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Old 05-10-2011, 09:24   #1
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Canada Maritime Search and Rescue

I saw this documentary the other day on CBS - The Fifth Estate. It is unfortunately available only to Canadian viewers. If anybody on this forum can figure out a way to make it available to all, it's worth watching. Gord?

Mayday - the fifth estate

According to this, our response time to a Mayday is among the slowest in the world. Our Coast Guard is on duty Monday to Friday, 8-4, except statutory holidays. They go home at 4 pm and if a Mayday call is received after that they have two hours to get the rescue helicopters off the ground. Our Cormorant helicopters require 50 hours of maintenance for every hour of flight. There are compelling stories of lives that were lost because rescue arrived too late.
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Old 05-10-2011, 14:01   #2
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Re: Canada Maritime Search and Rescue

I understand from what CBS writes that it would be illegal to make this documentary available to non-Canadians.

Alain
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Old 05-10-2011, 15:14   #3
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Re: Canada Maritime Search and Rescue

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Originally Posted by sailingmonica View Post
I saw this documentary the other day on CBS - The Fifth Estate. It is unfortunately available only to Canadian viewers. If anybody on this forum can figure out a way to make it available to all, it's worth watching. Gord?

Mayday - the fifth estate

According to this, our response time to a Mayday is among the slowest in the world. Our Coast Guard is on duty Monday to Friday, 8-4, except statutory holidays. They go home at 4 pm and if a Mayday call is received after that they have two hours to get the rescue helicopters off the ground. Our Cormorant helicopters require 50 hours of maintenance for every hour of flight. There are compelling stories of lives that were lost because rescue arrived too late.
I'm not a fan of The Fifth Estate's reporting, they fail to mention that Canada has vast stretch's of sparsely populated coast and a much smaller tax base than the other areas they mentioned. They seem to rely on interviews with bitter former employees with an axe to grind. I've also noticed that their interviews are heavily edited and are always one sided. That said, I think the military should get out of the sar business. I don't have much faith in Government's ability to coordinate between agencies. I also wonder how much use the Coast Guard Auxiliary vessels that are stationed in various ports are getting.
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Old 05-10-2011, 15:55   #4
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Re: Canada Maritime Search and Rescue

Personally I think the 5th estate usually hits the nail on the head. They are a much needed counterpoint to the propaganda that our government spews out. This article almost made me sick to my stomach because of the absolute disregard for life that the government, and Peter McKay in particular, is showing in SAR operations. The gutting of the Coast Guard has been underway for many years and the fact that SAR is under the military is nonsense.
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Old 05-10-2011, 16:08   #5
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Re: Canada Maritime Search and Rescue

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Personally I think the 5th estate usually hits the nail on the head. They are a much needed counterpoint to the propaganda that our government spews out. This article almost made me sick to my stomach because of the absolute disregard for life that the government, and Peter McKay in particular, is showing in SAR operations. The gutting of the Coast Guard has been underway for many years and the fact that SAR is under the military is nonsense.
I agree with most of what you say, but if The Fifth Estate ever knocks on your door, don't answer. Only half of what you say will make it to air.
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Old 05-10-2011, 16:31   #6
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Re: Canada Maritime Search and Rescue

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Only half of what you say will make it to air.
That could be because I talk a lot and they have limited air time.
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Old 05-10-2011, 16:36   #7
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Re: Canada Maritime Search and Rescue

Isn't the Fifth Estate on CBC?
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Old 05-10-2011, 16:56   #8
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Re: Canada Maritime Search and Rescue

There is a SAR Officer on duty 24/7. Calls through Ch16, or any Vessel Traffic or Port channel are monitored 24/7 and relayed immediately. NOTHING quiets the bridge of a CG Radio/VTS like a distress call & several people become involved in the process immediately. As for the Cormorants, the maintenance schedule is, on average, as described, but they are always able to go when needed. With the exception of New Zealand's phenomenal response capabilities, Canada does not lag behind any other countries. Certainly, more money needs to be spent to enable ongoing coverage of a country of such magnitude and geographical challenges, but the stakeholders in commercial shipping seem to be able to exert pressure on our government in this regard. The MCTSO's on the West Coast are also in constant contact with Seattle Traffic(05A) and the SAR co-ordination centres share responsibilities with USCG, on both shared coasts and the southern & northern extents of the B.C. intercoastalway.
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Old 05-10-2011, 17:04   #9
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Re: Canada Maritime Search and Rescue

bangkaboat, your experience is Vancouver area. Did you watch the video? They were talking about the NLL area in particular and Atlantic ocean in general.

How you can possibly say that we do not lag behind other countries shows a complete ignorance of the Canadian Coast Guard and Canada's SAR system in particular. How you could compare that to the US Coast Guard I will never know. But it is not just the US, it is also UK, Norway, Sweden, Australia and NZ that have much more in the way of resources than we do.
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Old 05-10-2011, 17:46   #10
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Re: Canada Maritime Search and Rescue

I would say given the remarks in the TSB report on the sinking of the Concordia & the rescue of her crew that our response is still better than some countries.
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Old 05-10-2011, 18:40   #11
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Re: Canada Maritime Search and Rescue

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questions about delays in sending search aircraft
Sounds like we may have some things in common with Brazil SAR.
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Old 05-10-2011, 19:35   #12
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Re: Canada Maritime Search and Rescue

On the east coast the response may be poor but my impression is that in the great lakes there is good coverage and response times. Of course, the lakes have larger boating population and a smaller body of water to cover to so it makes sense. It all comes down to dollars, and what other priorities (real or imagined) that take precedence.
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Old 05-10-2011, 19:35   #13
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Re: Canada Maritime Search and Rescue

I'm unsure why pleasure boaters have this attitude that they are entiltled to SAR by Coast Guard, Military or whoever. What ever happened to self reliance, helping each out others at sea and being prepared for ANY emergency.
The reason most folks go cruising from what I understand is to cut the cord with shoreside amenities, enjoy the beauty of the ocean and the solitude of being out there alone or with another who shares your passion.
I've both cruised and worked the ocean most of my life and we always prided our selves on our ability to plan and survive any eventuality. Those that didn't fulfill Darwins' theory of evolution.
I'm sure this will invite heaps of negative response, so fire away! Cheers, Capt Phil
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Old 05-10-2011, 19:53   #14
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Re: Canada Maritime Search and Rescue

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Originally Posted by Capt Phil View Post
I'm unsure why pleasure boaters have this attitude that they are entiltled to SAR by Coast Guard, Military or whoever. What ever happened to self reliance, helping each out others at sea and being prepared for ANY emergency.
The reason most folks go cruising from what I understand is to cut the cord with shoreside amenities, enjoy the beauty of the ocean and the solitude of being out there alone or with another who shares your passion.
I've both cruised and worked the ocean most of my life and we always prided our selves on our ability to plan and survive any eventuality. Those that didn't fulfill Darwins' theory of evolution.
I'm sure this will invite heaps of negative response, so fire away! Cheers, Capt Phil
+1 I'll second that!
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Old 05-10-2011, 19:59   #15
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Re: Canada Maritime Search and Rescue

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I'm unsure why pleasure boaters have this attitude that they are entiltled to SAR by Coast Guard, Military or whoever. What ever happened to self reliance, helping each out others at sea and being prepared for ANY emergency.

...I'm sure this will invite heaps of negative response, so fire away!
Incoming!!!

People go out unprepared and do stupid things but we can't just let them die out there because of that. That is not the way a civilized society works.

If you are driving a car and crash, do you not expect EMS to come with the jaws-of-life to get you out of the car? Why should boating be different?

I do what I can to take care of my boat and my crew but I like the knowledge that if I run into trouble, help is at hand. Fault, or stupidity, is not a reason to deny rescue.
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