The Tolonen will be setting sail for the Shuswap where it will be stationed with Royal Canadian Marine Search and Rescue Shuswap Station 106 in Sicamous for operations on Shuswap and Mara lakes. File photo

Marine rescue fleet expands

Tolonen to launch in Shuswap this weekend at Sicamous.

The Shuswap’s on-water emergency response agency continues to grow with the arrival of the rescue vessel Tolonen.

Royal Canadian Marine Search and Rescue Shuswap Station 106 expects to receive the Tolonen on Wednesday, Aug. 2, and will have it on display in Sicamous on Saturday, Aug. 5, for the community’s Sun and Sand Parade and community barbecue.

“Station 106 Shuswap of the Royal Canadian Marine Search and Rescue has been working over the last two years to add a second vessel to it’s Sicamous-based Marine Search and Rescue Operations. We are pleased to announce that this is now a reality,” says RCMSAR Shuswap Station 106 station leader Rob Sutherland.

The Tolonen is a 2007 40-foot Titan rigid hull inflatable. It is being transferred to the Shuswap from RCM SAR Station 103 in Victoria. Prior to arriving in the Shuswap, the vessel is undergoing a retrofit so as to extend its lifespan by at least another 10 years. Sutherland said the new-to-the-Shuswap boat will be Station 106’s main asset for search and rescue operations on Shuswap and Mara lakes.

“Once in Sicamous, the refit will continue with local resources outfitting the interior to accommodate medical and accident victims, enhanced storage for medical supplies and other smaller modifications,” said Sutherland. “Crew training will continue throughout the summer and should become operational later in the year.”

Tolonen will join Shuswap Station’s current fleet, which includes Shuswap Guardian One and Shuswap Rescue One. A recent addition expected to go into service this month, Shuswap Guardian One, a 1989 19-foot Boston Whaler, will be used to encourage boating safety and pleasure craft courtesy checks, all to raise awareness. Shuswap Rescue One, a 1989 29-foot Lifetimer, has been Station 106’s main rescue boat, serving Mara and Shuswap lakes since the group became operational in 2012.

The Tolonen, will be part Saturday’s parade in Sicamous at 11 a.m. Between 12:30 and 3 p.m. it will be on display at the community barbecue, with Station 106 volunteers on hand to provide information. At approximately 3:30, the boat will be launched into the Shuswap at the Old Town Bay boat ramp, paraded past Silver Sands Beach and through Sicamous Channel, then docked at the Main Street boat ramp.

lachlan@saobserver.net