Record marine rescue season for volunteers with work still to do

The volunteers of South Shore Search And Rescue were called out 43 times in the 2022 boating season, a number that equals the record set in 2020 for rescue calls in a single year, the head of the marine volunteer group told members this week.

The 2022 tally included another record — eight victims saved in a single mission. It is the most people saved in a single call in the organization's history.

"By any measure, 2022 was an extraordinary season," unit leader Sean Coffey told members. "In addition to the volume of calls, the diversity of situations we met on the water challenged our crews. They met that challenge with discipline, skill and commitment."

The rescue volunteers came to the aid of disabled and overdue boats, vessels aground, persons in the water and other emergencies. The season saw an increase in the number of small, self-powered vessels like paddle boards in distress and people on inflatable pool toys adrift on the lake.

Preliminary data from the 2022 season shows the average response time for the rescuers was 11 minutes. The crews logged more than 50 hours on rescue missions.

And while the rescue vessel has been hauled out for the winter, the volunteers' work on land continues, Coffey reminded members. The volunteers will be canvassing local businesses to collect gift cards and gift certificates for the annual online charity auction November 23 through November 26, 2022. The group's largest fundraiser of the year, the auction provides the essential funds for vital fuel, maintenance, training and repairs. Details are available at www.gamru.ca/auction.

The fall is also recruitment time for new members. Membership is open to anyone in the community. Candidates for crew must be 18 years or older, live within easy driving distance of the base at Fifty Point and physically able to function in a difficult marine environment; volunteers to help with projects like fundraising are also welcome. Interested candidates should contact Matthew Tulk at membership@gamru.ca.

Marine rescue heroes meet their investment in South Shore safety - STONEY CREEK, Ont. (Sept. 16, 2021)

The newest heroes of marine rescue on Lake Ontario are the donors who invested in the sophisticated new rescue boat now saving lives on the water.

That was the message to the donors of a multi-year campaign to acquire the new boat for the volunteers of GAMRU South Shore Search And Rescue at a meeting to celebrate the contributors to the boat fund.

“That makes you our heroes,” unit leader Matt Tulk told donors assembled here to tour the new vessel.