A Canadian Coast Guard indigenous crew works aboard a RIB (rigid hull inflatable boat) at the Arctic Marine Response Station in Rankin Inlet in June of 2024. Photo courtesy Canadian Coast GuardDarrell Greer, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

The Canadian Coast Guard’s Arctic Marine Response Station (AMRS), formerly known as the Inshore Rescue Boat North station, in Rankin Inlet is now open for the season.  

The AMRS opened in 2018, establishing it as the first Canadian Coast Guard search-and-rescue (SAR) facility in the Arctic. The station is crewed by indigenous staff, hired and trained by the Canadian Coast Guard. It represents a significant milestone under Canada’s Oceans Protection Plan, which is improving marine safety in Arctic waters in collaboration with indigenous communities.  

In Rankin, the AMRS crew is an important part of the marine emergency preparedness and response system, working together with the Canadian Coast Guard Auxiliary, Inuit communities, and other Northern organizations to increase maritime safety in the Arctic.

Coast Guard spokesperson Jeremy Hennessy said the role of the AMRS is to provide SAR response to the Rankin Inlet area and Western Hudson Bay during the open-water months, which are typically from June until about early-to-mid October annually.

Hennessy said, on average, the AMRS will have between three-to-five responses a year.

He said there’s a wide range of reasons why a crew from the AMRS may have to respond to some folks in distress.

“It could be a medical emergency out on a boat, a missing or overdue boater, a grounded vessel, a vessel taking on water or a disabled vessel,” said Hennessy. “You name it and they do it all.”

Hennessy said the AMRS’s active period sees a crew of four respond to a distress call.

He said there are two crews during the season, working on a two-week-on, two-week-off rotation.

“The crews use what’s called a RIB, which is a rigid hull inflatable boat. It’s like a Zodiac frame, if you will, but it has a small cabin. So the crew members are sheltered and they’re not getting sprayed if they’re out there in rough water or anything like that.

“While the crews are on duty for the two weeks, they’re living together and spending most of their time together at the station.  

“Another thing they do, because Rankin Inlet is not a huge community, is that they get quite involved with things such as public safety sessions. They’ll participate in community events, where they get to bring the boat and equipment along to let folks know here’s what we do and here’s a first-hand look at the gear we use and everything.

“So, folks in the area know them. They know the crew is Coast Guard and that’s what they do, type of thing. I’ve heard good things from the community and the crews about these events. Everybody loves them, so it’s a win-win situation.”

Marine emergencies can be reported 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, toll-free at 1-800-267-7270 or by VHF radio (channel 16).  

The AMRS will close for the season on Oct. 22, 2024.

By Darrell Greer, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

Original Published on Jul 03, 2024 at 06:45

This item reprinted with permission from   Kivalliq News   Rankin Inlet, Nunavut

Comments are Welcome - Leave a reply below - Posts are moderated