Station #2 – North Vancouver
Since its inception in 1987, Station 2 (North Vancouver) has operated vessels funded by the North Shore Lifeboat Society. Based out of the Lynnwood Marina, our station has seen a number of different platforms over the years from a Hourston Glasscraft in the 80’s, to a Boston Whaler from the mid 90’s and a Lifetimer up until April of 2012.
In 2004, the North Shore Lifeboat Boat Society set in motion a plan to replace their aging lifeboats. ‘RCM-SAR 2’, in service since 1987, had served the Station well but was showing the usual signs of age and use. Craig Rea, a very enthusiastic Station 1 member and director of the NSLS, made it his mission to make this happen. He and a project team drew up a list of vessel specifications and mission requirements and began to work on the project.
They searched to find a suitable ‘off-the-shelf’ replacement boat that was appropriate for their specialized needs and affordable. They were unable to find a suitable boat so they decided to custom design a purpose-built boat. In 2006 they engaged the services of a local naval architect to design that lifeboat. They wanted a boat, to specifically suit RCM-SAR search and rescue activities, with an enclosed cabin, twin diesel power and jet propulsion at a cost of $500,000. When Craig presented their ideas there were many members who felt that raising $1 million to build 2 new boats was a very lofty if not impossible goal.
During this time, the RCM-SAR Executive was in the process of standardizing the training and the vessels to be used by the RCM-SAR to meet the increasing demands of West Coast search and rescue. Building on the hard work by Craig and his team, the RCM-SAR decided to adopt and refine the preliminary design. The result was a new standardized vessel design suitable for any Station on the coast. RCM-SAR then tendered the new Falkins’ class for construction, with several stations lining up to purchase them. It took a couple of years and a lot of patience to complete the process and get construction underway.
Station 2 took ownership of the latest Falkins class lifeboat on February 4 th , 2012. Crews from both Stations are ecstatic at the quality of the boat construction, the superior performance and the improved safety for the crews and those who’ve been rescued. Training the crews has taken many extra hours (20 to 25 per member) on the boats but they’ve embraced it with a great deal of enthusiasm. The arrival of both boats on the north shore has brought a renewed interest in the stations and a huge sense of pride in what has been accomplished over the past 8 years.
Due to the support from the RCM-SAR region, and the North Shore Lifeboat Society Station 2 were able to donate their old Auxiliary 2 vessel to the new Station in Sicamous. The boat was pulled from service on March 30th, given a refit and delivered to an enthusiastic reception at its new home on Shuswap Lake on April 18 th.
Craig Rea passed away before he was able to see the results of his vision and his passion and in tribute the Station 1 boat is named “Craig Rea Spirit.”