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Coast Guard Auxiliary moves to Horseshoe Bay
Before his death, West Vancouver’s Craig Rea spent his fair share of time patrolling area waters with the local arm of the all-volunteer Coast Guard Auxiliary.
If a call for help was placed, Rea was there. And it didn’t matter when — day, night, or during Thanksgiving dinner.
To honour Rea's commitment, the squad's new 33-foot rescue boat, unveiled at a ceremony in Horseshoe Bay on Saturday, was christened Craig Rea Spirit West Vancouver, B.C.
“Out saving someone’s life was way more exciting than sitting around the table with us,” Rea’s daughter, Justine Simmons, told The Outlook.
“To see his name in print on that boat reminds me he’s still with us.”
The vessel’s christening was but one of the major announcements made at last weekend's event. To a crowd of supporters, the Coast Guard Auxiliary also revealed its new name, Royal Canadian Marine Search and Rescue, and its new operations centre located in the old harbour master’s shed at the end of the pier, adjacent to the Boathouse Restaurant.
Dugal Purdie, station coordinator, lauded the high-profile location and called the move a chance to provide some exposure to the group after years of toiling in obscurity.
“It started with a dream. Years ago, we were just a few volunteers working out of a garden shed. But we had a dream of being one of the best stations on the coast. I’m proud of the men and women in this unit,” said Purdie.
“But none of this could have been achieved without the community.”
Purdie praised the numerous donors involved — too many to name individually, he said, as the search and rescue team relies almost wholly on fundraised dollars — and his group’s partnership with the District of West Vancouver, which allowed them to move into the new building.
As part of their agreement with the municipality, the Royal Canadian Marine Search and Rescue team will provide care for the pier and the district will supply moorage for the new vessel.
The crew’s old boat will remain docked in the West Vancouver Yacht Club in Fisherman’s Cove, where the team had been headquartered for the past 20 years.
Joining the West Vancouver squad at the event were search and rescue teams from Deep Cove, Squamish, Nanaimo, Gibsons, Halfmoon Bay, Delta and Crescent Beach.
For more information, visit ccga-pacific.org.