Inuvik’s Coast Guard Auxiliary getting a new search and rescue vessel after the federal government announced $276,632 for the purchase of a new ship and lifeboats.
A Nov. 6 press release details the funding, which draws from the Indigenous Community Boat Volunteer Pilot Program, part of a $1.5 billion Oceans Protection plan overseen by the Ministry of Transport and the Department of Fisheries and Oceans.
“The Indigenous Community Boat Volunteer Pilot Program has been a lifesaver for our community and the Inuvik Marine Rescue Unit,” said Auxiliary unit leader Paul MacDonald. “The new vessel arriving in early 2021 will improve our response times, search range, and payload capabilities—all contributing to a safer oceanic region for the local Indigenous populations as well as other users of the local waterways within the Mackenzie Delta.
“The Indigenous Community Boat Volunteer Pilot Program will also serve as a spectacular opportunity for increased engagement and active participation between the Inuvik Marine Rescue Unit and local community members, thereby working to continue increasing Indigenous membership in the Auxiliary for years to come.”
The Canadian Coast Guard Auxiliary is a non-profit, volunteer organization that has access to over 1,100 ships Canada-wide. It responds to roughly 25 per cent of marine emergency calls each year.
As part of the funding announcement, Hay River’s Coast Guard Auxiliary will also receive $255,178 for the purchase of a new search and rescue vessel.
“Inuvik and Hay River will enhance their search and rescue capacity with the purchase of these new boats just like Yellowknife and Tuktoyaktuk was able to do through last years’ funding provided by the Indigenous Community Boat Volunteer Pilot Program,” said NWT MP Michael McLeod. “These are great investments to increase the safety of our communities and strengthen the capacity of the Canadian Coast Guard Auxiliary.”