After months of eagerly awaiting resources to respond to mariner emergencies, members of the Ka:'yu:'k't'h'/Che:k'tles7et'h' First Nation were excited to spot the new Search and Rescue vessel’s arrival on May 18.
Since 2021 Ka:'yu:'k't'h'/Che:k'tles7et'h' and the Coastal Nations Coast Guard Auxiliary (CNCCA) have been working together to get a SAR vessel in their community. In January construction began on the vessel in Sidney, B.C.
Elizabeth Jack, the Emergency Preparedness coordinator for Ka:'yu:'k't'h'/Che:k'tles7et'h', received photo updates of the boat throughout its construction, observing that, “it’s so awesome to see the shape of the boat coming out of sheet metal.”
“I think it’s a really good vessel to have considering how remote we are and due to lack of resources that we have in and around our community,” said Jack.
The closest coast guard station to Kyuquot is based in Tofino, said Jack. She estimates it would take four to seven hours, depending on weather, to respond in Kyuquot Sound.
“With us having this vessel in our community, we're there for all distress calls that are within the Kyuquot Sound,” said Jack.
Throughout the preparation period, a number of volunteers have been trained with Canadian Coast Guard’s Rigid Hull Inflatable Operator Training and Coxswain training level one, making them equipped to respond to emergencies.
Jack said that the team holds a diverse skill set important for emergencies on the water.
“In the event of an emergency, we’ll be there in probably less than an hour,” said Jack.
Only eight days after the arrival of their SAR vessel, would they be on the water responding to their first call when a locals’ boat broke down. Jack and her husband towed the broken-down boat back with the SAR vessel.
“I can’t believe it's here,” said Jack.