Royal Canadian Navy Search and Rescue gets a new facility in Salmon Arm.

The volunteer, non-profit organization provides on-water search and rescue services in British Columbia through its 31 stations.

On May 19, 2012, RCMSAR Station 106 Shuswap was officially commissioned, and within hours the Rescue One vessel and crew were dispatched for the first mission, a medical emergency.

In subsequent years, the ships were moored to a dock year-round, ready to respond to any emergency calls.

There have been ongoing discussions about the need for a boathouse to protect and maintain rescue vessels, and earlier this week a groundbreaking ceremony was held at the new facility.

The Shuswap Lifeboat Society began setting aside donations from individuals, corporations, and service clubs in 2014, and in 2017 planning for a floating facility, as well as dedicated fundraising, began in earnest.

“These efforts culminated in 2022, with over $100,000 accumulated in our restricted account for the lifeboat base and the approval of a construction loan,” said Bruce Weicker, president of the Shuswap Lifeboat Society.

“The Shuswap Regional District of Columbia and member municipalities, the City of Salmon Arm and the District of Sicamous are supporting this initiative by servicing the debt for the loan. With the final piece of the financial plan in place, a $250,000 grant from the BC Community Gaming Branch, we are now ready to proceed with construction in June.

Station Manager Rob Sutherland said he was “delighted to finally be able to centralize all of our assets into one protected area. The boathouse will save us time when deploying, provide security and protect our expensive rescue vessels from the harshness of winter and the scorching sun of summer.

Pat Gau, the company’s vice president, said, “Using marine-grade aluminum and steel for structural stability will ensure our rescue base will last for decades, and we’re building it with Green in Mind.”

With no turf to turn over, the first shovelful will be a token first weld of an aluminum component of the rescue base by Rob Sutherland, who was station manager at the launch in 2012.