Canadian Coast Guard opens search and rescue station in Victoria
A new Canadian Coast Guard search and rescue station was opened earlier this summer in Victoria, B.C. The details of two new Coast Guard lifeboats that will be stationed on the West Coast were also discussed by Terry Beech, parliamentary secretary to the Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard.
The new Victoria station is in service now and “enhances the Coast Guard’s marine search and rescue capacity around Victoria and in the eastern and central Strait of Juan de Fuca,” according to the government. Studies on how to best improve marine search and rescue across Canada identified the eastern and central Strait of Juan de Fuca as an area that would benefit from increased capacity.
“It builds on the Coast Guard’s longstanding partnerships with volunteer organizations like the Royal Canadian Marine Search and Rescue, as well as with the Royal Canadian Navy and local first responders, to improve the marine safety system in the region.”
The Victoria station will be home to a 14.7-metre Canadian Coast Guard lifeboat and a Rigid Hull Inflatable Boat, and is located at the Victoria Canadian Coast Guard Base in James Bay. It will operate 24-hours-a-day.
The Canadian Coast Guard is opening four new search and rescue stations in B.C. as part of the Government of Canada’s $1.5-billion Oceans Protection Plan, which aims to improve marine safety, protect Canada’s marine environment and coastal communities, and support economic growth. The other B.C. stations will be located in the areas of Hartley Bay, Nootka Sound and Port Renfrew. Three other new stations will be opened in Newfoundland and Labrador.
Beech also announced the Coast Guard will deploy two new search and rescue lifeboats in British Columbia in 2019. The CCGS McIntyre Bay will be stationed at Prince Rupert, and the CCGS Pachena Bay will serve the Port Hardy area as an interim measure. These vessels will able to operate up to 100 nautical miles from shore.
The CCGS McIntyre Bay and CCGS Pachena Bay are among 12 new lifeboats being built under the Federal Infrastructure Initiative and the Fleet Renewal Plan. Chantier Naval Forillon of Gaspé, Que., and Hike Metal Products of Wheatley, Ont., won contracts in July 2015 to build the new lifeboats, which are part of a new class of vessel that are being named after bays in Canada.
The Canadian Coast Guard is supported by the Canadian Coast Guard Auxiliary, a network of 4,000 volunteers across Canada. A new chapter of the Coast Guard Auxiliary will be created in B.C. to support Indigenous communities.