Members of the Masset Marine Rescue tow a fishing vessel that broke down in northern Haida Gwaii waters. While the volunteer unit was formerly part of the Coast Guard Auxiliary, they are now among the 40 B.C. volunteer marine SAR units that get training and administrative support from the Royal Canadian Marine SAR. Across Canada, RCM-SAR is tasked with about a third of rescue calls, and while it retains some support from the Coast Guard it relies mainly on donations. (File Photo)

Support your marine search and rescue

An essential community service shouldn’t have to beg for money.

Just recently, the Sooke District approved $2,500 (albeit with a bit of reticence) to help the local Royal Canadian Marine Search and Rescue unit stay afloat.

Pun intended, but it’s not so funny when you look at how they manage that. Just to pay for the gas in their boats, the organization, run entirely by volunteers, has to host bottle drives, beer and burger nights and silent auctions, among other tiny avenues of finding revenue.

No doubt, the Sooke community stepped up, every single time, which is fantastic. However, doesn’t it seem wrong for an essential service, one that people’s lives depend on, to have to constantly go begging for money? What if the Sooke Fire Department (mostly volunteers too, by the way) was funded the same way, and they’d have to do fundraisers to pay for the fuel in their firetrucks? We’d be livid!

The issue sadly goes beyond Sooke, as we’ve seen numerous cuts by the provincial and federal government to search and rescue as well as coast guard operations all across B.C. Entire divisions were closed down overnight without a peep, while others were left to scavenge and make do with what they got; some even resorting to using their own boats for search and rescue missions.

Regardless of how you look at it, that’s embarrassing and discouraging to the men and women who go out there and risk their lives on their own time and dime to save others. The age-old argument that marine search and rescue doesn’t do enough to justify more moneys falls flat when you look at recent marine tragedies in Tofino and around the Island; better yet, consider rescue situations right here in our own waters where if it weren’t for RCM-SAR, a life (or lives) or vessel may have been lost to David Jones’ locker.

These dedicated volunteers are serious about what they do, so it’s time we take their services far more seriously. After all, when we are out there on the water and we’re in trouble, we’d rather see a light and a voice coming through that thick fog instead of the still darkness calling us to the depths.

Just Posted

Santa’s Light parade glides through town on Saturday

Vancouver Island’s most popular Christmas parade is back for its 36th year

VIDEO: Innovating healthier homes

NZ Builders bring commercial concept into residential realm to improve energy efficiency and health

West Shore RCMP catch thieves in the act in Colwood

Thieves were trying to steal a utility trailer from the driveway of a home

FISHING ADVENTURES: Winter fishing starts to pick up

Crabbing in Sooke Harbour continues to be good with large male Dungeness around

Sooke girls volleyball squad places seventh at Island tourney

Dawn Gibson Sooke News Mirror The EMCS senior girls volleyball team made… Continue reading

VIDEO: Innovating healthier homes

NZ Builders bring commercial concept into residential realm to improve energy efficiency and health

Wet weather expected for much of coastal B.C.

The Weather Network is calling for up to 200mm of rain to fall in some areas of the South Coast and Vancouver Island

B.C. reporter reflects on covering Charles Manson

Charles Manson, leader of a murderous cult, died on Sunday at 83

Running back propels Spectrum Thunder into first Subway Bowl final

Brandon Robbins scores hat trick of touchdowns

ICBC overbilling for crash repairs not the problem, dealers say

Collision repair shops reject union claim of inflated costs

B.C. groups to address child sex abuse in sports

viaSport is organizing a full day of education in association with Canadian Centre for Child Protection and the Coaching Association of Canada.

Report sets exercise guidelines for young kids, including ‘tummy time’ for babies

Kids aged one to four should get at least three hours of physical activity throughout the day

Stampeders return to Grey Cup with 32-28 win over Edmonton Eskimos

The Stampeders will face the Toronto Argonauts next Sunday in Ottawa for the title

Nebraska approves TransCanada’s Keystone XL pipeline

Nebraska’s Public Service Commission approved TransCanada’s Keystone XL route in a close vote

Most Read