The Canadian Coast Guard’s Inshore Rescue Boat stations on the Great Lakes, Georgian Bay, and St. Lawrence River are now open.
Inshore Rescue Boat (IRB) stations are crewed by post-secondary students hired and trained by the Canadian Coast Guard. They provide additional maritime search and rescue service during the busy summer recreational boating season. IRB stations are located at Britt on Gereaux Island, Brebeuf Island (Georgian Bay), Hill Island (St. Lawrence River), Port Lambton (St. Clair River), Thames River (Lake St. Clair) and Long Point (Lake Erie).
These stations are open from May to September annually.
Additionally, the Canadian Coast Guard has search and rescue stations in Thunder Bay, Tobermory, Meaford, Goderich, Amherstburg, Port Dover, Port Weller, Cobourg and Kingston.
Ashore, Canadian Coast Guard Marine Communications and Traffic Services centres in Sarnia and Prescott provide marine safety communications, while the response to each search and rescue case is coordinated by the Joint Rescue Coordination Centre in Trenton.
Waterways remain very cold at this time of year and take much longer to warm up compared to the air. Transport Canada’s Safe Boating Guide is an excellent source of information in preparation for the recreational boating season.
On water emergencies on the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence River System in Ontario can be reported 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, toll-free (within Canada) at 1-800-267-7270, or via marine VHF radio – channel 16.