It’s not every day that you get rescued by Santa.

For Martin, Monica and their children who suddenly faced trouble on the water July last year, “Santa” and the RCMSAR crew from Station 1–West Vancouver responded to their call for help.

“When we left the marina from Granville Island that day the only thing on our mind was enjoying a few hours on the water with our children” shared Martin during an interview with RCMSAR Headquarters.

Soon after departure the wake of a nearby freighter that had passed minutes earlier quickly began to pummel the recreational boaters – splashing and spraying cold sea water inside their rental boat. Within minutes their boat was taking on too much water. Wet, scared and bailing water Martin and Monica instructed their eldest son to call for help.

The Joint Rescue Coordination Centre immediately tasked the nearest Royal Canadian Marine Search and Rescue station. “You never know when you are going to need help. Fortunately, RCMSAR was already on the water training and responded rapidly after we called,” says Martin.

With a calming smile and a steady hand, RCMSAR1’s Tony Wachmann (featured) was one of three volunteers who responded that day; a gentle man who often introduces himself with “They call me Santa! This is what he does in his off time.”

“There was such relief on our children’s faces when a RCMSAR volunteer, white beard and all, reached out his hand to retrieve us from our boat,” Martin continued.

Reflecting on that day, Tony Wachmann says that the family did everything right: everyone wore lifejackets, they stayed together and above all, they called for help.

A happy ending, this story not only demonstrates how hundreds of our volunteers stand ready 24 hours a day, 365 days a year to save lives on the water thanks to the training they receive. It also shows the power of generosity. When you support RCMSAR, you protect the lives of families like Martin and Monica’s.

Year-round our volunteers train for calls like these and could not save lives without supporters like you.

Consider a charitable gift to RCMSAR this holiday season or purchase a Save Lives on the Water 50/50 Raffle ticket by January 2, 2022.

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