A Path to Leadership with RCMSAR

Volunteer With RCMSAR

Interested in volunteering? We would love to hear from you! Please contact your local RCMSAR Rescue Station to learn more.

Training Is Vital

Royal Canadian Marine Search and Rescue’s Training Centre in East Sooke provides an exceptional learning environment for hundreds of volunteer crew members from throughout the region. Through RCMSAR’s training program, students learn seamanship, navigation, communications, search and rescue, first aid, leadership, teamwork and techniques for dealing with the stress that can result from traumatic rescue missions.

Our purpose-built facility has water frontage on Sooke Basin, a sheltered area that is perfect for basic on-water training. The Basin connects to the more challenging Juan de Fuca Strait where crews can practice coastal navigation, heavy weather operations and advanced search and rescue techniques.

Specialized Skills


The RCMSAR Training Centre building houses a classroom, offices, the Fast Rescue Craft Simulator, ready room, male and female washrooms with showers, sleeping accommodations and a TV lounge.

Accommodation is provided for RCMSAR members at the Training Centre during their course. There are two private rooms and two shared rooms that can accommodate up to a total of six students.

Please note: Priority for private rooms is given to; 1) individual female crew members 2) first members upon arrival if there are no women attending.  There are male and female showers and change rooms, a kitchen/coffee area and crew lounge with TV downstairs.

What to Bring:

  • If staying on site, bring a sleeping bag, pillow, towel and toiletries
  • For on water training, bring your SAR operational apparel such as dry suit, boots, pants, gloves, layered outerwear and helmet. RCMSAR will provide PFDs.
  • Pens, notebooks and any pre-course materials


  • Complimentary meals are provided for members during RCMSAR courses
  • Please inform your course administrator at least a week in advance of any special dietary requirements

This is the first of two courses, with an objective of developing RCMSAR Leaders.  CLI provides a solid platform in Seamanship and Boat-Handling abilities in order to maintain safety for Crews providing our services during various marine Search and Rescue taskings.

An overview of the course learning outcomes:

  • Boat handling in close quarters and in open sea
  • Communications
  • System checks
  • Line handling and knots
  • Towing Seamanship and Safety
  • Chartwork and Buoyage
  • An introduction to GPS and Radar navigation
  • Self-recovery and cold water survival
  • Emergency procedures

Prerequisite: Completion of Transport Canada certified SVOP and SDV-BS (Med A3). Completed crew level sign offs as well as 12 months of dedicated service and 30 hours sea time.

The CLII-B course builds on the CLI course outcomes, and furthers RCMSAR Crew Member’s leadership development.  The focus is on Electronic Navigation techniques in Fast Response Craft (FRC) operations, as well as risk analysis, decision making and advanced Electronic Navigation for restricted visibility operations. An overview of the course learning outcomes:

  • An in-depth understanding of GPS systems
  • Electronic Chart Display use and limitations
  • Radar and its principles of operation
  • Maintained situational awareness via electronic systems
  • Position fixing by radar and depth sounder
  • Scenario-based simulated sessions
  • Communications
  • Risk analysis using the Green/Amber/Red (GAR) score method
  • Delegating tasks and bridge-resource management
  • Reviewed Seamanship from CLI course
  • Radar and GPS Navigation in restricted visibility
  • Crew communications in restricted visibility
  • Collision regulations for restricted visibility
  • Situational awareness and positive control
  • Lesson planning and training fundamentals
  • Leadership concepts
  • Train the trainer skills
  • Use of search and rescue algorithms during various SAR situations
  • Inter-agency support
  • Scenario-based simulated sessions

Prerequisite: Completed advanced crew sign offs, CLII-B pre-course program/sign offs, 15 hours practicing skills in between CL courses

The Fast Rescue Craft Simulator is a replica of an RCMSAR rescue vessel surrounded by a state-of-the-art seamless floor-to-ceiling screen and five digital projector that create a highly realistic simulation.

Electronic navigation equipment, helm controls and radios all mimic those found on a real rescue vessel.  Instructors can program a wide range of scenery, weather, sea conditions, ship traffic and navigational challenges to test crew member skills in a safe environment.

Our Training Centre

We support our crew development by providing seamanship training at our Training Centre in East Sooke. With this training crew members can advance to coxswain positions and station leadership roles. The Training Centre uses in-class, on the water, and simulator training that offers our volunteers the tools needed to be safe on the water and be ready to respond to emergencies when called upon.

On-water training is supported for each station to ensure that rescue crews are prepared and able to save lives on the water.

Donate to RCMSAR

 Your contributions help support our volunteer training and our keep our equipment in excellent condition. Donations are also used for prevention programs that save lives on the water before a rescue is needed.

Royal Canadian Marine Search and Rescue is a volunteer based organization that operates more than 30 marine rescue stations on the British Columbia coast and in the B.C. Interior. From Vancouver’s busy harbour to the remote waters of the North Coast, our volunteer crews are on call 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, ready to respond to marine emergencies. Charity #106863137RR0001

© The Royal Canadian Marine Search and Rescue Inc