We are the Charity that Saves Lives on the Water

Who We Are

Royal Canadian Marine Search and Rescue (RCMSAR) is a not-for-profit volunteer-based organization that operates more than 30 marine rescue stations along the coast of British Columbia from Vancouver’s busy harbour to the remote waters of the North Coast. RCMSAR is a key part of the marine search and rescue (SAR) system, working in one of the most challenging search and rescue regions in the world. With over 900 volunteers, professionally trained rescue crews are on call 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, ready to immediately respond to marine emergencies at a moment’s notice. 

Our History

In 1978, various Canadian volunteer marine search and rescue groups created the Canadian Coast Guard Auxiliary. In British Columbia, the regional not-for-profit association was called the Canadian Coast Guard Auxiliary – Pacific (CCGA-P). CCGA-P was established as a registered charitable organization and permitted to issue tax receipts to individual and corporate donors. In 2012, a name change to The Royal Canadian Marine Search and Rescue was made to reflect our distinct identity. Our mission remains the same – saving lives on the water.

Our Vision &  Values

Our vision is excellence in community-based marine safety.

The core of our operations, our values are built on:

  • Safety: our top priority and the forefront of all of activities from our Safety Management System to our thorough internal regulatory body and the Safety and Training Board.
  • Volunteerism: The spirit of volunteerism and sense of service to communities and individuals in need are at the heart of what motivates our members.
  • Professionalism: Our people, the quality of our operations and training, our equipment and our learning culture are all elements of the professionalism that distinguishes RCMSAR.
  • Community: We foster connection in the communities in which support our stations and to a broader community of responders who contribute to the safety of people in British Columbia.
  • Trust: The continued trust of the people who we serve and of our partners is the greatest measure of our effectiveness.

Our Team

From volunteers to our Board of Governors and staff, RCMSAR contributes to the safety of people in British Columbia and in the communities which support our stations.

What We Do

Ready to respond to marine emergencies, our volunteer crews are on call 24 hours a day from Vancouver’s busy harbour to the remote waters of the North Coast.

RCMSAR’s mission is to save lives on the water. 

Our volunteers provide marine search and rescue through partnership and collaboration with the communities of British Columbia, federal and provincial governments, Indigenous, industry and other agencies. Our crews are highly trained and equipped with specialized rescue vessels designed for the marine challenges of the West Coast.

How We Save Lives

Through an agreement with the Canadian Coast Guard we are called out to marine emergencies by the Joint Rescue Coordination Centre in Victoria.  We are also available to provide support for on the water humanitarian aid when called upon by provincial authorities. Our volunteer base is managed by station leaders and local governance boards at each individual station with oversight and support from RCMSAR headquarters in Sooke BC. 

SAR Prevention

We don’t just respond to emergencies, we work to prevent them. RCMSAR volunteers provide boating safety information, pleasure craft safety checks, and a loaner program for kids’ lifejackets at many docks and marinas.

Our Impact

Our volunteers conduct on average one third of all marine rescues each year. Thanks to the support of our partners and donors, our volunteers stand ready to leave their jobs and their families to help people in trouble on the water – saving the lives of hundreds of people and thousands of dollars in property each year.


Volunteer Hours

Training Exercises

Total Missions

People Assisted

Lives Saved

“Teamwork and communication skills are key attributes that you need to have as a volunteer. You don’t need to have a marine background as long as you enjoy being out on the water and helping others.”

Carol-Ann Kjartanson

Coxswain, Training Officer, Ladysmith - Station 29

“When we left the marina that day the only thing on our mind was to enjoy a few hours on the water with our children. You never know when you are going to need help. Thankfully RCMSAR was out on the water training and responded rapidly after we called.”

Martin & Monica

Rescued July 2020

Where We Are

Our volunteers operate more than 30 marine rescue stations on the British Columbia coast and in the B.C. Interior covering 450,000 square kilometres of internal and offshore waters. 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.


Interested in becoming a volunteer at a Rescue Station near you? Learn what it takes and what qualifications you need.

Support Our Work

Discover how you can save lives on the water too by supporting RCMSAR. Support volunteer training or help purchase new equipment for a Rescue Station near you.