Toronto- Search and Rescue (T-SAR) has a new name; we are now Canadian Coast Guard Auxiliary Detachment 535 of the CCGA District 1. For those who prefer acronyms that might be CCGA Det 535.
On Wednesday November 19, the CCGA let us know that our application had been accepted and we now have a patrol area of responsibility extending from our base of operations at Ashbridges Bay. Of course, when given directions by the Canadian Coast Guard or from CFB Trenton, we might go well beyond our regular patrol area if tasked to do so.
This does not mean that we will be in the water immediately. While much-experienced CCGA veteran Derek Cartier is stepping into command of the detachment — as are several other CCGA vets — we are initially authorized to have a dozen volunteers all told and they will have to complete their training before taking on the perils of Lake Ontario.
In the meantime, T-SAR also has much to do. We are acquiring boats (See T-SAR 2 Rescue boat), collecting equipment, and raising funds. Having a boat and a crew is a good start, but there is much else that needs doing to provide the basic coverage of the entire GTA waterfront that we hope to achieve. Fuel alone will be a major ongoing expenditure.
Nor will boats, crews and fuel be T-SAR's only concerns; there are water-safety courses for children to continue to develop, the community life-jacket program to establish, relations to forge with other organizations, and so many other capabilities to build up.
The Search and Rescue activities of Det 535 will be the eye catching stuff, but it should never overshadow our growing capabilities in water safety educational outreach and programming. Prevention and education, focussed on children, is also at the heart of our mission.
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