THUNDER BAY – Across Ontario, the Coast Guard also has search and rescue stations in Thunder Bay, Tobermory, Meaford, Goderich, Amherstburg, Port Dover, Port Weller, Cobourg, and Kingston.
Also, all Inshore Rescue Boat stations across Ontario are now open for the 2019 season. The stations are crewed by post-secondary students hired and trained by the Canadian Coast Guard. Inshore Rescue Boat (IRB) stations provide marine search and rescue service during the busy summer recreational boating season. They are located at Britt and Brebeuf Island (Georgian Bay), Hill Island (St. Lawrence River), Port Lambton (St. Clair River), Thames River (Lake St. Clair), and Long Point (Lake Erie). Hired and trained by the Canadian Coast Guard every summer, selected students get the opportunity to be trained for Search and Rescue, and work as crewmembers in these IRB stations.
The distress calls that the IRB crews respond to range from capsized vessels and boats taking on water to medical emergencies. The crews also provide public education on boating safety issues for the communities they serve like information on the rules of navigation and the required safety equipment for vessels.
The IRB program provides a critical service with the Canadian Coast Guard Search and Rescue during the peak months of recreational boating activity in Ontario. While gaining hands-on work experience, crew members learn life-saving skills.
Waterways remain very cold at this time of year and take much longer to warm up when compared to the air, so ensure to take necessary precautions when near or on Ontario’s waterways. Transport Canada’s Safe Boating Guide is an excellent source of information in preparation for the recreational boating season.
Emergencies on the water can be reported 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, toll-free (within Canada) at 1-800-267-7270, or via marine VHF radio – channel 16.