Author Topic: RCN (Reserve) getting into SAR?  (Read 9842 times)

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Offline Privateer

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RCN (Reserve) getting into SAR?
« on: July 23, 2015, 15:21:09 »
I find this bizarre:

"Government of Canada strengthens environmental response and rescue capability in Vancouver"

Quote
The Honourable Jason Kenney, Minister of National Defence, accompanied by the Honourable Kerry-Lynne D. Findlay, P.C., Q.C., Member of Parliament for Delta-Richmond East and Minister of National Revenue, on behalf of the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans, today announced a significant series of enhancements to the Canadian Coast Guard (CCG)’s resources in Vancouver Harbour, including further Department of National Defence (DND) / Canadian Armed Forces support to the Canadian Coast Guard Inshore Rescue Boat (IRB) Station located in downtown Vancouver. Increased cooperation between the Royal Canadian Navy (RCN) and CCG will boost the latter’s capability to respond to marine pollution incidents and conduct search-and-rescue operations in the Vancouver Harbour area.

The IRB Station operates out of Her Majesty's Canadian Ship (HMCS) Discovery,a facility operated by the Royal Canadian Navy. As part of the coordination between the Navy and the Coast Guard, HMCS Discovery will set aside office space for a new CCG Environmental Response office. A CCG Pollution Response Vessel will also be docked at HMCS Discovery to provide a base of operations for CCG crews responding to reports of pollution in the high vessel-traffic area of Vancouver Harbour. This is the first time that a Coast Guard Pollution Response Vessel will be stationed in Vancouver Harbour on a full time basis.

In addition, the operation of the IRB Station at HMCS Discovery –normally open from May to Labour Day – will be extended to Thanksgiving weekend.

Quick Facts

Additional measures of support to the IRB Station include:
 - increasing the number of Naval Reservists at HMCS Discovery in order to support the IRB program as required;
 - refocusing recruiting efforts to increase the number of personnel at HMCS Discovery who can be trained for search and rescue; and
 - adding another RCN Rigid-Hulled Inflatable Boat to the fleet of three that already support operations at HMCS Discovery. 

DND will also improve existing facilities at HMCS Discovery as part of the $2 million in funding for required maintenance and upgrades to infrastructure at the Naval Reserve Division.

Recent steps to strengthen Coast Guard SAR capabilities include two contracts totaling $89.2 million announced in early July for 12 new search and rescue lifeboats, and a $7.6 million contract for 27 new inshore rescue boats to be stationed across the country to support search and rescue operations for the CCG.

In the past five years, the Government of Canada has delivered over 100 vessels to the CCG, including nine Hero-class Mid-Shore Patrol Vessels; two hovercrafts; five Search and Rescue Lifeboats; three Specialty Vessels; three Near-Shore Fishery Research Vessels; and numerous small boats and environmental barges. CCG is also procuring 22 new helicopters, the first of which arrived in Victoria last week.

link: http://news.gc.ca/web/article-en.do?nid=1005609&tp=1

So reserve RCN members are going to somehow add to a SAR capability in Vancouver?  I do not see how that makes sense. 

Never mind the fact that this government closed the CCG station in Vancouver.

Edited to add:  If RCN reservists are being tasked to support CCG SAR operations, permanently it would seem, is this new tasking coming out of the DND budget, or the CCG budget?
« Last Edit: July 23, 2015, 15:35:09 by Privateer »

Offline Oldgateboatdriver

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Re: RCN (Reserve) getting into SAR?
« Reply #1 on: July 23, 2015, 16:04:19 »
Seems to me to be more smoke screen than anything else.

The jetty facilities at DISCOVERY are more than sufficient to handle a few extra coast guard environment response vessels, IRB and extra RHIB. And there is room enough at the facility (but not much more) for storage of some environmental response gear ashore. As long as it all remains in the hands of the coast guard, there is no real extra cost to the Navy, other than the extra strain on the guard house personnel for letting more people in and out  :).

On the other hand, ALL naval reserve vessels, just like the regular navy ones, are secondary SAR assets and the Coxn's of the Harbour defence RHIBs are all trained in establishing search patterns, life saving of personnel in the water and advanced first aid. So long as they are on the water in various harbour, all the Reserve RHIB Coxns I know have always taken seriously the duty of keeping a lookout for other boats/people in distress on the water.

I don't know what more specific training they would or should get, nor how you "refocus" recruiting efforts, but I do know one thing: It's not up to the Minister of Defence to decide what each individual unit is to do or be tasked with. In DISCOVERY's case, that power lies with the Chief of Maritime Staff in Ottawa, acting through ComNav Res in Quebec City. 

If a fourth RHIB for DISCOVERY means they will have more opportunity to train on the water and there is a little bit of extra funding for this fourth boat, then more power to them. I can't see this going anywhere else: There is no way the RCN wants to see its reservists get involved on a permanent basis in anything with the coast guard. Just too much of an administrative headache and a misuse of  defence dollars.

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Re: RCN (Reserve) getting into SAR?
« Reply #2 on: July 23, 2015, 17:01:44 »
I can't see this going anywhere else: There is no way the RCN wants to see its reservists get involved on a permanent basis in anything with the coast guard. Just too much of an administrative headache and a misuse of  defence dollars.

Someone "who would know" in Ottawa told me that the CCG has partnered with RCN to allow Naval Reservists to be assigned to the Inshore Rescue Boat service. I am told that 25% of the IRB service is currently composed of RCN naval reservists.  (I do not know where "IRB service" exists, currently, myself.)

Offline Oldgateboatdriver

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Re: RCN (Reserve) getting into SAR?
« Reply #3 on: July 23, 2015, 19:31:37 »
Well, the Coast Guard is organized by Regions, not type of service rendered. So, there is no such animal as the "IRB Service".

What the Coast Guard has, however, is a volunteer force called the Canadian Coast Guard Auxiliary, which also operates in each of the regions. One of the duties of this volunteer force is Search and Rescue and boating safety for pleasure crafts. They operate small boats (that some would call large RHIB's) to effect this service in summer, mostly, in the areas of greatest concentration of boaters. It is a supplement to the regular SAR services. I suspect that the "IRB's" are also large RHIBs and therefore, as they seem to operate in summer only, are part of this "volunteer" part of the Coast-Guard.

On the West coast, interestingly enough, the "Auxiliary" is known as the Royal Canadian Marine Search and Rescue Service. I suspect it operates the Vancouver harbour IRB. Considering that nowadays, the naval reservists are not always sent out of unit for training for the whole summer even if fully available, and that they possess skills in large RHIB handling/first aid/boating in general and search paterns/radio/radar operation, I can see how they would be a great asset to such service. however, failing an interdepartmental agreement, participation in another department's provision of service would not be acceptable.

I suspect this is what it's all about, it clears the reservists who wish to participate in the provision of this volunteer service in support of the Coast Guard Auxiliary, while their primary assignment remains the reserve.

Someone more familiar with the Coast Guard may correct any misrepresentations I may have accidentally made above. Colin, is this about right?

Offline Mike5

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Re: RCN (Reserve) getting into SAR?
« Reply #4 on: July 24, 2015, 08:31:41 »
This is about right.  I'm an Army Reservist and I also vounteer with the Canadian Coast Guard Auxiliary.  It's a volunteer, non-profit, charitable organization that receives some funding from the Coast Guard.  I don't see a conflict with Reserve service.  It's similar to volunteering with your local volunteer Fire Department.

To be clear, the article seems to be talking about the Coast Guard, not the Auxiliary.  As well, the Inshore Rescue Boat (IRB) service is operated by the Canadian Coast Guard and not the Auxiliary.  IRB is a paid job, not volunteer.  There was an article on the forces site about a year ago about Navy Reservists who partner with the IRB program.  If I find the link I will post it.
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Online Blackadder1916

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Re: RCN (Reserve) getting into SAR?
« Reply #5 on: July 24, 2015, 11:09:12 »
. . . So, there is no such animal as the "IRB Service".


http://www.ccg-gcc.gc.ca/SAR/IRB-Background

Inshore Rescue Boat Service - Background Information

The Inshore Rescue Boat (IRB) Service was initially established in the mid 1970's as part of the Government's Career Oriented Summer Employment Program (COSEP) which became the Federal Student Work Experience Program (FSWEP) initiative. The goal of this government sponsored program is to provide employment experience and mentorship to post secondary students. This initiative provides students with exposure to "real-life" experiences in various aspects of government operations, while earning a wage to help pay for tuition.

Today, the Canadian Coast Guard (CCG) hires and trains candidates each summer, through the FSWEP program, to become members of an IRB crew. Selected candidates are trained in Search and Rescue operations by CCG regional staff and following successful completion of training, are assigned as crewmembers to IRB stations. Normally, each station is staffed with two teams of three persons, one Coxswain in charge and two crewmembers. Each year, more than 97 candidates are hired as members of an IRB crew through the FSWEP program.

In 2013 the CCG partnered with the Royal Canadian Navy to allow reserve-force Naval personnel to be assigned to the IRB Service, as part of their career training and development. Currently, 25 percent of the IRB Service is composed of Royal Canadian Navy Reserves personnel.  Usually Naval personnel spend one to two seasons assigned to the IRB Service as crew members, and work directly alongside CCG personnel.

IRB Station Locations

The CCG operates 25 IRB stations in 5 regions in Canada with the collaboration of the Canadian Coast Guard's Inshore Rescue Boat Service.
•Region 1 - Newfoundland & Labrador (Notre Dame Bay, Conception Bay, Bonavista Bay)
•Region 2 - Maritimes (Shediac, Charlottetown, Pictou, Saint John, Mahone Bay, Halifax)
•Region 3 - Quebec (Bainsville (Ontario), Oka, Beaconsfield, Longueuil, Sorel, Trois-Rivieres)
•Region 4 - Central and Arctic (Britt on Gereaux Island, Brebeuf Island, Port Lambton, Long Point, Hill Island, Thames River)
•Region 5 - Pacific Region (Nootka Island, Telegraph Cove, Cortes Island, Vancouver)

The IRB Service consists of twenty-five strategically placed stations across Canada. Each station is equipped with a six to eight metre Fast Rescue Craft (FRC) capable of operating at speeds in excess of twenty four knots.
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Offline Not a Sig Op

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Re: RCN (Reserve) getting into SAR?
« Reply #6 on: July 24, 2015, 15:50:00 »
Well, the Coast Guard is organized by Regions, not type of service rendered. So, there is no such animal as the "IRB Service".

What the Coast Guard has, however, is a volunteer force called the Canadian Coast Guard Auxiliary, which also operates in each of the regions. One of the duties of this volunteer force is Search and Rescue and boating safety for pleasure crafts. They operate small boats (that some would call large RHIB's) to effect this service in summer, mostly, in the areas of greatest concentration of boaters. It is a supplement to the regular SAR services. I suspect that the "IRB's" are also large RHIBs and therefore, as they seem to operate in summer only, are part of this "volunteer" part of the Coast-Guard.

On the West coast, interestingly enough, the "Auxiliary" is known as the Royal Canadian Marine Search and Rescue Service. I suspect it operates the Vancouver harbour IRB. Considering that nowadays, the naval reservists are not always sent out of unit for training for the whole summer even if fully available, and that they possess skills in large RHIB handling/first aid/boating in general and search paterns/radio/radar operation, I can see how they would be a great asset to such service. however, failing an interdepartmental agreement, participation in another department's provision of service would not be acceptable.

I suspect this is what it's all about, it clears the reservists who wish to participate in the provision of this volunteer service in support of the Coast Guard Auxiliary, while their primary assignment remains the reserve.

Someone more familiar with the Coast Guard may correct any misrepresentations I may have accidentally made above. Colin, is this about right?

I assume it was clear from the link posted above, but to sum up, IRB crews are paid short term employees of the coast guard, usually students hired for the summer, not related to the coast guard auxiliary.

I assume that means the 25% the nav rest is supplying is members on class b contracts.

The IRB does operate large fast rescue craft (FRCs), known as RHIBs to the navy.

I'd call it a mutually beneficial arrangement to both organizations, as the coast guard gets access to well trained part time employees, in addition to their usual summer student crews, the nav res personnel get a significant amount of time spent operating and maintaining small craft.

Depending on the region, the IRB crews can be quite busy (I used to dread the Newfoundland recreational fishery season, we cleaned up on over time from SAR calls, but we didn't get to sleep much... and we only got the left overs the IRB crews were too busy or didn't have enough range to handle)


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Re: RCN (Reserve) getting into SAR?
« Reply #7 on: July 24, 2015, 16:09:08 »
One of my concerns is that this portion of the release:

Quote
- increasing the number of Naval Reservists at HMCS Discovery in order to support the IRB program as required;
 - refocusing recruiting efforts to increase the number of personnel at HMCS Discovery who can be trained for search and rescue;

sounds like the CF is altering its recruiting practices and/or the number of reserve billets at an NRD so that these additional CF personnel can do a job assigned to the CCG.  I see this as different from a training programme in which personnel already recruited by the CF for its own duties and goals (not the CCG's duties and goals) get beneficial training while, incidentally, providing a benefit to the CCG.

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Re: RCN (Reserve) getting into SAR?
« Reply #8 on: July 24, 2015, 18:32:45 »
Alternately, you put too much faith in press releases and the media.

Offline r87

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Re: RCN (Reserve) getting into SAR?
« Reply #9 on: October 01, 2015, 18:57:22 »
Having been there and done it I can add a couple things. Navres (usually Bos'ns and NavComms) are paid by the Navy and make up 50% of total strength. The other 50% comes from FSWEP and are student CCG employees. FSWEP students usually stick around for a couple more seasons of IRB and the NavRes only does it for a season usually before going back to finish trades training. Its a great Class B as meals and quarters were provided on base and at station. Sorry for bringing back a thread but thought it might be useful for those that are interested in the program.

Offline Colin P

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Re: RCN (Reserve) getting into SAR?
« Reply #10 on: November 17, 2015, 10:31:37 »
I like to see HMCS Discovery given a role to provide harbour defense. given the world we live in and the trade that goes through Vancouver, the risk is there. It's a real, defined and local task. Boarding parties need not just be navy reserves, but from the local units as well. A Orca sized vessel that is armed all the time gives them a all weather mobile base to move around the harbour. While divers would be nice, a small ROV like the Videoray would provide good inspection tools and can run from a small boat. Have a large armed RHIB such as used by the USCG to provide a speedy response. Make it visable and talk about it, that alone makes planning an attack for them more difficult as they will have to account for such. while the Vancouver Police Department runs a couple of boats, they have a small marine section and if attacks are likely to take place you won't be able to count on ERT to flesh out the crew of 2.

Offline r87

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Re: RCN (Reserve) getting into SAR?
« Reply #11 on: December 10, 2015, 11:52:08 »
The RCMP and CCG do something akin to that in the Great Lakes. However, given the relationship in BC between Municipal Police forces and the RCMP Marine Division it is highly unlikely.

"The Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) and the Canadian Coast Guard (CCG) have combined their expertise and strengths in a marine security program to further enhance national security and strengthen Canada's response to potential threats in the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Seaway region.  Marine Security Enforcement Teams (MSETs) are integrated dedicated units staffed with members from provincial and municipal departments along with the RCMP, working in uniform onboard mid-shore patrol vessels that are crewed by the CCG."
http://www.publicsafety.gc.ca/cnt/brdr-strtgs/brdr-lw-nfrcmnt/mrn-scrty-nfrcmnt-tms-eng.aspx

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Re: RCN (Reserve) getting into SAR?
« Reply #12 on: December 10, 2015, 13:18:17 »
[tangent] Do the RCMP still have that honkin' big wooden cruiser out there, on the wet coast?[/tangent]
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Offline Oldgateboatdriver

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Re: RCN (Reserve) getting into SAR?
« Reply #13 on: December 10, 2015, 14:12:24 »
The RCMP hasn't had wooden or steel patrol boats since they got rid of them in the early/mid 70's. The Naval reserve inherited them. and the biggest one on the West coast was a little one of 65 feet (the Sidney).

They do have a few small fibre glass hulled boats on the West coast, but mostly, the Marine division now operates with RHIB's they can trailer around, or as law enforcement detachments  deployed onboard the Coast Guard Mid-Shore patrol vessels.

Offline r87

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Re: RCN (Reserve) getting into SAR?
« Reply #14 on: December 11, 2015, 00:14:09 »
Its not an official website however it does provide a  a good overview of the RCMP "fleet" in BC.http://members.shaw.ca/rcmpwcmd/Photogallery.htm
I can attest to having seen the Inkster and Lindsay patrolling around the North Island; however, as Oldgateboatdriver said they mainly use Titan 249s now at the detachment level.

« Last Edit: December 11, 2015, 00:23:19 by r87 »