The Prince Rupert Port Authority (PRPA) participated in an event held May 17th to celebrate the completion of critical search and rescue equipment upgrades for the Lax Kw’alaams Rescue Society in which PRPA contributed $55,345 from its Community Investment Fund.
The Lax Kw’alaams Royal Canadian Marine Search and Rescue (RCM-SAR) station 65’s equipment was out of date and in need of frequent repair causing downtime for the search and rescue team. By upgrading the engines and electronic equipment, the Rescue Society will improve incident response time and accommodate more complex potential future rescues. The upgrade included the purchase and installation of radar and communication equipment, as well as general boat handling, emergency response equipment and forward-looking infrared search equipment.
“The Rescue Society’s key focus is to ensure that we’re ready to respond to any given situation that comes our way – this project helps us do that,” said James Henry Sr. of the Lax Kw’alaams Rescue Society. “We look forward to a continued relationship with the Port Authority to enhance safety preparedness in our waters.”
“It is our pleasure to partner with dedicated volunteer organizations like the Lax Kw’alaams Rescue Society to support vital community projects that contribute directly to marine safety,” said Shaun Stevenson, President and CEO of the Prince Rupert Port Authority. “We consider this an excellent example of how our organization can ensure that the Port’s success is shared through projects that enable long-term benefits for community members on the North Coast.”
The Lax Kw’alaams Rescue Society has 22 members and is one of 33 volunteer Royal Canadian Marine Search & Rescue organizations in British Columbia. These volunteer crews, made up of over 1000 people, are on call 24 hours a day year-round, ready to respond to marine search and rescue emergencies. The network of RCM-SAR stations on average respond to 800 rescues annually, and in 2018 RCM-SAR stations spent a total of 994 hours on search and rescue missions.
The Lax Kw’alaams Rescue Society’s RCM-SAR 65 works closely with the Prince Rupert and Gitxaala RCM-SAR stations and its jurisdiction goes as far north as Kincolith, approximately one hour away. In addition, RCM-SAR 65 receives calls for vessels in distress that are out in the open waters of Hecate Strait.