Video RCMSAR 14 coming long side
Second Video long side
Delta Lifeboat – Extended training weekend
On November 5 the Delta Lifeboat departed at 1915 from her Ladner station to Port Graves in Howe Sound for an extended training weekend. The weather forecast was rain and S.E. winds 10-20 knots. Courses were planned from Ladner to Sand Heads and Collingwood Channel traveling up the Northbound lane. Delta L/B passed Cape Rodger Curtis at 2218 and proceeded up Collingwood Channel through rain squalls to Howe Sound, anchoring in Port Graves at 2330.
6 Nov. The anchor was weighed at 0900 and M.O.B. search and recovery training were conducted south of Gambier Island close to the ferry lanes. A tornado warning was received for the Georgia Strait and Howe Sound; however, the wind remained from the S.E. with rain sometimes heavy and the sea ran from 1 to 2. ‘Oscar’ was deployed, recovered, and hoisted aboard Delta L/B. At 1300 pacing (sticking) training continued in a moderate sea and heavy rain. At 1400 Delta L/B proceeded to the North end of Shoal Channel where a creeping line search pattern was plotted and run. Delta L/B went to anchor in Plumper Cove at 1515 in preparation for joint operations with RCM-SAR station 14 out of Gibsons. The SAR RHIB secured alongside 1610 and a briefing and cross vessel tour was conducted. SAR14 requested a pacing exercise and towex. This was conducted in Shoal Channel with Delta L/B running at 10 knots with SAR14 and Delta RHIB practicing paces and sticks. Delta L/B went to anchor in Plumper Cove for a welcome supper.
7 Nov. The anchor was weighed at 0930 and the ship secured for sea. The forecast was for winds S.E. 15/25 and rain sometimes heavy. Visibility in Howe Sound was 1.5. The passage down Queen Charlotte Channel was made into a steep head sea. Clearing Point Atkinson course was set for the North Arm. Delta L/B entered the North Arm at 1200 communicating with tugs and tows and tugs working booms. Transit was made to New Westminster and to Ladner. Conditions were very changeable with very heavy rain and hail to blinding sunshine that created a spectacular rainbow. Delta L/B secured at her station in Ladner at 1527.
The CLI has been developing a better way to conduct multi-vessel search patterns. On 17 July the Delta Lifeboat, Fraser Lifeboat, Canadian Coast Guard Hovercraft Siyay, and a Canadian Coast Guard RHIB (Callsign Sea Island One) put those principles to the test. After rafting with all vessels for a briefing, we took our positions and tried with Delta L/B leading, and then switched to the CCG Hovercraft Siyay leading. We then met and debriefed. It looks like the CCG like this system and we will try again with ourselves and other agencies vessels like police, RCM-SAR, etc. There were lots of takeaways and things we need to work on, but it was a huge success and proved the concept works.
On 10 Apr 2021, both Delta and Fraser Lifeboats engaged in multi-vessel search pattern training exercises off Woodward Reach in the Fraser River.
River Current: Flooding towards slack
Wind: Southeast at ~25+ kts
Sea State: Two-foot chop with breaking whitecaps
Purpose: Parallel sweep area search procedures, using two vessels according to the briefing given during online training. This involved searching while keeping pace abeam of the guide boat, both vessels making two 90 degree turns on command in unison, then searching along the reciprocal course over ground; and repeat.
This process is continuously being refined in preparation for a larger exercise in the future.
Regular Saturday training was conducted on 19 Sep 2020 with both Delta and Fraser Lifeboats exercising together.
After proceeding down to Sand Heads, a pre-exercise briefing was held aboard Delta L/B.
Once again, both lifeboats would practice station keeping and formation turns together as would be required in a real search.
While it looks very simple on a blackboard, it is much more difficult in reality and requires good teamwork and a lot of discipline to ensure an area to be searched is successfully covered.
Both lifeboats exercised at being the ‘guide’ passing required course, speed and spacing. This always proves to be a challenging but rewarding exercise.
It is hoped that the exercise will be expanded to include other SAR units in the near future.
While transiting back to Ladner, the Delta L/B received a radio hail from a Seaspan rail ferry concerned about commercial traffic being encumbered by the mass of recreational fishing vessels at the mouth of the river. Coast Guard Radio also monitored and passed information to the ferry suggesting the captain call DFO for action.
Just another hazard that could result in a tragic accident because of those who do not follow logical rules and common sense.
On Thurs 17 Sep 2020, while smoke from fires in the U.S. continued to blanket B.C., the evenings training saw the Delta Lifeboat conduct coxswain, radar, and RHIB training.
The RHIB was sent away to test for radar tracking as it had been fitted with a new radar reflector. Being a small rubber boat, the RHIB had previously only shown up as a small target. A much-improved echo was now recorded at 2 miles.
Owing to very high tide, there was a huge amount of wood from 60-foot trees to small pieces. Unfortunately, the RHIB ran over a piece of debris in the dark and damaged the propeller, requiring a new one to be ordered. This was the first time it had been damaged in over 10 years!
New recruits also spent time as lookouts and helmsman introducing them to correct reporting and procedures. We are grateful for their enthusiasm.