December 2015, the days of darkness have closed in, broken by holiday lights, and it is a time for reflection. The pleasure boating season is done and — an el Nino year notwithstanding — the close of the shipping season is on us. This time of year is always good for taking stock and at T-SAR — our stock looks pretty good right now.
Most importantly, we have a working certified Canadian Coast Guard Auxiliary unit with a fast rugged boat in the water and a trained crew aboard her. They have completed over 1,000 hours of training this year and have completed 20 missions. So far, Trenton has not tasked us with any SAR missions but that day will come soon enough — although it is not like we are eager for somebody to get into trouble out on the water. Other CCGA units have been most helpful, and we look forward to the day we can stand among them as accomplished search-and-rescue crews.
As ever, we are grateful to Ports Toronto, the Cathedral Bluffs Yacht Club and the Navy League for hosting and support; and are very pleased to be working in cooperation with the Life Saving Society and the Canadian Power Squadron. With the Life Saving Society and support from Transport Canada, we have had a hand in developing Water Safety educational outreach modules for children in Grades 2 and 6. The program has successfully trialed and will be available in over 600 GTA schools next year, and will go province-after that. The Power Squadron has made our life jacket loaner program and the pleasure craft courtesy checks possible in 2015, and these programs will have an even greater impact next year.
Patrick Curtis, who has guided T-SAR from its inception, has a yen to hand over control to Christine Rodway, our Vice Chair, and go through the hours and tests necessary to be part of of a rescue boat crew. The training involves developing and honing some good skill sets — seamanship, boat-handling, first-aid, fire-fighting and much else — and Patrick is always keen to learn something new. You might be able to catch a glimpse of him on the rescue boat, T-SAR 2, along with his son and other children in the accompanying photo at this year's Beaches Santa Clause parade.
All in all, we think we can wear some laurels this December, but resting on your laurels is a good way to get them rumpled. If we are to hit the water in 2016 as swimmingly as we did in 2015, then the cold and dark days of Winter must be illuminated with the lamp of learning... and the merciless spotlight of training. We have more volunteers entering training to become CCGA crew, and are looking for still more. Learn some new skills, save a life; can you really say no?
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