The Canadian Lifeboat Institution (CLI) celebrates 43 years of Search and Rescue service (1981-2024). It has two active Lifeboat Stations on the west coast:

    • Ladner Lifeboat Station in Delta, BC – home base of Delta Lifeboat (1B-02)
    • Steveston Lifeboat Station in Richmond, BC – home base of Fraser Lifeboat (1A-04)

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About Us

Our Mission | Canadian Lifeboat Institution

The CLI is part of Team Search and Rescue and is fully recognized by the Canadian Coast Guard as a valuable team member.


It is also part of the City of Delta’s Emergency Services Programme.

We provide vessel of opportunity marine search and rescue capabilities as well as non-revenue marine services in the coastal waters around Richmond, Delta, Surrey, New Westminster, the Fraser River, Strait of Georgia, Vancouver, Victoria,  and elsewhere including Washington State.

The mission of the Canadian Lifeboat Institution is Saving Lives at Sea.


Our Objectives

The objectives of the Canadian Lifeboat Institution are to:

    • Supplement local, community, provincial, and national efforts directed to the preservation of life and property and, in particular, providing equipment, and volunteers for marine safety,  as well as search and rescue services
    • Assist with the promotion of safe boating practices through accident prevention and safety education programmes

What is the Canadian Lifeboat Institution?

The Canadian Lifeboat Institution has been in operation since 1981. During that time, members have actively participated in over 4500+ incidents, working in close cooperation with other search and rescue organizations.

The Canadian Lifeboat Institution is a not-for-profit, nationally registered charitable marine search and rescue organization dedicated to saving lives and property at sea. Its members and lifeboat crews, from all walks of life, are volunteers concerned about marine safety and rescue. The CLI is not directly funded by the government but relies entirely on personal and corporate donations, as well as community and other grants.

The Canadian Lifeboat Institution does not attempt to replace primary SAR organizations like the Canadian Coast Guard, or its Auxiliary, Royal Canadian Marine Search and Rescue (RCM-SAR). We provide a variety of non-primary SAR services; these include but are not limited to vessel of opportunity, safety patrols, fishery patrols, public boating safety information including PCCC checks, emergency services to the City of Delta, or tasked otherwise. We provide vessels and crews trained to Transport Canada and SAR requirements to assist the primary, secondary, and other organizations to save those in peril on the waters of Canada. Our vessels are utilized by the Joint Rescue Coordination Centre (JRCC) Victoria when an opportunity presents itself.

Our organization also participates in the RCMP Coastal Watch Programme.

We’re following a very successful model, the Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI), which was founded in 1824 by Sir William Hillary. When called upon, the RNLI, on a volunteer basis, provides day and night lifeboat services required for search and rescue. Their service area extends up to 50 miles from the coasts of the United Kingdom and Ireland.

The Canadian Lifeboat Institution is a member of the International Maritime Rescue Federation (IMRF), which brings the world’s maritime search and rescue organizations together in one global and growing family, accredited by the International Maritime Organization (IMO).



Our Vessels

Common to all CLI vessels

Both vessels are owned by the society and work in support of and in cooperation with local police, fire and rescue services, Port Authority, as well as with the Canadian Coast Guard, and RCM-SAR. Additionally, they participate in exercises and drills with Canadian Government vessels, as important resources for deployment in the event of civil emergencies.

The vessels and crews are part of the City of Delta’s emergency services programme, and many of our crew are registered with Emergency Management BC.

Our hull numbering is determined by society-owned [1] or privately owned [2] and whether self-righting [A] or non-self-righting [B].

Fraser Lifeboat 1A-04

The FRASER Lifeboat is based at the Steveston Lifeboat Station, 12551 No 1 Rd, Richmond, BC at the Fisheries and Oceans float.  She serves under the flags of the CLI,  and the City of Delta as required. Manned by an all-volunteer crew, she is often seen on patrol, ready to assist fishing, commercial, and recreational vessels experiencing difficulties.

Bought by the CLI in 2013, this vessel was introduced to the Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) in 1982 and entered service 2 years later. The Tyne class lifeboat was the RNLI’s first ‘fast’ slipway-launched lifeboat, which can also lie afloat. Her size was determined by the size of the existing boathouses. Features include a low-profile wheelhouse and a separate cabin behind the upper steering position.

The boat has a steel hull with a shallow draught, a long straight keel, and extended bilge keels to protect the propellers, all of which are necessary not only for slipway launching but also for working in shoal waters. Protection for the propellers is given by partial tunnels,  very deep bilge keels port and starboard, and by a wide straight keel which ends in a hauling shoe used for winching the boat back into its house (if we had one).

The Tyne class is self-righting, aided by twin automatically inflating bags on the aft cabin roof (it should be noted that these have been disabled on the Fraser as getting them serviced in North America has proven difficult). The Tyne carries an X boat, a small unpowered and manually launched inflatable daughter boat, to access areas where the all-weather lifeboat cannot reach. The last Tyne was built in 1990.

In March 2017 the Fraser Lifeboat went through a series of electronic upgrades including all-new Raymarine touch screen systems and radar, Humminbird side-scan sonar, ICOM marine VHF radio upgrades, AIS, VHF / UHF amateur radio installation, new batteries, engineering, and hull repaint where required. Old and obsolete equipment has been removed to save weight and modernize.

In 2018 over several months a new inverter and electrical system were run through the vessel. This now allows electrical functions while on shore power or at sea. LED bulbs were added to the nav and interior lights to increase intensity and longevity.

In May 2020 a new Fire Com intercom / radio link was added.   The crew can also operate off-boat within 1500 ft of the Fraser Lifeboat. This is a vast improvement in safety as well as command, control, and communications. AIS display was also added to the Humminbird side scan sonar system.

In November 2020 a Furuno radar was added. The system ties in with Nobeltec TIMEZERO Professional and allows weather info and planning thus enhancing situational awareness.

In December 2023 a new Garmin Satellite Compass was added to connect to the vessel’s computer, as well as a weather station installed. 8 new search and rescue life-jackets with safety lanyards were ordered. A line launcher was also added to our equipment.

A brief history of the Tyne class ‘Fraser Lifeboat’

Built Fairy Marine, Cowes Shipyard in 1987, UK
 Ex RNLI Official Number 1133 (47-021)
Original Name Famous Grouse 
Original Callsign GIAD
First Commissioned 1987
Hull Corten steel, Shallow draft
Superstructure Watertight aluminium
Length Overall 14.320 m (46.98 ft.)
Length Datum 13.000 m (42.65 ft.)
Beam Overall 4.572 m   (15 ft.)
Beam Moulded 4.267 m   (14 ft.)
Wheelhouse top 3.962 m   (13.00 ft. above keel)
Draught Aft 1.400 m   (4.60 ft.)
Displacement limited to 24.385 tonnes     (24.00 tons)
Engines 2 × Detroit GM 6V92 TA diesel 425 Shp (317 kW) at 2,300 rpm
Rudders Twin power-assisted and hand hydraulic-controlled
Speed 17.6 knots (20.25 mph; 32.59 km/h)
Crew Average 6-8 (Min 2)
Range 240 nm (444.48 km)
Fuel Tank Capacity Port Tank   1318 litres    (289.96 gallons)

STB Tank  1318 litres    (289.96 gallons)

Reserve Tank  463.70 litres   (102 gallons)

Fresh Water 45.46 litres        10 gallons         2 x Jerry Cans
Self-right Five seconds

Capacity: 37 persons

Non-Self Righting Cap 108 persons
Additional Equipment Class B AIS, Raymarine and Furuno radars, VHF x 5, PA x 2, amateur radio, chart plotter, side-scan sonar, Fire Com intercom / radio link, high-intensity searchlights, portable salvage / firefighting pump, engine driven salvage / firefighting pump, first aid, oxygen, AED, line launcher, weather station, and satellite compass.

Delta Lifeboat 1B-02

The Delta Lifeboat has a long history of service in the maritime community. Designed by the US Navy as an Admiral’s Barge, and reportedly used by Admiral Nimitz as his launch at one time, it was built in 1944 in Pearl Harbour, Hawaii. Following naval service transporting flag officers moving between warships, she passed into private hands and was modified for use as a recreational vessel.

Previously known as Artist’s Life, in 1988 this classic wooden vessel was purchased by marine artist and official Canadian naval war artist, John Horton and renamed Steveston Lifeboat. This began her life-saving career, and she was updated for Maritime Search and Rescue. Changes ensured she was a secure platform for working alongside vessels in distress, and that she could safely undertake towing tasks; all while providing a safe environment for crew members during patrol and call-out activities. For many years she operated out of Steveston Harbour, working in support of the fishing industry in the Fraser Estuary and Gulf of Georgia.

While still registered as the Steveston Lifeboat, major repair and refit activities were completed in 2017. These included an update of navigation and communications equipment, a complete overhaul of the engine and related equipment, and minor structural changes to provide additional working space on the bridge.

The vessel is based in Ladner Harbour at the Ladner Lifeboat Station, 4850 McNeely’s Way, Delta, BC  and was renamed Delta Lifeboat. She serves under the flags of the CLI and the City of Delta. Manned by an all-volunteer crew, she is often seen on patrol, ready to assist fishing, commercial, and recreational vessels experiencing difficulties.

In Sep 2020, the Delta Lifeboat was graciously donated to the CLI by John and Mary Horton. The vessel was renumbered at that time from 2B to 1B.

In Dec 2023 the vessel received further wood replacement and the installation of a holding tank was completed. A line launcher was also added to the equipment.

A brief history of the ‘Delta Lifeboat’

New Owner 2020 Canadian Lifeboat Institution
Built U.S. Navy, Pearl Harbour, Hawaii, USA
CLI Official Number 1B-02 (previously 2B-02)
Entered CLI Service 1994
Call Sign VOQQ
Previous Name(s) Artist’s Life, Steveston Lifeboat
First Commissioned 1944
Hull Wood
Superstructure Wood, fiberglass, and aluminum
Design U.S. Navy general service hull configured as an admiral’s barge
Length Overall 15.8 m (52 ft.)
Beam 4.26m (12 ft. 8 in)
Draft 1.52m (5 ft.)
Displacement 30 tons
Engine 1 x Detroit GM 671 diesel 157 Shp x 1,800 rpm
Rudder 1
Top Speed 10 knots
Crew Min 3, Max 9
Max Survivor Capacity 160 persons
Range 1,000 nm
Additional Equipment Class A AIS, radar x 2, VHF x 5, chart plotter, portable salvage / firefighting pump, firefighting foam, crew support facilities for extended periods, first aid, oxygen, AED, weather station,  and line launcher.
RHIB (CLI Y-02) 10.5 ft, powered



By joining the CLI you can contribute to marine safety in a variety of ways. We are constantly looking for individuals to serve as society members or to become trained crews for our vessels.

The CLI has no paid positions.


Can you help the Canadian Lifeboat Institution (CLI)? We are all volunteers and everyone is welcome. There are two primary ways that you can help us; join as a crew member (must also join the society), or become a society member only.

All crew and society members are entitled to access our restricted access monthly newsletters, packed full of information. They also get to attend specific events not open to the public.

Crew member

Crew members come from all walks of life and may not have a marine background. Our crew includes coxswains, engineers, and deck crew. We train dedicated volunteers on how to safely operate our vessels and provide them with specific search and rescue skills.

To become a CLI crew member, we require the following:

    • Be a minimum of 18 years old
    • Able to commit to regular training (both classroom and on-water). As SAR skills are diminishable, you must be able to commit to a minimum of four training sessions per month. We meet every Thursday from 18:45 – 21:15 and Saturdays from 08:30 – 12:30 for training sessions. Other events happen at different hours.
    • Have a reasonable level of fitness as SAR tasks can be physically demanding
    • Have or be able to obtain a Pleasure Craft Operator’s Certificate (PCOC). We partner with MyBoatCard.com if you don’t have one already.
    • Have or be able to obtain a Restricted Radio Operator’s Certificate (ROC-M). We can recommend training providers if required.
    • Have or are able to obtain a Transport Canada Candidate Document Number (CDN)
    • Be able to pass a criminal records check to assist in any City of Delta or Emergency Management BC (EMBC) taskings. This process may involve fingerprinting for the vulnerable sector requirements.
    • Be willing to buy your uniform and accouterments as prescribed by us
    • Join the society, at a cost of $50 per year

Once you have been crew for a while, we will provide further Transport Canada-approved training including Small Non-Pleasure Domestic Vessel Basic Safety (SDV-BS) (the old Marine Emergency Duties MED-A3), and Marine Basic First Aid with CPR / AED. Other certifications may be added depending on your crew level.

We operate a 6-month probationary period for all new crew members.

Note: Due to COVID-19, the CLI may operate its vessels with a limited number of crew members that may require wearing masks inside the cabin and having at least 2 vaccine shots. Current public health orders will dictate our requirements.

Note: At all times the CLI has zero tolerance towards drug and alcohol abuse, including cannabis. You will not be allowed to train or participate in any vessel operations if you show signs of impairment (either from drugs or alcohol). Transport Canada Ship Safety Bulletin 12/1208 Legalization of cannabis in Canada and vessel operation deals with this subject.

Note: The CLI has zero tolerance for bullying and / or harassment. We operate in a harassment-free workplace.

Society member

Society members are very important to us. They may help with fundraising, finance, maintenance, and public relations, or may just want to be associated with a marine safety organization. Whatever the case, we would really like to have you as a member. The annual cost is $50 and can be paid by one of the following methods:

If you wish to join, please fill out the form below:

Member application form