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Quinte Search and Rescue launches for season on Saturday

Volunteer units conducting joint training exercises on the Bay of Quinte.

Quinte Search and Rescue (QSAR)will be back in the water Saturday, April 6 to start another season of service.

The boats will be launched Saturday morning with sea trials to follow and the crews are planning to introduce the vessels to local members of the Navy League of Canada, including rides over the noon hour.

With the ice vanishing from the Bay of Quinte another season of service has begun for the QSAR volunteers.

Most of the taskings for QSAR come from the Joint rescue Coordination Centre at CFB Trenton and all missions are conducted under the umbrella of the Canadian Coast Guard.

Kerwin says it’s important to note there are four other area units of the Canadian Coast Guard Auxiliary with volunteers on the water. From Picton (Avalon Rescue), Wellington (Wellington Rescue), Waupoos (Waupoos Rescue) and Brighton (Brighton Auxiliary Rescue).

The local unit of the Canadian Coast Guard Auxiliary, equipped with two custom-built boats, is available 24/7 throughout the boating season to assist mariners in trouble between the Murray Canal and Napanee and south into the waters of Prince Edward County.

The primary vessel is the Bruce A. Sutcliffe a 29-foot purpose-built rescue boat equipped with twin Evinrude E-tec 200 H.O. outboard motors that can speed a rescue team to their destination at over 40 knots.

The 20 foot Stu Meeks, launched in 2017, is also a purpose-built vessel which is powered by a 115 Evinrude H.O. and often works in tandem with the larger boat during rescues and training exercises that include navigation, simulated rescue scenarios, search patterns, man overboard drills and first aid on a moving vessel. The Meeks came into service in 2017 funded largely through a $25,000 donation from the Belleville Lions Club.

The Sutcliffe also participates in training exercises with 424 Squadron from CFB Trenton. Both are being returned to the water on Saturday and are back at their designated boat slip at the Stu Meeks Memorial Rescue Dock located at Meyer’s Pier in Belleville

Freeing stranded boats and towing disabled vessels are standard fare for the unit but dry land training over the winter and on water training all summer are designed to equip the team for a wide variety of situations. Both vessels are equipped with first aid equipment and the Sutcliffe has de-watering gear.

Past missions have included looking for lost hunters, persons who have fallen overboard and guiding people who have become overdue because they were disoriented while boating at night. QSAR also provides safety patrols for some larger events including fishing derbies. There were 21 missions in 2018 and over 100 hours of on water and in classroom training.

Unit leader Paul Kerwin is keen to remind the public, particularly boaters, that Quinte Search and Rescue is a not-for-profit, volunteer 24 hour search and rescue marine unit that has served the community for more than 40 years.

“We are an accredited and active unit in good standing with the Canadian Coast Guard Auxiliary Central & Arctic Region.”

“The unit relies on support from the community to keep the essential and needed marine rescue unit operational and continually advancing. We are your friends, family and fellow residents who volunteer our personal time to keeping our waters safe, and responding to emergencies whenever the need arises and in doing so we are one of the busiest Coast Guard Auxiliary Units in the entire region.”

For anyone wanting more information or wishing to become a volunteer, contact QSAR at . Visit

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