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Sea Island Coast Guard prepping for busy season

Last Updated Apr 27, 2019 at 10:00 am PDT

One of the Coast Guard hovercraft is seen here in a still from a 2018 video. (Source: Lasia Kretzel/NEWS 1130)

The warm season is a busy time for the Coast Guard

The station gets approximately 300 calls a year

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – It’s the last weekend of April and as we surge towards May, Coast Guard crews at the Sea Island base are prepping for their busy season.

Those manning the two hovercraft will start to see the bulk of their annual calls once the weather warms up. Fall and winter, even early spring are for training and necessary maintenance on the hovercraft, and that should be done in the next few weeks, making both available. The 18-year-old Siyay is the older of the two, and the Moytel entered service in 2014. They respond to calls for help, from first aid to boat fires to ships running aground.

Bruce Briggs is the officer in charge of the Sea Island Coast Guard base. He says the team has been doing pilot training during the off season.

“We have got a new course of divers right now, so hopefully everything is in place for the start of the busy season,” he says.

“The station on average gets approximately 300 calls a year and certainly the majority of them happen in the summertime. As to what type of call, we can get any type of call. Anything from a vessel aground to a boat on fire. There’s no set type of call that we’ll get. When you come to work, you just never really know what you’re going to get.”

The base is also responsible for handling first aid calls at Wreck Beach, where the hundreds of steps can make evacuations impossible.

“We’ve got a pretty standard approach to that with all the stairs,” Briggs says. “We assist the police and the ambulance service in helping people that get injured on the beach. We take them around to the west concession. We’ll do a couple dozen of those every summer, certainly.”