For Immediate Release May 20, 2022 – North American Safe Boating Awareness Week takes place from May 21 to May 27, 2022.

Safe Boating Awareness Week promotes safe and responsible boating practices in all communities across Canada. This awareness campaign is managed by the Canadian Safe Boating Council and its boat and water safety partners including marine emergency responders like the Royal Canadian Marine Search and Rescue (RCMSAR).

The early days of the pandemic brought many new people to the water to experience recreational boating, stand-up paddleboarding, kayaking and canoeing while staying close to home in search of adventure. However, not all people are prepared to participate in outdoor activities and, as a result, search and rescue organizations across the province continue to report record high callouts.

“Last summer, all thirty-one local RCMSAR stations combined conducted the highest number of missions in recent years, answering calls for help day and night, 7 days a week,” says Bill Riggs, CEO of the Royal Canadian Marine Search and Rescue. “Our highly skilled volunteers respond to all kinds of marine emergencies, many of which can be avoided or mitigated if you are prepared.”

As we enter Safe Boating Awareness Week, RCMSAR reminds all boaters that being prepared means always:

    • Wear a lifejacket
    • Boat sober
    • Bring Safety Equipment: Test prior to departure and replace expired items
    • Familiarize yourself with the area you visit like commercial traffic zones and remote areas that lack reliable cellular coverage
    • Be aware of submerged objects: Rocks, stumps, and log strikes can damage a boat’s hull or motor that can result in injury or death to people on board.
    • Leave a sail plan with loved ones and check the weather before departing
    • Call for Help: Always have a means of communicating in the event of an emergency. Call for help on channel 16 via a marine VHF radio or call *16, #727 or simply dial 9-1-1 on your cell.

RCMSAR also recommends that new boaters take a boating course and learn how to use a marine VHF radio. Increased calls for help are expected as the number of recreational boaters continue to climb. According to the National Marine Manufacturers Association, first time boat buyers accounted for 34% of sales in 2021 and it is expected that even more new boat owners plan to enter the market this summer as manufacturers work to fulfill the backlog of orders.

While facing the inherent risks that come with saving lives on the water, RCMSAR volunteers continue to put the safety of others ahead of personal safety thanks to the professional training and equipment they receive funded by people and the communities they serve.

For additional information on boating safety, visit any one of these Boating Safety partners:

About Safe Boating Awareness Week
Safe Boating Awareness Week is promoted by the Canadian Safe Boating Council (CSBC), a registered charity, with support from its members, partners, and Transport Canada’s Office of Boating Safety. Since 1995, Safe Boating Awareness Week has been the mainstay of boating safety communication among millions of Canadian Boaters.

About Royal Canadian Marine Search and Rescue
The Royal Canadian Marine Search and Rescue (RCMSAR) is a not-for-profit volunteer-based organization that operates more 31 marine rescue stations along the coast of British Columbia and in-land 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.

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Email to arrange an interview with one of the following RCMSAR contacts:

Provincial Headquarters and Vancouver Island
Royal Canadian Marine Search and Rescue – Chief Executive Officer, Bill Riggs
Cell: 250-888-4484 |

North Coast
Royal Canadian Marine Search and Rescue –Station Inspection Coordinator, RCMSAR Station 64 Prince Rupert, Marko Kessler | Cell: 250-600-5172 |

Lower Mainland
Royal Canadian Marine Search and Rescue – Marine Safety Specialist and Station Leader RCMSAR 10 – Richmond, Aaron Harnden |
Royal Canadian Marine Search and Rescue – Station Leader RCMSAR 2 – North Vancouver, Bruce Chan
Cell: 604-260-1291 | (Available May 23-27)