Honouring the outstanding service of the organization’s volunteers and stations as recognized by their peers, the RCMSAR Board of Directors, and the Joint Rescue Coordination Centre. The annual Royal Canadian Marine Search and Rescue Volunteer Awards takes place Saturday, October 7.

Sooke, B.C. (October 7, 2023): For the Royal Canadian Marine Search and Rescue (RCMSAR), the last year can be described as extremely challenging yet hugely rewarding. In 2022, more than 952 RCMSAR volunteers safely executed 434 search and rescue missions and over 2,340 training exercises. The support and generosity of our partners and donors helped our volunteers selflessly dedicate thousands of hours collectively in pursuit of saving and assisting 430 lives on the water.

“Each year RCMSAR sets aside a day to formally recognize the significant accomplishments of individual members of our team,” says Bill Riggs, RCMSAR’s Chief Executive Officer. “It is also a time to reflect on the collective contribution of over 900 amazing volunteers who together put in over 60,000 hours of their own time to prepare and respond to marine emergencies. We all take great pride in the role our team plays in saving lives on the water.”

RCMSAR will be hosting a Volunteer Awards ceremony on October 7, as it is important that as an organization we acknowledge and celebrate the achievements of our crewmates. This year the organization proudly recognizes the following RCMSAR volunteers for their countless hours of outstanding service:

Volunteer of the Year

    • Will Schmalz – Station 37 Sooke

Canadian Coast Guard Auxiliary (CCGA) Administrative Excellence Medal

    • Ed Helm – RCMSAR Headquarters
    • Cliff Doherty – Station 106 Shuswap
    • Bruce Weicker – Station 106 Shuswap

CCGA Exemplary Service Medal

    • Justin Stephenson – Station Oak Bay & Station 35 Victoria

CCGA Leadership Medal

    • Jason King – Station 1 West Vancouver
    • Fred Cameron – Station 60 Comox
    • Christopher Beech – Station 60 Comox

CCGA Long Service Awards

35 Years of Service

    • Gordon Jones – Station 59 Deep Bay
    • Bruce Jones – Station 59 Deep Bay

30 Years of Service

    • Michael Janicki – Station 10 Richmond
    • Curt Hansen – Station 60 Comox

25 Years of Service

    • Peter Tabler – Station 39 Port Alberni
    • John Woodthorpe – Station 39 Port Alberni
    • James Nelson – Station 103 Vancouver
    • Robert Vickerstaff – Station 103 Vancouver
    • David Cook – Station 103 Vancouver

RCMSAR CEO Commendation

    • Dale Anaka – Station 8 Delta
    • Dave Harvey – Station 106 Shuswap
    • Pat Gau – Station 106 Shuswap
    • Allen Langworth – Station 106 Shuswap

RCMSAR Life Membership

    • Shawn Burchett – Station 2 North Vancouver
    • Tom McKeachie – Station 25 Gulf Islands

RCMSAR New Member Award

    • Heidi Specht – Station 4 Squamish

Joint Rescue Coordination Centre (JRCC) Top Missions

    • Station 2 North Vancouver: Locate and Assist Injured Hiker, April 23, 2022
    • Station 12 Halfmoon Bay: Missing Person Poise Island Rescue, February 13, 2023
    • Station 20 Salish Sea: Missing Person Bedwell Harbour, September 3, 2022

– ENDS –

 About Royal Canadian Marine Search and Rescue

The Royal Canadian Marine Search and Rescue (RCMSAR) is a volunteer-based charitable organization that operates more than 30 marine rescue stations along the coast of British Columbia and inland waters. With over 900 volunteers, emergency response crews are on-call 24 hours a day, seven days a week ready to respond to marine emergencies. RCMSAR volunteers also prevent emergencies by providing the public boating safety information, conduct pleasure craft safety checks, and provide free access to children’s lifejackets at PFD loaner stations located at many docks and marinas in the communities that they serve through the Kids Don’t Float program. RCMSAR’s mission is “Saving lives on the water”.

Established in 1978 originally under the name the Canadian Coast Guard Auxiliary–Pacific, RCMSAR is called on to respond to marine emergencies by the Joint Rescue Coordination Centre in British Columbia through an agreement with the Canadian Coast Guard.

To arrange an interview with a volunteer at a local RCMSAR in your community, contact:

Bill Riggs
Chief Executive Officer
Royal Canadian Marine Search and Rescue
Emails: |
1-800-665-4757 ext. 104

Download media release: RCMSAR Volunteers Honoured at Annual Awards Ceremony 2023