Wanted: Inuit students to staff Canada's 1st Arctic rescue boat station

The location has yet to be announced, but the Coast Guard is launching information sessions in Cambridge Bay tonight seeking Inuit and Inuvialuit students to work the first rescue boat station in the Arctic.

Information session planned for tonight in Cambridge Bay

Inshore rescue boat crews on the Great Lakes. The first Arctic rescue boat station will include a similar vessel. (Fisheries and Oceans Canada/Canadian Coast Guard)

The first Coast Guard rescue boat station in the Arctic is set to open in June of 2018.

While the location has yet to be announced, the Coast Guard is holding an information session Tuesday evening in Cambridge Bay, Nunavut, to try to hire and train eight Inuit or Inuvialuit students to work there.

Peter Garapick, the superintendent of Arctic search and rescue development. (Submitted by the Coast Guard)
Peter Garapick, the superintendent of Arctic search and rescue development, says the inshore rescue boat station will mean faster search and rescue responses for marine emergencies.

"The first phone call from somebody needing help, the crew can get on the boat and respond," Garapick said.

The new station is part of the Oceans Protection Plan announced by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in November of 2016.

It will include a boat that resembles a large Zodiac with a cabin. The team — six crew members with two backups — will be able to coordinate directly with the joint rescue centre, with aircraft and other ships.

Right now, rescue resources are generally based in the South, with some people waiting hours or days for a one of seven icebreakers to reach them.

Southern Canada has about 25 inshore rescue boat stations that operate seasonally. Each consist of three crew members.

Students only

Candidates for the job can be any age but must be enrolled in a post-secondary institution. The students would work from May 1 to Labour Day, on two-week rotations. The job begins with two weeks of intensive training, all of which is paid.

"The key element is training," Garapick said. "They are trained to do the job, they practice it everyday, they are exercising. When the bell goes, they are available to leave the shore and respond."

The information session starts at 6:30 p.m. at the Canadian High Arctic Research Station.

Recruiters will also make stops in Inuvik and several Nunavut communities.

The Coast Guard said it was still assessing which community the station will be based in. 

With files from Kate Kyle