CANADA NEWS: Assistant Canadian coast guard assistant introduced in B.C.

Traditional members bring in more information about their water, said the assistant director.

The First Nations along the West Coast of BC have a long history of responding to emergencies in the Pacific.

Now, more than four years since its proclamation, the Indigenous Canadian Coast Guard Auxiliary has fully introduced itself in B.C. – I have already completed many missions.

The assistant has 50 volunteer members from the first five nations along the coast of BC – Ahousat, Heiltsuk, Gitxaala, Nisgaa and Kitasoo.

On Tuesday evening, an assistant was sent to the phone in Bella Bella, where someone was in the water. The mission was a success.

“Fortunately, the man was found safe and sound,” said Conrad Cowan, executive director of the service.

“Here we are, right in this conflict.”

Cowan said the aide would now work in partnership with the Canadian Coast Guard, responding to remote areas that could take the Coast Guard longer to exist.

Also, he says Indigenous sailors who have joined the crew have a lot of knowledge about their local waters.

Cowan admits, although he has a large background as a Search and Rescue expert and the military, his skills sometimes do not compare, especially when it comes to navigation and coastal facilities.

“They’re very active,” he said, speaking to All Points West presenter Kathryn Marlow. “They’ve been doing this for a very long time. They don’t know water.”

And as a man in charge, Cowan has no complaints.

“You really make my job easier, don’t you? I have to keep the lights on and the equipment on.”

Volunteer members were also provided with appropriate training, equipment and certificates on public boats. He says brand new Search and Rescue boats are also being built due to government grants.

And, fortunately for those who travel up and down the coast, Conrad believes this is just the beginning of relief, which he hopes will one day spread to other early countries.

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