With summer officially here the Canadian Coast Guard’s Inshore Rescue Boat crew at Port Lambton is ready for another busy summer of helping people on the water.
The crew members of the Inshore Rescue Boat (IRB) station at Port Lambton are post-secondary students. The IRB program is part of Canada’s Federal Student Work Experience Program (FSWEP).
The Coast Guard often teams up with area first responders to hone search and rescue skills and strengthen partnerships. The crew’s recent activities have included a towing and equipment familiarization session with the Lambton OPP Marine Unit, a meeting with the Canadian Coast Guard’s Marine Communications and Traffic Services Officers at MCTS Sarnia, and a hoisting exercise involving a rescue helicopter from the United States Coast Guard.
While their number one safety recommendation is to have and wear approved, personal floatation devices or lifejackets, the crew has additional important tips to help you stay safe on the water.
“One of the most important things you can do as a boater is to familiarize yourself with the ‘rules of the road,” notes crew member Katie VanRooyen. “The Collision Regulations are really important to know, especially on the St. Clair River as you are operating in a shipping channel. You can easily access the Collision Regulations online.”
VanRooyen also points to the need to have all safety equipment required for a vessel.
“The Small Vessel Regulations, which can also be found online, outline the necessary equipment for each vessel based on the length of your craft.”
Important marine information, such as weather and Notices to Shipping are broadcast on the Coast Guard’s Continuous Marine Broadcast, which can be monitored on VHF radio channels 21B and 83B in the Sarnia Area. For any marine assistance, contact the nearest Coast Guard Marine Communications and Traffic Services Centre on VHF channel 16. *16 on your cell phone is another option although depending solely on mobile phones can be problematic if there is no signal or the battery runs out.
PICTURED: On June 19 the Inshore Rescue Boat crew from Port Lambton teamed up with the United States Coast Guard Air Station Detroit for a hoisting exercise on the St Clair River. The Canadian and United States Coast Guards are frequently tasked together to respond to emergencies on this busy, shared binational waterway. In the Coast Guard boat are crew members Katie VanRooyen, Sandra Dusolt and James Hare (coxswain). Photos courtesy of USCG Air Station Detroit.
As part of their summer’s work, the inshore rescue boat crews also offer Pleasure Craft Courtesy Checks. These voluntary checks consist of crew members walking through the craft with the vessel owner and inspecting the safety equipment aboard the boat. A sticker of Canadian Coast Guard approval is awarded to those meeting the Small Vessel requirements. The Coast Guard encourages boaters to take advantage of this courtesy check.