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

Work begins on new Sooke library

VIRL hopes to have ‘shovels in the ground’ this spring

UPDATED: Emergency crews rescue pregnant woman from Mount Finlayson

Emergency crews from Langford and Metchosin responding

EMCS senior boys basketball team loses to end season

Wolverines lose 71-51 against Stelly’s Secondary

Victoria police pay special attention to domestic violence

Workshop for officers and others shows how domestic abuse trauma impacts for a long time

A work of art for real estate golden anniversary

Three generations of Zieglers and 50 years of real estate

How to keep local news visible in your Facebook feed

Facebook has changed the news feed to emphasize personal connections. You might see less news.

Lottery will help save children’s lives

Each ticket gets you a chance to win a lot of money, while helping a lot of kids

B.C. RCMP officer officially cleared in car wash shooting incident

A report found the Salmon Arm officer fired 14 bullets at the man’s truck

Wounded Warrior Run stops in Port McNeill

For Jacqueline Zweng, the Wounded Warrior Run is a personal matter.

Interest in Canadian Armed Forces remains high

Canada seeks about 5,000 recruits each year for its regular forces of about 68,000

Rules reviewed to keep drug money out of B.C. real estate

Investigator looking at loans as well as casinos, David Eby says

Tahsis mayor Jude Schooner succumbs to sudden heart attack

Flags are flying at half mast in the Village of Tahsis after… Continue reading

VIDEO: B.C. deer caught obeying traffic signs

A herd of deer in Fernie, B.C. is getting attention online after stopping for a stop sign

Most Read