March is herring time when the fishing fleet gathers in the Strait of Georgia for the roe herring fishery.
Once again, the ‘Delta Lifeboat’ with her all-volunteer crew onboard sailed from Ladner Harbour to join the fleet in the fishing grounds off the east coast of Vancouver Island between Nanaimo and Comox. Up to 12 Delta-based fish boats take part in this fishery.
This year’s quota of 8,000 tons was down from the 18,000 tons quota for 2019. Close to 90,000 tons of herring were estimated to be in the area during the fishery.
The Delta Lifeboat patrolled and anchored with the fleet out on the grounds where they could respond immediately to any distress calls. During the four days of concentrated fishing, which went on day and night, the lifeboat crew responded to two separate requests for medivac of two fishers from different boats, both with serious hand injuries. The Delta Lifeboat crew provided first aid on-route to Comox where they were transported to the Comox hospital.
A may-day call from a fishing vessel sinking by the bow brought the Delta Lifeboat into action again. They were alongside the distressed vessel in minutes where the situation was stabilized.
These incidents proved the value of the Canadian Lifeboat Institution (CLI) having one of its lifeboats at sea along with the fishing fleet, monitoring radios and maintaining visual watch around the clock rather than being tied up in harbour waiting for a call. In all three of these incidents, the lifeboat was on-scene in under five minutes. Grateful acknowledgement of the Delta Lifeboat crew’s efforts was expressed by Worksafe BC, The Canadian fishing Company and the Canadian Coast Guard.
With the fishery coming to the end, the Delta Lifeboat returned to its station in Ladner Harbour at 15:00 on March 12th.
To all the lifeboat crew ‘BZ’ (Bravo Zulu – a naval term for Well Done).
When two CLI members found themselves at short notice to move to Belgium, they generously donated their 26-foot sailboat to the CLI. The sailboat was moored at Point Roberts WA – USA, but needed to be in Canada to enable CLI to put it up for sale.
It was decided to send the Delta Lifeboat to Point Roberts to tow the yacht to Ladner and so at 0800 on Saturday 22 February, the Lifeboat departed Ladner with a crew of six. The forecast was for NW wind rising to 15 – 20 knots. Not ideal conditions for a 26-foot sailboat to be towed, but an improvement was hoped for. Off Sandheads, a lively 3-foot short caused a lot of spray, but after altering course to the south an easy following sea gave two new recruits a good workout on the wheel.
Arriving in Point Roberts, the RHIB was launched as it was planned to use it to tow the sailboat out of its berth. After securing it alongside the Lifeboat and laying out the towing gear an easy departure was made. Once clear of the harbour, the tow was streamed to 300 feet astern. The RHIB was recovered and the tow was taken up at 6½ knots. Fortunately, the sea had calmed considerably allowing the passage to be made at the sailboat’s hull speed.
With one crew member on the sailboat’s helm, there came a time for the crew change. The transfer was made by launching the RHIB. All of the above proved to be excellent training and was carried out in very good order.
The Lifeboat finally secured back at the station with the sailboat again secured alongside at 1615. A very good day, excellent training, and a job well done.
On Saturday 15 Feb 2020, the Delta Lifeboat conducted crew training in the area known as the ‘Albion Box’ which lies on the south side of the Albion #2 Training Wall. It is a popular fishing area for commercial fishing vessels, but also a place where Recreational vessels sometimes become trapped after losing their way when entering the Fraser River.
The Lifeboats have responded to many incidents in the ‘Box’ over the years even though there is no Hydrographic information on the charts.
The morning exercise, held in heavy rain and fog, was to take sounding and add the information to the appropriate chart for future reference. Two new recruits were able to observe standing procedures onboard and witness several evolutions as well as stand a trick on the wheel. Fraser Lifeboat stayed outside the box and conducted plotting by AIS training for their crew as the Delta conducted its exercise.
After securing back at the Ladner Station, the crew cleaned ship and held a thoughtful debrief. As this was coming to an end, the Ladner Harbour Master advised that he had received a call from a concerned citizen that there was a small vessel requiring assistance in the Captain’s Cove area. There was no other information.
The report was passed to the JRCC who tasked the Delta L/b to proceed and search. The Lifeboat’s RHIB immediately departed to begin the search with the Lifeboat following. The RHIB searched Captain’s Cove and Deas Slough while the Lifeboat conducted a shoreline search of Kirkland Island. After 45 min. with nothing found, the Delta crew was stood down by JRCC and returned to station.
Although nothing was found, it was a most useful training opportunity.
The CLI was very busy at the Vancouver International Boat Show at BC Place. We have had quite a few people showing interest in joining. Our fundraising campaign is doing very well with a lot of donations, which is why Brian is smiling! These donations are SO important to us, as we have to always have alternative means of supporting our operations. Old and new crew members are doing a great job in engaging with the visitors. The Delta Lifeboat participated in the floating boat show part.
On Sunday afternoon the Delta Lifeboat crew responded to a request for medical assistance aboard a Dutch motor vessel in the boat show. Arriving on the scene by foot, members found a 49-year-old female had fallen 6’ down an open engine room hatch. The patient was in shock and severe pain. An assessment left the crew to believe she had a possible broken arm, damage to a knee and a concussion. The patient was removed with great difficulty and secured in the lifeboat stretcher, wrapped and treated for shock. An EHS ambulance was called. After carrying the patient to the head of the ramp members assisted EHS to load her into the ambulance for transport to the hospital.
That evening the crew were relieved to learn that no bones were in fact broken but a week’s bed rest was ordered.
The 2019 CLI Christmas Dinner was held this year again at The Beach Grove Golf Club in Tsawwassen on Saturday 14 Dec. Many crewmembers with spouses, partners, family, friends, and CLI supporters attended the dinner. All the attendees enjoyed the buffet and many were bidding on silent auction items that were donated by crewmembers and businesses. Ken Robertson was surprised by a Happy Birthday song. The Tsawwassen Legion Branch #289 donated $1,000.00 and we also received a donation of $250.00 from the 21 Club. All the proceeds of this evening go towards the CLI so we can keep on doing what we do best, Saving Lives at Sea.
Update: In grand total, we raised about $8000, well-done everyone!