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Shuswap volunteers save four lives, assist 29 others during 40 missions in four busy months

Royal Canadian Marine Search and Rescue Station 106 leader reflects on 2021

Four lives were saved and 40 missions served over a four month period in 2021 by members of Sicamous-based Royal Canadian Marine Search and Rescue Station 106.

Reflecting on the year, RCMSAR Station 106 leader Rob Sutherland said his crew of 21 volunteer members had the second highest mission total of RCMSAR teams in the province and the highest total volunteer hours (128.58) in Southern B.C.

Those hours and missions were served between the May and September long weekends. In addition to saving four lives, Station 106 members assisted 29 other people by providing first aid, along with BC Emergency Health Services paramedics, and getting them to a waiting ambulance.

Despite challenges and restrictions relating to the COVID-19 pandemic, Station 106 members were able to conduct 98 training exercises over the year (including one with members of the Royal Canadian Air Force), “totalling another 252 hours to ensure our skill level is at its peak throughout the year,” said Sutherland. Forty-eight classroom sessions were also held, totalling 139.75 hours to review and ensure Station 106 members are on the same page when it comes time to implementing procedures.

Read more: Royal Canadian Air Force squad trains with local search and rescue on Shuswap Lake

Read more: Shuswap’s marine rescue crew reaches milestone, prepares for summer

Another 1415.25 hours were spent on various activities, from vessel inspections and maintenance/repairs, to station administration, accident prevention, community awareness and more.

In addition, Station 106 members installed three more “Kids Don’t Float” kiosks, providing free loaner personal flotation devices for kids at beaches and on pleasure craft, bringing the total kiosks to 18 in the Shuswap.

Ten “Life Ring” stations were also installed in the Shuswap, one of which saved the life of a young boy about to drown at Silver Sands Beach the week after it was installed, Sutherland noted.

Another 4,694.12 person hours went to serving the Shuswap.

“So how could 21 volunteers have done all of this? Well really, it could not have been done without the continued support of the many businesses around the Shuswap and all of the private and public donations that we have received throughout the year,” said Sutherland. “With your support, there were 33 saved/assisted people who will have a Merry Xmas this year.”
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