Shuswap’s water rescue crew preparing for frigid temperatures

Shuswap’s water rescue crew preparing for frigid temperatures

New training follows Dec. 9 mission to help a man suffering health problems at remote cabin

A December callout prompted the Shuswap’s on-water rescue organization to train more in frigid temperatures.

On Dec. 9, the Royal Canadian Marine Search and Rescue Station #106 rescue boat was called upon to help paramedics render aid to a man at a cabin on the east shore of Seymour Arm. The cabin had no road access and one of the residents was having health issues, so the rescue boat had to ferry paramedics to the cabin and help get the elderly patient back to Sicamous.

RCMSAR station chief Fred Banham said the journey to Seymour Arm takes about an hour each way in the rescue boat.

Read More: AIM Roads responds to abuse of staff, public frustrations in Okanagan-Shuswap

Read More: Lead in drinking water not meeting federal standards at North Okanagan-Shuswap schools

Following the cold water response, the RCMSAR station doubled down on training with the gear necessary for staying safe on the deck of the fast-moving rescue boat and possibly staying alive if they have to fall into the freezing waters of Shuswap Lake in the winter. Banham said that discussion of cold water immersion is a part of the station’s annual training.

At the centre of the cold-water training are two types of suits. The rescue boat is equipped with dry suits, which are like the ones used by cold-water scuba divers. When paired with warm clothing underneath, they can keep a person warm and dry in the frigid lake water. Also at the RCMSAR volunteers’ disposal are immersion suits, which are bulkier than the dry suits and are also buoyant without the use of an additional lifejacket.

Banham said immersion suits are a common piece of safety gear on fishing vessels and are used by RCMSAR members who have to perform tasks on the deck outside their vessel’s well-heated cabins.

Read More: Former Salmon Arm residents head to Mars habitat for brain research

Read More: Salmon Arm mayor willing to invite Prince Harry and Meghan Markle to the Shuswap

Also, the suits would be donned in the event the boat hit a deadhead log or other submerged object, so the crew is ready should the vessel sink.

The RCMSAR crew have already done some indoor practice with the suits, and plan to get out on their boats in early February so they can experience the shock of the icy water and the suits’ functions firsthand.

The Dec. 9 callout was the last of 2019 for RCMSAR Station #106. The station tallied 19 missions for the year, much less than the annual average of 32, and a fraction of their busiest year in 2013 which saw them respond to 51 calls.

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

The Canadian Mental Health Association Shuswap Revelstoke’s homeless outreach coordinator Carly Shipmaker and practicum student Sarena Bryden take a turn on Thursday, May 6 on the stationary bike. They were cycling under the blue sun canopy outside the CMHA thrift shop to promote Mental Health Week and to prepare for this year’s Ride Don’t Hide event in June. (Martha Wickett-Salmon Arm Observer)
Getting the wheels turning for Salmon Arm’s Ride Don’t Hide event

Canadian Mental Health Association awareness and fundraising campaign to run throughout June

Pharmacist Barbara Violo arranges all the empty vials of the Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccines that she has provided to customers at the Junction Chemist which is an independent pharmacy during the COVID-19 pandemic in Toronto, on Monday, April 19, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
B.C.’s 1st vaccine-induced blood clot case detected in Interior Health

Interior Health also recorded 52 new cases of COVID-19

Interior Health provided updated data breaking down the vaccine administration totals in communities throughout the region on Monday, May 3, 2021. (File photo)
Nearly 40% of Shuswap adults vaccinated

More than 12,000 people in the Salmon Arm health area received their first COVID-19 vaccine

Ian Syme gets ready to swing the bat during skills training and picture day for Salmon Arm Minor Baseball 6U players at the Hillcrest Elementary field on Wednesday, May 5, 2021. (Lachlan Labere-Salmon Arm Observer)
Young Salmon Arm ballplayers in training

Salmon Arm Minor Baseball Association seeking sponsorships for batting cage

The monthly totals from Jan.1, 2020 to April 30, 2021 show COVID-19 cases for most Local Health Areas in the North Okanagan-Shuswap, other than Vernon’s with the largest population, staying well below 400. (BC Centre for Disease Control image)
16 months in, COVID cases in North Okanagan-Shuswap areas stay under 1,000

Vernon, with the largest population, hovers under 900 cases since January 2020

Protesters attempt to stop clear-cutting of old-growth trees in Fairy Creek near Port Renfrew. (Will O’Connell photo)
VIDEO: Workers, activists clash at site of Vancouver Island logging operation

Forest license holders asking for independent investigation into incident

The Primary Urgent Care Centre on Martin Street officially opened on March 31, 2021. (Brennan Phillips)
Okanagan-Similkameen Regional Hospital District reverses funding decision on care centre

Approval now granted to fund $1 million for Urgent and Primary Care Centre in Penticton

Motorists breaking travel rules can be fined $230 for failing to follow instructions or $575 if the reason for travel violates the essential travel health order, at this Highway 3 check area near Manning Park. Photo RCMP
RCMP begin checking drivers on BC highways

Four check points are set up Thursday May 6 around the province

Starting Tuesday, May 11, B.C. adults born in 1981 and earlier will be able to register for a vaccine dose. (Haley Ritchie/Black Press Media)
BC adults 40+ eligible to book COVID-19 vaccinations next week

Starting Tuesday, people born in 1981 and earlier will be able to schedule their inoculation against the virus

Kelowna City Hall. (Michael Rodriguez - Capital News)
New temporary outdoor shelter in Kelowna opens

The new area on Richter Street and Weddell Place replaces the Baillie Avenue site

Parks Canada and Tla-o-qui-aht Tribal Parks dig the washed up Princess M out from sand along the south shore of the Pacific Rim National Park Reserve. (Nora O’Malley photo)
Rescue attempt costs man his boat off Pacific Rim National Park Reserve

Coast Guard response questioned after volunteer responder’s speedboat capsizes in heavy swells

Al Kowalko shows off the province’s first electric school bus, running kids to three elementary and two secondary schools on the West Shore. (Zoe Ducklow/News Staff)
B.C.’s first electric school bus making the rounds in Victoria suburbs

No emissions, no fuel costs and less maintenance will offset the $750K upfront expense

Road sign on Highway 1 west of Hope warns drivers of COVID-19 essential travel road checks on the highways into the B.C. Interior. (Jessica Peters/Chilliwack Progress)
B.C. residents want travel checks at Alberta border, MLA says

Police road checks in place at highways out of Vancouver area

Victoria police say the photo they circulated of an alleged cat thief was actually a woman taking her own cat to the vet. (Black Press Media File Photo)
Photo of suspected cat thief released by Victoria police actually just woman with her pet

Police learned the she didn’t steal Penelope the cat, and was actually taking her cat to the vet

Most Read