Maritime Search and Rescue for the Canadian Coast Guard, says people might be surprised to learn the base only recently acquired its own search and rescue resources.

“I think there has been an assumption for decades that this Coast Guard base…had some kind of dedicated search and rescue capabilities,” Evans said. “Well it never really did.”

For over three decades, Greater Victoria mariners have relied heavily on the volunteers of the Royal Canadian Marine Search and Rescue (RCMSAR), which continues to operate out of bases in Sidney, Oak Bay, Victoria and Sooke, and has responded to thousands of SAR incidents over the last ten years.

The new, dedicated SAR team at the Canadian Coast Guard will continue partnering with RCMSAR, the Royal Canadian Navy and local first responders to keep the region’s waters safe.

Evans said a number of SAR needs analyses dating back to 1992, found the region was in need of a 24/7 dedicated search and rescue team because of the tidal currents and rough seas in the region.

But it took over two decades to obtain.

“Of course with the Oceans Protection Plan, obviously the Coast Guard is getting an infusion of cash for the first time in 30 years,” he said.

Less than a year ago the team acquired its first SAR boat, a 47-foot motor vessel lifeboat equipped with inflatable life rafts and rescue tools. The team expects the station to take on about 120 to 130 calls a year in the region.

READ ALSO: Incredible free Coast Guard experience for women and girls

READ ALSO: Greater Victoria hosts 40 agencies in major search and rescue exercise



nina.grossman@blackpress.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Former Saanich councillor Dean Murdock hosts a live episode of his podcast on April 14 and tackleto tackle housing issues in the region. (Devon Bidal/News Staff)
Live episode of Saanich podcast focuses on region’s housing issues

Dean Murdock, panel of guests go live on Zoom for Amazing Places podcast April 14

Additional COVID-19 exposures have been reported at Arbutus Global Middle School and Mount Doug Secondary School. (Google Streetview)
Additional COVID-19 exposures reported at two Saanich schools

New dates of exposure added to Arbutus Global Middle School and Mount Doug Secondary School

A COVID-19 vaccine is administered to a recipient at a vaccination clinic. Peoples Pharmacy in Colwood is offering AstraZeneca vaccines for Greater Victoria residents from April 12 to 18. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward)
AstraZeneca vaccinations continue at Colwood pharmacy

Vaccines offered to people aged 55 to 65 from April 12 to 18

Photo collage of loved ones lost to substance use and overdose. (Photo courtesy Moms Stop The Harm)
B.C. and Victoria’s overdose deaths still rising five years after public health emergency declared

Moms Stop the Harm calls on B.C. to provide safe supply in response to deadly illicit drug use

Jacques Sirois of the Community Association of Oak Bay works to remove decades worth of English ivy from a stand of native Scouler’s Willows in the Kitty Islet end of McNeill Bay. (Black Press Media File Photo)
Jacques Sirois of the Community Association of Oak Bay works to remove decades worth of English ivy from a stand of native Scouler’s Willows in the Kitty islet end of McNeill Bay. (Black Press Media File Photo)
Oak Bay declares a decade of ecological restoration

The UN initiative aligns with what district is already doing, mayor says

Burnaby MLA Raj Chouhan presides as Speaker of the B.C. legislature, which opened it spring session April 12 with a speech from the throne. THE CANADIAN PRESS
B.C. NDP promises more health care spending, business support in 2021 budget

John Horgan government to ‘carefully return to balanced budgets’

Restaurant owners Oura and Kymon Giakoumakis visit the PQB News/VI Free Daily studio. (Peter McCully photo)
PODCAST: COVID-19 pandemic hits Island’s food service industry hard

Pair of Vancouver Island restaurant owners share thoughts and advice

A Nanaimo man will serve nine months in jail for the sexual assault of a young girl he admitted to having committed more than 40 years ago. (News Bulletin file photo)
Nanaimo man sentenced for sexually abusing girl more than 40 years ago

Man, now 71, gets nine-month sentence for abuse of friend’s daughter

Dr. Bonnie Henry gives her daily media briefing regarding Covid-19 for the province of British Columbia in Victoria, B.C, Monday, December 7, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
B.C. urges people to stay in their neighbourhoods, discourages out-of-household meet-ups

Dr. Bonnie Henry says there should be no travel, even to the next city over

Dr. E. Kwok administers a COVID-19 vaccine to a recipient at a vaccination clinic run by Vancouver Coastal Health, in Richmond, B.C., Saturday, April 10, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Most Canadians plan to get COVID-19 vaccine, but safety fears drive hesitancy: poll

This comes as confidence in governments is plummeting in provinces being hit hardest by the pandemic

Marathon of Hope runner Terry Fox is shown in a 1981. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/CP)
Terry Fox’s legacy of resilience resonates during COVID-19 crisis, says brother

Fred Fox said his brother’s legacy of resilience has taken on renewed resonance as COVID-19 rages on

A youth was arrested following a car crash on Wallace Street on Saturday, April 10. (Karl Yu/News Bulletin)
Onlookers laugh and jeer as B.C. teen beaten, then forced to strip and walk home

Police arrest older teen, call video shared on social media ‘disturbing’

A lady wears a sticker given out after receiving a COVID-19 vaccine at a clinic in Richmond, B.C., Saturday, April 10, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS
B.C.’s COVID-19 case count slows after last week’s peak

3,219 new cases since Friday, 18 additional deaths

North Cowichan councillor Tek Manhas did not violate the municipality’s code of conduct by posting a sexist meme on Facebook, council concludes. (File photo)
B.C. municipality to take no action against councillor who posted sexist meme

Tek Manhas’s meme doesn’t violate North Cowichan council’s code of conduct, municipality concludes

Most Read