PEI

Call if you need us, Inshore Rescue Boat Service urges Islanders

The Canadian Coast Guard's Inshore Rescue Boat Service is back in harbours around the country — including around Charlottetown — and is urging Islanders to call if and when they have an emergency on the water.

Inshore Rescue Boat Service back in Charlottetown waters for the summer

The biggest challenge the Canadian Coast Guard Inshore Rescue Boat Program faces is making sure people are aware that they are available. (John Robertson/CBC)

The Canadian Coast Guard's Inshore Rescue Boat Service is back in harbours around the country — including around Charlottetown — and is urging Islanders to call if and when they have an emergency on the water.

Isaac Longard, a maritime search and rescue preparedness officer with the Coast Guard, said the vessels are very good for rapid response and can operate in a variety of sea states.

"In any search and rescue case, especially if people's lives are directly in danger, for example, for somebody being in the water, timing is definitely important," he said.

Summer program

The program started in the 1970s for two main reasons — to provide meaningful summer employment for students, and to help keep Canadian harbours safe during the busy summer months.

"For incidents like people in the water, where it's cold, we need someone to get to them as soon as possible and that is why we have a super fast boat," said Remie Mill, who is in her second year of participating in the program.

There are more than 150 post-secondary students hired to work for the inshore rescue boat program. (John Robertson/CBC)

It has now expanded to 26 different stations in three regions, including a new station in Rankin Inlet, Nunavut.

Crews often work with two different styles of rigid hulled inflatable zodiacs, between six and eight meters in length.

The crew is available 24 hours a day if there is anyone in trouble on the water. (John Robertson/CBC)

The program employs more than 150 students over the summer months, when pleasure craft traffic is at its peak.​

People in distress can contact the Joint Rescue Coordination Centre, located in Halifax, at 1-800-565-1582.

More P.E.I. news