New boat hopes kept afloat

Fundraising efforts for a new rescue vessel for Crescent Beach Coast Guard Auxiliary received a $100,000 boost last week.

The community gaming grant, awarded to the Semiahmoo Peninsula Marine Rescue Society, will help replace the crew’s aging vessel, Vigilant, with a new 27-foot, fast-response rigid-hull inflatable.

“Indeed, it is good news,” said Dan Savage, the society’s president and an auxiliary volunteer. “We’re all sort of rejoicing. It goes a long, long way to helping us with the vessel replacement.”

The Vigilant was bought in September 2000, with the help of $140,000 raised in the community. Since, it has been instrumental in hundreds of rescue and training operations. As well, in patrolling such special events as the Semiahmoo Regatta, the Crescent Beach Triathlon and the Snowbirds’ Wings over White Rock performance.

It is also on its third set of engines.

While it remains a functional vessel, Savage said the Vigilant does not comply with new Coast Guard safety standards. A standardized craft is “on the drawing board,” and Savage is hopeful the local crew will be onboard a new vessel in about two years. Purchase price of the new boat is estimated at $300,000.

Fundraising efforts are continuing with a dinner next week for longtime Friends of Vigilant supporters. Upcoming events include a golf tournament in June and a concert in the fall.

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