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Coast Guard delivers new S&R lifeboat

The Gabarus Bay was delivered to Burgeo last week. – Courtesy of the Canadian Coast Guard ©

By Jaymie White Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

BURGEO — On Thursday afternoon, Aug. 31, the Canadian Coast Guard announced an expansion to their fleet. The vessel was is a search and rescue lifeboat, and was delivered to the community on the previous day. The Canadian Coast Guard, who plays an essential role in ensuring the safety of mariners and protecting Canada’s marine environment, stated in their news release that, through the National Shipbuilding Strategy, the Government of Canada has made it a priority to provide Canadian Coast Guard members with the vessels they need to continue to deliver these critical services to Canadians. Each year, the Canadian Coast Guard responds to over 6,000 calls for marine assistance. On an average day, they coordinate the response to 19 search and rescue incidents, assist 68 people and save 18 lives. They also support Canada’s economic growth through the safe and efficient movement of maritime trade, helping to ensure Canada’s sovereignty and security through their presence in Canadian waters. The Canadian Coast Guard officially welcomed the CCGS Gabarus Bay to its fleet at the Lifeboat Station in Burgeo, Newfoundland and Labrador. This high-endurance search and rescue vessel is designed, equipped and crewed to respond to mariners needing assistance at sea. The CCGS Gabarus Bay is classed as a search and rescue lifeboat, with a top speed up to 25 knots, and has a crew of four. Gary Ivany, Assistant Commissioner Canadian Coast Guard Atlantic Region, alongside Elder Elaine Ingram and vessel sponsor Glen Hann, participated in the traditional breaking of a ceremonial bottle upon the ship’s bow. “Our Government will always be there to protect our mariners and, through the renewal of the Canadian Coast Guard fleet, will give them the resources they need to do their jobs safely. The CCGS Gabarus Bay will enable Coast Guard staff to respond safely, effectively and efficiently to rescue incidents using state-of-the-art equipment,” said Diane Lebouthiller, Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard. In December 2022, CCGS Gabarus Bay was the 13th search and rescue lifeboat accepted by the Government of Canada and was delivered to Burgeo in April 2023. The vessel is one of 20 new search and rescue lifeboats that will be dedicated into service by the Canadian Coast Guard across the country and named after geographical Canadian bays. These vessels will operate up to 100 nautical miles from shore, maintain a maximum 30 minute state-of-readiness, and are typically ready to respond the moment an alert is received. The 20 vessels are being built by Chantier Naval Forillon out of Gaspé, Quebec, and Hike Metal Products out of Wheatley, Ontario. 10 vessels are being built per shipyard as part of the small vessels construction portion of the National Shipbuilding Strategy. The total project cost is $180 million. The lifeboats are informally referred to as “Bay Class” as each vessel is named after a Canadian bay. The remaining six Bay Class vessels are scheduled to be delivered over the next 2 years, with the last vessel delivery projected for 2025. The Bay Class vessels play a key role in the safety of mariners and support essential services on our coasts. These shore-stationed self-righting lifeboats were built to provide key search and rescue services, including:

  1. conducting searches on water

  2. responding to marine distress calls

  3. providing assistance to disabled vessels

  4. operate up to 100 nautical miles from shore

  5. replace the Canadian Coast Guard’s existing search and rescue vessels “To the people of the Long Range Mountains in Newfoundland and Labrador, the CCGS Gabarus Bay stationed in Burgeo is a reassuring presence,” said Gudie Hutchings, Minister of Rural Economic Development and Minister for Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency and Member of Parliament for Long Range Mountains. “We are people of the sea in coastal communities. Many rely on the water for their livelihood, recreation, and simply enjoyment. This vessel now gives peace of mind to all those on shore for folks to return safely.”

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