Police Service special fund donation helps marine rescuers into 2017 season
NIAGARA FALLS, Ont. - A generous donation by the Regional Municipality of Niagara Police Services Board and the Niagara Regional Police Service will help the volunteer marine rescue group serving the south shore of Lake Ontario face the challenges of the 2017 boating season.
The donation to the Grimsby Auxiliary Marine Unit was announced today by Unit Leader Bob Gordon. The donation of $1,000 was as a result of a special fund request made by Chief Jeff McGuire of the Niagara Regional Police Service to the Regional Municipality of Niagara Police Services Board.
"We are grateful for every donation that helps us maintain the vital marine search-and- rescue services we provide the mariners of Lake Ontario," said Gordon, "but a donation coming from an agency we consider to be partners in providing safety on the water is especially gratifying. We enjoy a good working relationship with the Niagara Regional Police Service and this is testament to that relationship."
The Regional Municipality of Niagara Police Services Board Special Fund assists community groups and special events that align with the Niagara Regional Police Service's mandate in accordance with the Police Services Act.
GAMRU has just completed the busiest season in the group's history. During the 2016 boating season, GAMRU volunteers were called out to 34 rescue missions, up from 20 in 2015. In August, the group lost the use of its 22-foot Zodiac Hurricane rigid-hull inflatable boat (RHIB) when the vessel experienced a massive breach of the fibreglass hull while on a rescue mission. The donation will help the volunteers pay for equipment upgrades, maintenance, fuel and the other costs of operating a round-the- clock rescue service in 2017. GAMRU gets no government funding for its operations.
Founded in 1988, GAMRU is the only dedicated marine search and rescue organization on the south shore of Lake Ontario from Hamilton to Port Weller. More than 30 active volunteers maintain fully-equipped rescue vessels and train year-round to maintain the skills and readiness to be effective on the water. GAMRU is a member of the Canadian Coast Guard Auxiliary.
Honda rescues the rescuers . Donation of two Honda outboards puts busy rescue boat back on the water

GRIMSBY, Ont. (August 30, 2017) — Sidelined after a devastating incident last summer, the busy GAMRU South Shore Search And Rescue workhorse rescue boat got back on the water this summer thanks to a generous donation of two new Honda outboard engines by the Honda Canada Foundation.

The two powerful Honda BF90 outboards were donated to the rescue volunteers after the engines on their Zodiac 630 inflatable rescue boat were left awash in water when the hull of the vessel suffered a major failure during a rescue mission last year. 

The hull has been repaired and, with the addition of the new Honda engines, the boat went into service earlier this summer.

“One of the four key pillars of the Honda Canada Foundation is to provide assistance to families in need across Canada. The dedicated volunteers of GAMRU provide an essential on-the-water rescue and protection service on Lake Ontario, ultimately returning people home safely to their families. We couldn’t help but get involved with such a wonderful organization,” said Dave Jamieson, Chair of the Honda Canada Foundation. “Among the most technologically advanced and environmentally sound in the world, Honda engines are not only powerful, but will provide GAMRU with the proven performance and reliability they need.”

“There’s no way to calculate just how important this donation has been to us,” explained GAMRU South Shore Search And Rescue leader Bob Gordon. “We had the choice of trying to fix our old, out-dated engines or attempting to buy new ones. This donation changes everything. Suddenly we’re in a position to be on the water far sooner than we might have been and we’ve replaced old, unreliable two-stroke engines with modern, clean, efficient technology from Honda that is orders of magnitude better than what we had.”

The BF90 outboards utilize modern engine technology to meet rigorous California Air Resources Board (CARB) exhaust emission standards for outboards while offering improved fuel economy. Honda Marine offers a full line of modern, efficient, clean-running 4-stroke outboards, from the portable BF4 to the sophisticated BF250.

The arrival of the two new engines has long-term benefits for one of Lake Ontario’s busiest marine rescue units, Gordon said.

“In addition to extending the life of our old boat, this donation can become the keystone element in a new boat we’ve been planning to replace the Zodiac,” Gordon said. “Now that we have a modern, efficient power system, we can start the process of designing and fund-raising for a boat that we can power with the Hondas. It’s like being given an important piece of a complex puzzle.”

GAMRU volunteers were called to rescue missions 34 times during the 2016 boating season, the busiest summer in the unit’s history. Founded in 1988, GAMRU is the only dedicated marine search and rescue organization on the south shore of Lake Ontario from Hamilton to Port Weller. More than 30 active volunteers maintain fully-equipped rescue vessels and train year-round to maintain the skills and readiness to be effective on the water. GAMRU is a member of the Canadian Coast Guard Auxiliary.

About the Honda Canada Foundation

Formed in 2005, the Honda Canada Foundation (HCF) aims to enable the realization of dreams through various annual philanthropic activities and funding to non-profit registered charities across Canada where Honda customers and associates live, work and play. The HCF focuses on four key pillars – family, environment, engineering and education – and each year more than $1 million is disbursed to groups in need through more than 500 grants. More than five million Canadians have benefited from Honda Canada- and Honda Canada Foundation-funded charitable programs.

Just Energy Foundation donation helps GAMRU upgrade equipment

GRIMSBY, Ontario (August 25, 2016) – A generous donation from the Just Energy Foundation has helped the Grimsby Auxiliary Marine Rescue Unit purchase vital new navigation equipment.

The $2,500 donation was announced in late July and the cheque was presented on August 22, 2016.

GAMRU’s volunteers have a new GPS navigation and chart-plotting system thanks to the donation.

“Our equipment is in constant need of renewal,” explains GAMRU Unit Leader Bob Gordon. “Both of our rescue vessels have been used extensively this year and our work takes a heavy toll on equipment. The Just Energy Foundation donation came at a terrific time for us and has enabled GAMRU to maintain a high standard of readiness.”

The volunteer members of GAMRU have already been called out more times so far this boating season than they were all of last year.

“We are delighted to help support the rescue work of GAMRU through this contribution” says Amy Gasca, Executive Director of the Just Energy Foundation. “We are committed to the communities in which we operate and the Foundation is our way to contribute to their well-being. Comprised of volunteers, and most operating costs supported by volunteer contributions, we are happy to help GAMRU secure vital equipment needed in their service to the community.”

Founded in 1988, GAMRU is the only dedicated marine search and rescue organization on the south shore of Lake Ontario from Hamilton to Port Weller. More than 30 active volunteers maintain fully-equipped rescue vessels and train year- round to ensure the skills and readiness to be effective on the water. GAMRU is a member of the Canadian Coast Guard Auxiliary. 

About Just Energy Foundation

The Just Energy Foundation was established in 2013 by Just Energy Group Inc. to help registered Canadian and U.S. charitable organizations secure the resources required to promote the health and well-being of communities in need. Funded entirely by Just Energy, the Foundation invests in local programs that work to enhance the quality of life in Just Energy's operating markets towards building stronger and supportive communities. Visit justenergyfoundation.com to learn more.

‘Catastrophic failure’ of rescue boat leaves GAMRU volunteers high and dry

GRIMSBY, Ontario (August 16, 2016) — A Grimsby Auxiliary Marine Rescue Unit boat that suffered a ‘catastrophic failure’ during a rescue mission on Saturday has been removed from service during the busiest part of the boating season.

The 22-foot Zodiac Hurricane rigid-hull inflatable boat (RHIB) experienced a massive breach of the fibreglass hull while towing a disabled 42-foot boat during a rescue in Lake Ontario on Saturday morning. The GAMRU volunteer crew completed the mission but had to leave the boat at the Canada Centre for Inland Waters in Hamilton Harbour when it wasn’t safe to continue.

“The majority of the port side of the hull has been delaminated,” GAMRU Chief of Operations Ben Upper told members. The hull suffered a major crack down the side and a large portion of the exterior fibreglass separated from the bottom of the structure, Upper said. “It was a catastrophic failure,” he said, “and right now we don’t know what it will take to fix it — if it can be fixed at all.”

The deck of the vessel was flooded when crews came to retrieve it and attempts to pump out the water were unsuccessful. No cause has been determined but the boat and crew responded to a ‘MayDay’ call in heavy seas on Friday that may have contributed to the failure.

The Zodiac, known as GAMRU 334, is one of two vessels available to the group during the boating season. Described as “the work horse of our fleet,” the versatile vessel was built in 1995 and served with the Canada Coast Guard before going into service with GAMRU.

“This is a significant setback,” said GAMRU Unit Leader Bob Gordon. “We’re fortunate to have our larger, steel-hulled GAMRU 240 vessel that will still give us the capability to respond to rescue missions, but we counted on the Zodiac for fast response, speed and versatility in shallow water. It was a very important part of our operation.”

The unit will determine if it can obtain a short-term loan of a suitable vessel from the Canadian Coast Guard or the Canadian Coast Guard Auxiliary. As of Saturday, GAMRU has been dispatched to 23 rescue missions so far in 2016 — more calls than in all of a busy 2015. August is traditionally a busy month.

Founded in 1988, GAMRU is the only dedicated marine search and rescue organization on the south shore of Lake Ontario from Hamilton to Port Weller. More than 30 active volunteers maintain fully-equipped rescue vessels and train year-round to maintain the skills and readiness to be effective on the water. GAMRU is a member of the Canadian Coast Guard Auxiliary.

Busy GAMRU rescuers ahead of last year’s pace as calls keep coming

GRIMSBY, Ont. (August 8, 2016) — With nearly three months left in the boating season, the volunteers of the Grimsby Auxiliary Marine Rescue Unit have already responded to more calls for help than they did all of last year, the unit said today.

As of August 7, GAMRU crews have been dispatched to 21 calls for assistance on Lake Ontario and adjacent waters, GAMRU Unit Leader Bob Gordon told members. The organization received 20 calls for all of 2015.

The volunteers, who are on call 24 hours a day during the summer months, responded to five calls on the Civic Holiday weekend alone.

The GAMRU crews have responded to every kind of distress call on the lake, including persons in the water, disabled vessels, vessels gone aground and broken down, personal injury and other issues, Gordon said. So far this year, GAMRU vessels have responded to calls for assistance from Hamilton Harbour in the west to the Lower Niagara River in the east.

Although the volunteer members are ready for almost every kind of emergency, Gordon can’t explain the increase in calls this year.

“It could be any number of things that influence the call rate,” he said. “The extended good weather has given many people the chance to get on the water. The cost of fuel is less than in many previous years. And we know that tourism from the U.S. is up everywhere this year,” Gordon said. “Or it could just be misfortune for more boaters who might not normally have needed help on the water.”

Founded in 1988, GAMRU is the only dedicated marine search and rescue organization on the south shore of Lake Ontario from Hamilton to Port Weller. More than 30 active volunteers maintain two fully-equipped rescue vessels and train year-round to maintain the skills and readiness to be effective on the water. GAMRU is a member of the Canadian Coast Guard Auxiliary.