When you see Richmond’s Station 10 team racing out of their Steveston Harbour berth, that’s about the only part of their rescue mission that’s remotely government-funded.
When tasked by the coast guard for support or to attend an emergency call in their stead, the volunteer-run service only gets its fuel paid for.
Before one of the Royal Canadian Marine Search and Rescue (RCMSAR) Station 10 crews even set foot on one of their two vessels, tens of thousands of dollars are spent on training and equipment, just to get them there.
And although it receives some funding from the three levels of government, the bulk of its operational costs need to come from gaming funds and fundraising efforts.
That’s why the station’s major fundraiser of the year, Dinner at the Loft, on Saturday, May 25 is vital in keeping the service afloat.
“This is extremely important, as it’s the event that generates the most funds for us,” said Station 10’s Vicky Wei, who’s been at RCMSAR for almost five years and is also chair of the fundraising committee for the non-profit Fraser Marine Rescue Society, which supports the station.
“You see the boat and all the fancy things we do; what you don’t see is the funding behind it, or the lack thereof.
“We are governed by the (RCMSAR) region, but in terms of funding we are not supported by the government, we get limited resources. What we do get from the region doesn’t even cover our training expenses.”
Station 10 is actively looking for sponsors and silent auction items for the dinner/dance fundraiser.
The $100 tickets are now on sale for the event, which includes appetizers and a buffet dinner, provided by Steveston Seafood House, local, Steveston door prizes, a silent auction, 50/50 draw, cash bar and live DJ entertainment.
It’s being held Saturday, May 25 from 5:30 to 10:30 p.m. at the historic Seine Net Loft, 5180 Westwater Dr. in Steveston.
Rob Hayman, chair of the Fraser Marine Rescue Society, said the station’s Steveston-based vessel, the B.R. Hastings, is nearing the end of its lifespan, with a replacement cost of between $800,000 and $1 million.
“It’s due for a major re-fit and it’s not rollover capable, which a lot of the new ones are,” said Hayman.
“The conditions (on the river and on the coast) can be very rough and the boat needs to be up to speed to keep the crew safe. This one might need replaced in three to five years.”
For tickets, go online to EventBrite.ca/e/rcmsar-dinner-at-the-loft-tickets-60005923332, email firstname.lastname@example.org or find them on Facebook at Facebook.com/RcmsarStation10.