The lifeboats will be used for search-and-rescue operations across the country, and two of them are planned to be based in B.C. The vessels are expected to be delivered by March 2011.
The announcement was made at the Victoria Shipyards by Stockwell Day, Minister of International Trade, on behalf of Fisheries Minister Gail Shea.
“Sometimes we forget that there are men and women out there patrolling those coast lines, so we need to make sure they’re properly equipped to do that job,” Day said.
He added that when he was younger, he used to work as a deckhand for his father who operated a salmon trawler. When there was a gale warn
ing and all the other boats were headed back for safety, Day said, “it was quite a sight to see the coast guard were heading the other way into danger.”
Aside from the two vessels planned for B.C., one lifeboat each is planned for Ontario, Quebec and Nova Scotia. The vessels will add to an existing fleet of 31, 14-metre motor lifeboats in the Canadian Coast Guard.
The high-speed, self-righting vessels will give the coast guard “that extra reach,” Duke Snider, assistant commissioner of the Canadian Coast Guard Pacific Region, said.
Malcolm Barker, vice-president of Victoria Shipyard Co. Ltd., added that the vessels have a long cruising radius and are specially designed to withstand severe conditions.
“They can go out when no one else would even think about going out,” he said.
Barker said that the company has been the main provider of these motor lifeboats to the Coast Guard thus far. The company was awarded the contract after a competitive process held by the federal governent across the country.
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