The coast guard is coming to the Shuswap this summer.
Shuswap Emergency Program co-ordinator Cliff Doherty confirms that a new rescue boat is expected to arrive in April or May. This will be operated by the first freshwater crew of the Canadian Coast Guard Auxiliary, whose members have been training steadily now since November.
The boat and crew will be stationed in Sicamous. Jerry Silva, who heads the Shuswap Lifeboat Society, says a berth and a storage facility have already been procured, and that heads of the BC Emergency Program, the Canadian Coast Guard Auxiliary, BC Ambulance and the Lifeboat Society directors are working on establishing the dispatch procedure for on-water calls, and how emergency responses will be funded.
Classroom training, says Silva, remains ongoing, scheduled every two weeks at the Sicamous fire hall. Usually about 12 to 15 enthusiastic students attend.
“Some people are so eager they are volunteering, at their own cost, to go to Vancouver to train/familiarize themselves on our boat…,” says Silva, referring to the actual boat that’s coming to the Shuwap. It’s expected a coast guard training vessel will also be assigned to Sicamous until the new boat arrives.
Silva says everyone who will be crew on the new vessel should be attending the training sessions, which run on the following dates: Feb. 8, 22; March 7, 21; April 4, 18; and May 2, 16 and 30th.