Training Canada's next Coast Guards: Behind the scenes

We join the Canadian Coast Guard on the water for training day

Emergency Preparedness Week in Canada highlights the contrasting responses to emergencies on land versus water.

While the police or fire department typically handles land-based incidents, the responsibility shifts to the Coast Guard for water emergencies.

As summer brings a surge in rescue operations due to the high number of boaters on the water, the Canadian Coast Guard recruits and trains individuals annually to join the Inshore Rescue Boat crew.

The training includes learning how to respond to mariners in distress or in need of assistance, as well as what to do when a vessel is on fire, disabled, or taking on water. They also simulate having a person overboard and learn how to provide assistance for medical emergencies.

“We’ll get them out in rough weather so they understand how to handle the vessels in rough weather," Inshore Rescue Boat coordinator Sean Jenner tells The Weather Network. "Their water temperature was about 6 degrees, so pretty chilly." 

Once training is complete, the students are deployed to various stations across the country.

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“Usually, when they’re responding, it can be the worst day someone’s ever had," Jenner adds. "We need to make sure our recruits are trained well enough to respond to search and rescue cases in various different conditions all throughout the stations we run in the region."

The Inshore Rescue Boat service was started in the 1970’s as part of Canada’s Career Oriented Summer Employment Program, which became the Federal Student Work Experience Program.

You can check out the training exercise firsthand in the video that leads this article.