Station #20 – Pender Island
RCM-SAR Station 20 is located in Port Browning Harbour on Pender Island. The Port Browning station site provides efficient rescue coverage throughout the outer Gulf Islands and the Station has been tasked from East Point on Saturna Island in the south to Wallace Island up Trincomali Channel in the north. There have also been taskings well past the middle of Georgia Straits and west to Portland and Moresby Islands.
Pender has a diverse boating community with 4 marinas, including Poet’s Cove in Bedwell Harbour that attracts larger yachts. Due to its sheltered waters it is also a favourite of kayakers and divers. Pender is the home of a BC Ferry terminal and two float plane bases.
Station 20 was originally a part of Station 25 on Saltspring Island but became its own station in 2005. The Station’s first boat was a Titan 220 rigid hull inflatable called the Nu to Yu 2, the name being derived from the thrift shop on Pender that donated a significant portion of the funding for the vessel. The station out grew the vessel and with the help of the BC Gaming Commission a new Titan 249 XL Tee top complete with two 200 hp engines was purchased in 2008. Shortly thereafter a lift was purchased so the boat is stored out of the water. The Station has a small building to store members’ suits and other equipment. As there is no power on the dock the building is equipped with solar cell electrics for lighting, radio charging, boat charging and lift operation.
Pender Island has only 2200 full time residents but the station always attracts good qualified members and it currently has 4 active Cox’s and 9 SAR members who in rotation provide coverage 365 days a year. The Station is supported financially by the Salish Sea Marine Rescue Society that does all manner of fund raising on the Island.
The station commonly provides tasking support and trains with the Saltspring Island Canadian Coast Guard and has also participated in a number of training exercises and taskings with the hovercrafts stationed near the Vancouver Airport. The station also partners with the RCMP, Saltspring Ground SAR and other RCMSAR stations and has also participated in larger scale SAREX events Station 20 members are involved in a number of community events like the New Years Day Polar Bear Swim, the Lantern Festival, the Fall Fair and other similar events on Pender.