Wednesday, May 22, 2024
May 22, 2024

Six youth complete RCMSAR Juniors Program


The Royal Canadian Marine Search and Rescue Station 25 (RCMSAR 25) is thrilled to congratulate Kaelen Whyte, Sonja Reynolds, Brandan Reynolds, Tejas Grooms, Shore Winstone and Flynn Shugar on their successful completion of the RCMSAR Juniors Program.

The Work Experience Program, organized in partnership with the Gulf Islands Secondary School (GISS) and RCMSAR 25, provides participants with a comprehensive understanding of boating safety principles through classroom sessions, hands-on activities and practical demonstrations.

“RCMSAR 25’s junior program provides an opportunity for community service and personal growth through adventure, teamwork and practical experience on the water. Along with a sense of purpose, our youth learn the value of volunteering and the career possibilities open to professional mariners,” explains Richard Dowker, RCMSAR’s manager of training and development.

Led by a team of RCMSAR 25’s experienced instructors, including John de Bruyn, Sky Losier and Janet Taylor, the RCMSAR Juniors Program offers participants an exceptional learning experience. Coxswains Losier, Paul FitzZaland and Tim Slaney supervised the on-the-water training, ensuring that students received practical guidance in safe boat handling, navigation and emergency preparedness. The program also involved the dedicated support of Shari Hambrook, a Youth Work In Trades Program and work experience teacher from GISS, who played a crucial role in facilitating the program.

As part of the program, students obtained their Marine Standard First Aid certification, Pleasure Craft Operator Card and Restricted Radiotelephone Operator’s Certificate (Maritime). They developed vital skills in boat handling, marine safety, navigation using radar and charts, identifying and understanding marine aids to navigation, assessing environmental conditions, and marine search and rescue techniques. The program emphasized safety, teamwork and critical decision-making in time-sensitive situations, preparing students for real-life boating scenarios.

Participants in the RCMSAR Juniors Program had several experiences that left lasting impressions. One involved the spotting of a large, almost totally submerged deadhead, which they promptly flagged with a clearly visible orange marker, contributing to the safety of fellow boaters. Another memorable training was an extended search for a rescue dummy, which highlighted the challenges of finding targets on the water, even in relatively calm weather conditions.

The students also enjoyed a visit to the Canadian Coast Guard open house in Victoria and RCMSAR headquarters in East Sooke for a tour and training on their rescue vessel simulator.

RCMSAR is a vital part of the marine rescue system on the West Coast and on lakes in the Interior of British Columbia. It operates as an all-volunteer charity committed to saving lives on the water. Their dedicated crews are ready to respond to emergencies day or night, 365 days a year. RCMSAR relies on the support and generosity of their neighbours for fundraising and volunteer assistance. To contribute to their life-saving efforts, please consider making a donation at

Students at GISS who are interested in joining the RCMSAR Juniors Program next fall can visit or email for more information.

Sign up for our newsletter and stay informed

Receive news headlines every week with our free email newsletter.

Other stories you might like

Grade 12 volleyball players compete at high level

BY MARCIA JANSEN  DRIFTWOOD contributor Seven Salt Spring high school students travel off island a few times a week for club volleyball in Nanaimo and Victoria.  Finn...

Windsor Plywood sponsorship boosts GISS athletics

Gulf Islands Secondary School (GISS) athletes have been given a big boost this school year thanks to sponsorship by Windsor Plywood Salt Spring. According to...

GISS students organize Black History Month activities

Salt Spring gets to celebrate Black History Month with a musical powerhouse thanks to the efforts of some Gulf Islands Secondary School (GISS) students. The...

GISS posts record graduation rate

Gulf Islands schools reported the highest grad numbers ever, according to administrators, with 100 per cent of B.C. resident students crossing the stage last...


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here