Royal Canadian Marine Search and Rescue

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Royal Canadian Marine
Search and Rescue
RCM-SAR Logo.jpg
Motto "Saving Lives on the Water"
Formation 1978
Formerly called
Canadian Coast Guard Auxiliary - Pacific

The Royal Canadian Marine Search and Rescue (RCM-SAR) is a volunteer marine rescue service that saves lives and promotes public recreational (pleasure craft) boating safety throughout the coastal and some inland waters of the province of British Columbia and Yukon Territory of Canada[1][2] and is part of the national organization the Canadian Coast Guard Auxiliary.[3]


In 1978, the Canadian Coast Guard (at the time under the federal Minister of the Department of Transport) established the Canadian Marine Rescue Auxiliary (CMRA) across Canada in order to involve volunteers in a structured way to provide marine rescue assistance and rescue prevention education. This national auxiliary program provided funding for volunteer operations, such as reimbursement of fuel costs and insurance coverage, when volunteer boats and crews were formally tasked to respond to marine incidents by the Victoria (Joint) Rescue Co-ordination Centre (JRCC) of the Department of National Defence (DND). Guidance in volunteer training and provision of some specialized rescue and life saving equipment were also provided under this program. The CMRA underwent a name change to Canadian Coast Guard Auxiliary. In the Pacific Region of the federal Department of Fisheries and Oceans (under which the Canadian Coast Guard (Special Operating) Agency now falls, the CCGA-Pacific underwent a rebranding doing business under the name Royal Canadian Marine Search and Rescue or RCM SAR, effective May of 2012.[4]

It should be noted, however, that volunteers have been an integral part of marine rescue response services along the British Columbia coast for more than 100 years, initially as part of the Canadian Life Saving Service (CLSS). The Canadian Coast Guard was formally established in 1962 and shortly thereafter engaged volunteers called Volunteer Search Masters (who operated suitable boats equipped with VHF radio communication) and Volunteer Marine Rescue Agents (who were local coastal contacts for Coast Guard Rescue Officers and who established "posts" in coastal communities for providing information and communications related to search and rescue incidents in the nearby waters).[5]

RCM-SAR Unit 14 patrolling British Columbia pacific waters


The RCM-SAR patrols more than 29,500 square kilometers of coastline, 6,500 islands, and approximately 450,000 square kilometers of internal and offshore waters. There are over 1,500 committed volunteers who have dedicated themselves to the RCM-SAR and helping individuals in danger. The volunteers are spread out in one of 49 stations throughout the region. Each station is community-based, enabling the services to be associated with local needs. The stations are equipped with community-owned response vessels, while other stations provide SAR service through dedicated owner-operator vessels.[6][1] In addition RCM-SAR has some paid administrative and training staff. RCM-SAR receives funding from the Canadian Coast Guard, the province of British Columbia gaming grants, various other government grants, private and corporate donations.[7] RCM-SAR receives direction and taskings from the Joint Rescue Coordination Centre(JRCC).[8]



The RCM-SAR is equipped with a variety of high-speed vessels ranging from Zodiac-style inflatables to large enclosed-cabin jet boats that can assist all sizes of vessel from lone kayakers to huge cruise ships.[9][10]


RCM-SAR volunteers train at a high-tech vessel simulator in Victoria, British Columbia and on the water, investing more than 5,000 training hours annually. The simulator's computer-generated scenery allows new volunteers to practice and improve their skills virtually.[11]


Total missions Total person hours Average total person hours Average POB SAR vessel Average mission duration Total people saved Total people assisted Property value saved/assisted (est.)
5,108 32,600 128 4 1.79hrs 1,244 4,594 $181,668,380

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "About RCM-SAR". Retrieved 2012-07-11. 
  2. ^ "Royal Canadian Marine Search and Rescue: A New Look for B.C.'s Marine Rescuers". Market Wire. Retrieved 22 September 2012. 
  3. ^ "General Information". 
  4. ^ "Search and rescue boathouse deal will boost capability". Royal Canadian Marine Search and Rescue. Peninsula News. Retrieved 22 September 2012. 
  5. ^ "Our History". Retrieved 2012-07-11. 
  6. ^ Pugliese, David. "Volunteer Marine Rescuers On West Coast Get a New Look | Ottawa Citizen". Retrieved 2012-07-11. 
  7. ^ "HOW WE ARE FUNDED". 
  8. ^ "HOW WE FIT". 
  9. ^ Zodiac rescue vessel Retrieved July 11,2012
  10. ^ Titan rescue vessel Retrieved July 11,2012
  11. ^ Training simulator Retrieved July 11, 2012

External links[edit]