Sooke and Victoria’s Search and Rescue stations received an RCMSAR award for a deep water rescue in rough waters, a capsize that occurred in November, 2015. It was the Joint Rescue Coordination Center Victoria (JRCC) award, for one of three top RCM-SAR missions in the last 12 months, presented at their annual awards night.
“The award was presented by the Canadian Coast Guard to our station last Sunday Oct 2nd in Richmond at our RCM-SAR AGM,” said SAR Operations Manager Jason van der Valk. It was an award for the nine divers who attended an over-turned vessel off Race Rocks last November.
A summary of the rescue was read at the presentation:
Station Sooke & Station Victoria – Race Rocks Capsized. Nine people on a DND Dive boat capsized in four metre seas off Race Rocks. Their only means of communication was a small handheld radio. As the overturned boat sloshed around in the rough seas, eight divers clung to the boat while their boat driver, without a dry suit, hung onto the hull and attempted to radio for help.
RCMSAR #35 and #37 arrived on scene and commenced pulling survivors onboard their vessels. One hypothermic person required medical attention immediately and the two boats raced to Pedder Bay loaded with passengers.
This case highlighted the extreme weather conditions volunteers are faced with in life and death situations, and the advanced boat handling skills required to keep both their crew and their vessels safe while rescuing.
RCMSAR Station 37 (Sooke) posted the following on their Facebook page shortly after the event:
CBC covered the rescue, which you can read online.