Canadian Coast Guard Inshore Rescue Boat North Completes Summer Season
Yellowknife, Northwest Territories - The Canadian Coast Guard’s Inshore Rescue Boat (IRB) station in Rankin Inlet, Nunavut completed its third season of providing maritime search and rescue services on Tuesday, October 27, 2020.
The station opened in June 2018, as part of the federal government’s Oceans Protection Plan, to improve marine safety in Arctic waters in collaboration with Indigenous communities. In the North, the IRB program is operated by Indigenous post-secondary students. This year, the station opened on June 17, and provided essential search and rescue services during the summer boating season.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, extra safety precautions were implemented this season. Crews were on a 28-day cycle, which included 14 days of isolation in Winnipeg, Manitoba, followed by 14 days at the Rankin Inlet IRB station. The adaptability of IRB crews ensured Coast Guard continued delivering 24/7 search and rescue services to the Nunavut communities of Rankin Inlet, Chesterfield Inlet, and Whale Cove.
During operations in Rankin Inlet, crews participated in training, including medical emergency response, chart work, seafaring, and developing skills in rough water vessel handling and towing. Crews also participated in Inuit Qaujimajatuqangit (Inuit Traditional Knowledge) information sessions led by local elders from Rankin Inlet while adhering to Coast Guard’s COVID-19 National Standard Operating Procedures. Crews also increased their knowledge of response areas by learning local Inuit place names, including for islands, inlets, and points of land. These Inuktitut names were added to Coast Guard charts and GPS devices on vessels.
Throughout this season, the IRB crew carried out 3 training exercises, responded to 6 cases, and travelled over 2062 nautical miles. In Rankin Inlet, the IRB crew is an important part of the emergency response system, and works closely with the Canadian Coast Guard Auxiliary, Inuit communities, and other northern organizations to increase maritime safety in the Arctic.
The Coast Guard employs post-secondary students from coast to coast to coast through the IRB program to provide supplementary maritime search and rescue services during the busy summer boating season. Visit jobs.gc.ca to apply for next year’s Rankin Inlet crew.
Marine emergencies can be called into the Joint Rescue Coordination Centre in Trenton 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, at 1-800-267-7270; to a Canadian Coast Guard Marine Communications and Traffic Services Centre by VHF radio (channel 16); or, by dialing *16 on a cell phone.
Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard Arctic Region
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