Dhaliwal Announces Two New Search And Rescue Lifeboat Stations Selected For British Columbia

Vancouver, BC Â- The Honourable Herb Dhaliwal, Minister of Fisheries and Oceans and MP for Vancouver South-Burnaby, announced today that the Canadian Coast Guard will establish two new search and rescue (SAR) lifeboat stations in the communities of Shearwater on the central coast and Sandspit on Queen Charlotte Islands for the north coast area of British Columbia.

“I am pleased to announce these new search and rescue lifeboat stations. This is proof that the Government of Canada takes very seriously its commitment to search and rescue services in British Columbia,” said Minister Dhaliwal. “In addition, a total of 16 crew positions will be created in the communities. This is good news for Shearwater and Sandspit and for the province.”

The locations of the stations were determined in a rigorous seven-step site selection process that involved, among other things, a study of current search and rescue coverage and marine activity in the area. After a thorough review, Coast Guard officials determined that lifeboat stations in Shearwater and Sandspit will ensure effective search and rescue coverage for these areas of coastal BC.

Traditionally, year-round SAR coverage has been provided for these areas by a large vessel, supported by a lifeboat from Port Hardy for the central coast, and a cutter from Prince Rupert for the north coast. Starting in mid-2003, mariners will benefit from two new 14.7 meter self-righting, high-speed, “Cape Class” lifeboats, built to the same design as the lifeboats now located at Port Hardy, Bamfield and Tofino, on Vancouver Island.

Two crews of four will work on each lifeboat. To ensure 24 hours, seven days a week availability, each crew will consist of two officers and two seamen and will work in two week rotating shifts.

The new station at Shearwater will also be home to the department’s Conservation and Protection Branch staff, who will be relocating from their current quarters, offering a single location for Fisheries and Oceans Canada services to the local community.

The SAR initiative was announced in July 2000, when Minister Dhaliwal affirmed $115.5 million in new funding for CanadaÂ’s Maritime SAR Program to respond more effectively to distress incidents. This includes the establishment of eight new lifeboats and lifeboat stations across Canada.

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For more information contact:

Heather Bala
Director of Communications
Office of the Minister
Fisheries and Oceans Canada, Ottawa
T: (613) 996-0076
Micheline Brodeur
Communications Officer
Fisheries and Oceans Canada
Pacific Region
T: (604) 775-8809

BG-PR-01-024E – DEC. 12, 2001