The weather’s getting better and the Canadian Coast Guard’s inshore rescue boat stations are now open

Guylaine Beaudoin

The Canadian Coast Guard recently announced that its inshore rescue boat (IRB) stations in Saint-Zotique, Vaudreuil (Lac des Deux Montagnes), Beaconsfield, Longueuil, Sorel and Trois-Rivières reopened for the season on Wednesday, May 26 at noon. The stations are open seven days a week until Wednesday, September 1st at noon.

Again this year, because of the pandemic, it is important to remind boaters that physical distancing guidelines also apply on the water. The Public Health Authority’s rules must be followed to stop the spread of COVID-19. The members at the IRB stations obviously comply with the health guidelines: they practice physical distancing of at least two metres when possible, wash their hands regularly and wear masks.

Since search and rescue operations are an essential service, they have been available throughout the pandemic. However, boaters who experience COVID-19 symptoms are encouraged to follow health guidelines by staying home to prevent the spread of the disease. This will help protect the crews. If boaters still decide to go out, it is strongly recommended to:

  • Make sure their boat is in good condition;
  • Share travel plans with family or friends; 
  • Bring enough fuel and even some extra; 
  • Have a mask for each person on board the boat, for their protection and for the protection of the employees, should they need to assist them. 

About IRB stations

Each station relies on two teams that switch every 14 days. Each of these teams has one coxswain and two crew members. They are available 24 hours a day for 2 weeks and they are housed on site. The hours of operation are from noon to 8 p.m. 

The crews’ primary mission is to respond to distress calls made to 1-800-463-4393, regardless of the urgency level. These may include fires aboard vessels, groundings, breakages or medical emergencies. In 2020, crews saved 53 lives and handled 539 cases. They also play a preventive role with the public through their active participation in pleasure craft courtesy checks with Transport Canada’s Office of Boating Safety Program.

To boaters and to IRB crews, enjoy your summer!

Guylaine Beaudoin

Canadian Coast Guard members in training

Photo credit: Léo Croufer

Inshore rescue boat station members

Photo credit: Léo Croufer

A CCG student looking at a map

Photo credit: Léo Croufer


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