Emergency response effectiveness is expected to improve significantly off the coast of Haida Gwaii.
The Massett Marine Rescue Society (MMRS) unveiled their new fast-response rescue vessel, Tagwaal on Friday, in which the Prince Rupert Port Authority invested more than $110,000.
The vessel is a new, fully equipped Titan Falkins Class Type 2.
MMRS raised over $850,000 toward the project, including $645,000 from the BC Community Gaming Grant, and $100,000 from Gwaii Trust.
“Grassroots community-led organizations like Massett Search and Rescue make significant contributions to ensuring our region’s emergency response capacity for local mariners and smaller craft incidents is also world-class. Our appreciation goes out to them,” Shaun Stevenson, president and CEO of PRPA said.
In 2015, the MMRS existing vessel, the NorthWard, had surpassed its 10-year operating period and was in need of significant repairs.
“Massett Marine Search and Rescue is entirely volunteer driven and it is our hope that the acquisition of this new vessel will not only improve emergency response capabilities and response times, but also grow our volunteer base and expand employment opportunities for volunteers with training and experience gained in marine rescues,” Chris Ashurst, president of the Massett Marine Search and Rescue Society, said.
The volunteer group covers a large area, including the Dixon Entrance, Northern Hecate Strait, the Masset Inlet, and many more waters around Haida Gwaii.
Friday’s open house featured a traditional Haida welcoming and naming ceremony to bless the boat and give it a Haida name, Tagwaal.
Kihlguulaans Christian White and Illkaajaadkanas Yahgulaanas Candace White both led the ceremony.
Tagwaal is currently undergoing some final touch-ups and will be ready for service in October. The NorthWard will be operational for another year before retiring.
Jenna Cocullo | Journalist
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