Juan de Fuca Marine Search and Rescue are looking for volunteer crew members who are team players, a willingness to learn and understanding that each rescue isn’t going to be glamourous. (Steven Whitworth photo)

Sooke marine search and rescue cast their nets for volunteers

Non-profit looking for crew and society members

Search and rescue isn’t for the faint of heart – Ceara Mullin knows that from firsthand experience.

As the station leader for the Royal Canadian Marine Search and Rescue in Sooke, she’s seen some harrowing situations off the Vancouver Island coast.

In July, she attended a rescue where two men were stuck floating in the Juan de Fuca Strait on their small boat in the middle of the night. They were unprepared for a cold night shortly after they lost contact with the shore.

“It’s not all glamorous,” said Mullin, a volunteer for the past four years. “You get people in distress in the middle of the water from time to time, but you don’t come by those often.”

Mullin grew up loving to boat in Tofino and spent time as a whale-watching boat pilot and water taxi driver before moving to Sooke five years ago.

Mullin said the crew is often coiling ropes, cleaning the rescue boat or completing training courses between rescues, which occur two to three times a month on average.

The team has just over 20 crew members, but it’s looking to hook a few new volunteers.

Crew members must be over the age of 18 and commit at least one day a week of training up to a year and pass a physical and written test.

While first aid or marine experience is preferred, it isn’t necessary when you walk in the door.

“One of the most important things is that you work well in a team,” Mullin said. “People need to be on the same page because if they aren’t, it makes the rescues a lot tougher.”

The non-profit is always looking for society members who don’t end up going out on the water. They help with fundraisers and community outreach events.

Those interested can apply by emailing jdfmarine37@gmail.com.

READ MORE: B.C. search and rescue groups responded to 700 calls in first half of 2020


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