UPDATE - Overturned boat at Jordan River

November 28th, 2011

We’ve just been notified that the rescue surfer was in fact two surfers who assisted the boater from the mission at Jordan River yesterday afternoon.

None other than off duty Coast Guard member Thomas Kerr and Shirley VFD chief Donovan Ray. Kudos to both.

Thank you for the update. Awaiting status of person pulled from water.

Overturned boat at Jordan River

November 27th, 2011

At approximately 3:30pm, Sunday Nov. 27th, 2011, Canadian Coast Guard Aux. Unit #37 was tasked with a MAYDAY call. A 14′ aluminum boat had overturned leaving one person in the water approximately 0.5 nm off the shores of Jordan River in large seas.

Our unit brought our 2 RHIBS to attend the scene. On a calm day it takes about 20-25 minutes to get to JR at 30knts. It was clear to us upon exiting Sooke Harbour, passing Whiffin Spit into the open waters of Juan de Fuca Strait, it would be much longer in arriving. Facing 8-10 foot seas, we exited the harbour and headed for Jordan River.

As we passed Otter Point, 8 miles away from our base, a USGC Helo from Port Angeles quickly passed overhead. They had heard the MAYDAY call and proceeded for Jordan River. It’s wonderful to know that our two countries have no boundaries when it comes to situations like this and all hands available are there to assist. We have encountered this numerous times over the past years. Working together to get the tasking done.

We could also hear the sirens of police, ambulance and fire racing to the scene from Sooke and we could make our the flashing lights on Sooke Rd. Shirley Fire Rescue would likely have been the first tasked and the first to make it to Jordan River.

At Sheringham Lighthouse we stopped the boats to receive a transmission from Coast Guard Radio. An update to the situation. A surfer(s) had witnessed the boat being overturned from shore and one of them headed out on their board to assist the person. They had successfully brought the person back to shore to the waiting EMS.

However, two other people in ocean kayaks decided they would also try to lend a helping hand and proceeded out in the direction of the overturned boat. They seemed to be having difficulties after and reports had them overturned a couple of times. Coast Guard wanted us to assist them now. Keep in mind that JR is a great surfing spot so these waves are very large right now considering the weather we’ve been having and the wind storms.

As we arrived on scene both USCG and Canadian Coast Guard Helo’s were present, one on land ready to take the patient if needed and the other flying around to assist again if needed until the kayakers were brought safely to shore.

We quickly located the overturned vessel but left that to lend a hand to the kayakers. They were approx. 0.25nm off shore and were stationary in the water. The Spirit of Sooke took one of the kayakers and put them on the boat and quickly took him to shore because he didn’t think he would be able to safely make it back in . The other kayaker said he didn’t need any help and he made his way safely back to shore under his own power, with us closely following behind.

After everyone was safely brought back to shore we started our search of the overturned vessel but we only had a moment before the sun finally dipped into the ocean rending us helpless to locate it in those heavy seas.

In my opinion it probably went under the water to the bottom. The bow was just poking out of the water when we first located it, so it clearly had poor flotation and it would probably would only take a couple of those large waves to send it to its final resting position.

It took us another hour to navigate back to our base in the Sooke Harbour in the dark with those large waves.

Very pleased to say all crew performed extremely well. Proud to call all of them crew mates and would like to thank the CG Helo and the USCG Helo as well.

I don’t know who the surfer was that managed to get the person out of the water, but would like to extend a huge thank you as well for risking it all and bringing him safely back to shore to the waiting EMS. Well done.

And another big thanks to the ocean kayakers who also put it out on the line to assist. Thank you very much for trying. Greatly appreciated.

I don’t know the status of the person taken to hospital, but if I find out I will update this and let everyone know.

Unit 37 out!

For more information on our unit, please visit our official website at http://www.ccga37.org

Global National coverage using CCGA-P Aux.37 footage.

April 7th, 2011

We were contacted today by the Head Office of the CCGA-P in Victoria because Global National Television is doing a piece on the upcoming marriage of William and Kate, the Royal Couple. How does that relate to us you might ask? Well, the couple getting married has stated that they would like people to donate to non-profit organizations in Canada and Australia as gifts from them and they’ve chosen CCGA as one of the organizations that they official support amongst a few. How cool is that?

In doing so it was noted that we have some great training footage on YouTube and Global National asked if they could use it in their piece. Of course we’d agree to that!

I’ve asked when the story will run and they thought it might be this weekend. Either way, if you miss it, we’ll be given a copy of the footage so we can showcase it on our website.

If you’d like to see the whole training footage, please click the link below.


Thursday 31, 2011 - Dinghy afloat in Sooke Harbour

April 3rd, 2011

Approximately 7pm last Thursday, the night shift received a page 2, empty dinghy adrift in Sooke Harbour. 5 crew arrived at the Spirit of Sooke and off they went to investigate this boat. It only took 5 minutes to locate. It was in rough shape, had a lot of debris and green algae in the bottom and didn’t appear to have been used recently. Most likely came off a dock or the shore.

We attached a tow line to it and proceeded to bring it back to our home base.

Unit #37 receives an award for “Sooke Swimmer” mission.

November 8th, 2010

On November the 7th, Sooke crew members Russ Nicks and Jason van der Valk attended the AGM in Nanaimo, BC where we were presented an award for an outstanding mission our crew and unit attended to on July 22, 2010 in the Sooke Harbour. Two other crew members who did not attend this AGM but were also awarded this plaque, were Colin Davenport and Robert Ames, both on that mission, congrats guys, well deserved.

Following is the RCMP write-up about this mission.

“A 25 year old Michigan man was rescued by the Canadian Coast Guard Auxiliary yesterday evening, after a failed attempt to swim across the Sooke Basin. Sooke RCMP responded to a call for assistance from the Rescue Coordination Centre, and attended the Basin to view the man floundering in the water. The Coast Guard Auxiliary were ultimately able to coordinate the location of the swimmer with RCMP and Fire personnel on scene. The man was fished out of the water and was found to be incoherent and shivering.

“He was found to be wearing only swim trunks” said Sooke RCMP Corporal Scott Hilderley. “He was transported by ambulance to the hospital to be treated for hypothermia. With the quick onset of that condition, combined with the tides and the current, he was lucky to have been rescued in time. Without the quick response from the Auxiliary Coast Guard, Fire Department and Police, the likelihood that he would have survived would have been minimal. As it now stands, he has firsthand wisdom of “what not to do” to impart to his future kids and grandkids.”

Cpl Scott Hilderley
Sooke RCMP

Also, we have a video outlining the event, please watch the video here.

Sooke Swimmer

*VIDEO* Training with Unit #37

June 19th, 2010

This is a recent video of Unit #37 training in the Juan de Fuca Strait, near Sooke on Vancouver Island.

We are always looking for new volunteers. Please contact us if you are interested in learning more on being a volunteer with the Canadian Coast Guard Auxiliary Pacific.


April 22, 2009 - On-water training tonight.

April 22nd, 2009

Tonight unit 37 in Sooke will conduct on-water training. We’ll be heading into the Sooke Basin as well as the strait to practice with radar training. Since the windy is fairly brisk, I imagine that we will also practice heavy weather boat handling.

We are leaving the dock at 18:30 hrs and should arrive back at dock around 21:00 hrs.

If anyone has any questions or comments, pleaes feel free to let us know.

Welcome to the CCGA #37 new website.

January 28th, 2009

Welcome to our new website. We hope this website will allow the community of Sooke to see what CCGA-P Unit #37 is all about. We’ll update the latest news section from time to time with new events and happenings. We’ll add to the photo galleries and share stories.

We are always looking for new members. You do not need to be experiences, nor do you need to have any formal training. Once you become a member, the Sooke Coast Guard Aux. will train you in all aspects of SAR related training.

For more information or if you have any questions, please feel free to contact us.

We look forward to hearing from you.