Monday, May 27, 2024
May 27, 2024

Rescue groups mount Burgoyne Bay exercise


People who were near Burgoyne Bay on the morning of Saturday, Dec. 9 might have noticed several search and rescue groups in action on land and on the water. The sight of these dedicated teams working together (in the wind and rain) likely piqued witnesses’ curiosity about what was happening. 

Three Royal Canadian Marine Search and Rescue (RCMSAR) organizations, including Salt Spring Island’s RCMSAR25, Brentwood Bay’s RCMSAR31 and Cowichan Bay’s RCMSAR34, as well as members of Salt Spring Island Search and Rescue (SSISAR), who conduct ground searches and rescues, converged in Burgoyne Bay near Daffodil Point for a collaborative search and rescue exercise (SAREX). Beyond the intrigue of the moment, these exercises are vital in preparing the volunteers for real-life emergencies, ensuring swift and effective responses and strengthening inter-agency communication and cooperation. 

The SAREX involved complex, true-to-life scenarios: shoreline searches, medical crises and rescue missions. The exercise started with RCMSAR25 discreetly positioning two rescue mannequins along Burgoyne Bay’s shoreline. 

Station leader Andrew Ross Collins elaborates: “After embarking a SSISAR communication liaison, we assumed on-scene command and tasked the other units with a shoreline search. Upon locating the mannequins, SSISAR administered first aid, then worked with the RCMSAR units to transport the patients via boat back to the government dock in Burgoyne Bay.” 

Wind and rain was a considerable factor in the training exercise. 

“Inter agency training is critical for rehearsing possible real-life scenarios and identifying areas for improvement in inter agency cooperation,” said SSISAR search manager Conrad Bowden. “In particular, increased familiarity with other agencies’ command structures and communications systems leads to better operational outcomes in the field, such as saving lives and reducing suffering.” 

Those who observed the exercises witnessed the dedication and skill of these volunteers, serving as a reminder of the continued efforts these search and rescue organizations put forth to protect local communities. 

How to Get Involved and Support 

If you are curious about the activities of these marine search and rescue groups and wish to explore joining their ranks, please visit for more information on volunteer opportunities. Additionally, you can contribute to their work by making a donation to

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