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The Canadian Coast Guard plays a prominent role in Hay River, as evidenced by this 2019 fire-feeding ceremony by K’atlodeeche First Nation for a Coast Guard vessel about to begin its seasonal work on Great Slave Lake and the Mackenzie River. Now, the Canadian Coast Guard Auxiliary in Hay River is receiving $255,178 to buy a search and rescue boat, along with related equipment.
NNSL file photo

Safety on the water is about to get a boost in Hay River.

On Nov. 6, the federal government announced funding of $255,178 for the Canadian Coast Guard Auxiliary in Hay River to purchase a new search and rescue boat, along with related equipment.

The funding comes from the Canadian Coast Guard’s Indigenous Community Boat Volunteer Pilot Program.

Under that program, communities are provided with funding to purchase boats and equipment to enhance marine safety capacity as members of the Canadian Coast Guard Auxiliary.

“Hay River Marine Rescue Society has been offering search and rescue services to the Great Slave Lake for many years,” said David Stanga, unit leader of the Hay River Coast Guard Auxiliary, in a news release. “As the years go by, equipment ages and requires replacing. Having the Indigenous Community Boat Volunteer Pilot Program available to small communities, units like our own are provided with the opportunity to update our vessel and rescue equipment. Having a new vessel with updated technology not only builds members’ confidence when out on the water, it provides the community with the best rescue equipment for their safety.”

The auxiliary in Hay River already has two vessels.

The new boat is expected to arrive in early 2021.

The Canadian Coast Guard Auxiliary in Inuvik will also receive $276,632 to purchase a search and rescue boat and a life raft.

Michael McLeod, the MP for the Northwest Territories, welcomed the funding for both communities.

“Inuvik and Hay River will enhance their search and rescue capacity with the purchase of these new boats just like Yellowknife and Tuktoyaktuk was able to do through last year’s funding provided by the Indigenous Community Boat Volunteer Pilot Program,” said McLeod. “These are great investments to increase the safety of our communities and strengthen the capacity of the Canadian Coast Guard Auxiliary.”

The auxiliary is a national non-profit organization of 4,000 volunteer members with access to 1,100 vessels that boost the federal maritime search and rescue response capacity.

“Investment through the Indigenous Community Boat Volunteer Pilot Program recognizes the critical role of Indigenous communities as members of the Canadian Coast Guard Auxiliary in protecting mariners, and their residents,” said Bernadette Jordan, minister of Fisheries and Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard.

The four-year pilot program began in 2017.

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Paul Bickford

Paul Bickford is the reporter for Hay River Hub.

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