Lake St Louis West (08 Baie D'Urfe) Wins the 2019 Canadian Coast Guard SEARCH AND RESCUE RECOGNITION AWARD

At the 2019 AGM held last August, during his presentation, Mr. Martin Dufour, Acting Superintendent of the Search and Rescue Center (Region St-Laurent Sector) GCC, was pleased to award the Search and Rescue Recognition Award to Unit 08 Lac St-Louis Ouest (Baie d’Urfé).

CCGA's Chantal D’Allaire Director of Human Resource described the award and its recipients in the organization's journal Le Dauphin as follows:

"This award is undoubtedly one of the most coveted awards a unit can receive, as it constitutes recognition by our partner (The Canadian Coast Guard Search and Rescue Center) of the exceptional work done by that unit. Throughout 2019, the unit was again always able to maintain operational readiness, prepared to intervene at any time of day or night.

The crew clearly distinguished themselves by establishing a close relationship with the municipality and supporting corporations. Thanks to this cooperation, they raised the funds necessary to finance their patrol and mission operations to keep seasonal boaters safe and rescue those in danger. In fact, to this day, they continue to have excellent relations with local citizens of the towns bordering the lake.

Their availability and leadership are a source of inspiration for many other auxiliary units. Their diligence and application of regulations, their unparalleled administrative and financial management made it easy to conclude that this unit is the right recipient of the 2019 recognition award. In closing, the CCG extends their sincere congratulations to Commander Stephen Gruber, Deputy Commander Paul McLean, and all of the unit's very active crew. "

Searching right up to the line

CCGA Unit 8 was planning to take AUX 1293 out of service for the season on Oct 31. But after the warm string of forecasted weather we decided to extend our season to November 15. Last weekend we participated in a Full Scale Search on Lac Saint-Louis and were prepared to haul out on this past Sunday to bring the season to a close. Early Sunday morning, we received a call from the Marine Search and Rescue center for our assistance with an ongoing search for two overdue fisherman on Lac des Deux Montagnes toward the Ottawa River. This was not a regular request as we very rarely leave the Lac Saint Louis area. In the dark of night, we pulled AUX 1293 out of the water and joined the renewed search effort starting from Vaudreuil-Dorion area at sunrise. Our unit was tasked by the Rescue Coordination Center to act as on-scene Commander for this mission. We were joined by multiple local fire departments from Hudson, Rigaud, Oka, Ponte-Calumet, the Surete du Quebec Police Services as well as air support from 424 Tiger Squadron. The day started of with a beautiful sunrise, but with the old proverb - 'Red sky in morning, sailors take warning' .... Within a couple of hours, a strong westward near gale force winds came up and blew right down the Ottawa river causing large waves and sporadic rain and grail conditions. This proved challenging to the search teams engaged. Just before noon, a small fishing vessel fitting the description was found just below the waves by a Rescue Helicopter and AUX 1293 towed it to shore with the assistance of the OKA Nautical unit. The search continued until sunset and was called off for the night.

As the season ends, we want to remind everyone that the water becomes a very unforgiving place to be. The temperatures are near freezing and any help takes much longer to arrive as they are no longer on the water. If you feel you must go out, please ensure you are prepared for the conditions and wear appropriate flotation devices for the conditions and let people know when you will return. Your life will depend on it!

Aircraft similar to the above shown were called in to assist
A Ch-146 searching the shoreline with Spot Light.

Full Scale Search

Members of Unit 8 were called out to assist in the search of a personal watercraft operator that had gone missing on the evening of November 7th, 2020. CCGA - Unit 8, in conjunction with the Montreal Fire and Police Department as well as Ile-Perrot and Pincourt nautical units, had started to search the last known area for the missing operator well into the night. 424 Squadron (Tiger Squadron) dispatched two support aircraft, a CH-146 Griffon and a C-130H - Hercules aircraft from Trenton Air Force Base to assist with their night vision, large spotlights, and parachute flare capabilities. This was a large-scale multi-agency coordinate search to find the missing PWC operator in the cold waters of Lac St-Louis. The various agencies covered over 30 KM of shoreline as well as approximately 25 square kilometers of water. The search went on well into the morning on November 9th and came to an end when the victim was found close to shore near Baie-D'Urfe.

Please take great care if you do decide to "enjoy this late-season sunshine" on the lake. As a reminder, while the outside temperature is warm, the water temperature of the lake is very cold (~6.8C). Your mind and body do not function normally for long at these temperatures when you are in the water. Wear suitable protective clothing, wear a PFD, and ensure you have all safety equipment required to operate a watercraft. As a reminder, most of the marker buoys have been removed or are no longer lighted at night. If you are in trouble or see someone in trouble on the water call *16 on your cell/mobile phone or 1-800-463-4393 on a landline for the Coast Guard. We as well as other emergency services will respond immediately.

1293 Back In Action

Yesterday we had a mission call-out in the afternoon for a disabled pontoon boat near the Seaway. Our crew of 3 responded to the call out quickly and arrived on the scene in 20 minutes to find a large pontoon boat with one person on board. The vessel had a double failure of the primary outboard and secondary electric motor. We easily towed the boat into a safe slip in short order. After some very thankful conversation with the captain who made a generous donation to our unit, we were on our way to return to base.

During our return, we noticed how empty the lake was. There were a few fishermen out there on the steely grey day and there was a chill developing as the Sun set. A great reminder of our need to be prepared for all conditions when responding and also the need for our services on the lake at this time of year.

Replacement Vessel

Two weeks ago, while we were responding to to a call, AUX 1293 had an engine failure after they departed from the dock. Fortunately, they were able to return under manual propulsion to the dock safely. We contacted our head office in Sorel and they were able to send us a replacement vessel, Aux 1228.

We are currently waiting for parts to repair our engine and it will be a significant investment to get it back in the water. Your donations are what helps us cover major breakdowns like this and ensure we can get back on the water quickly to continue our mission of providing a dependable service of maritime search and rescue.

Back on Patrol

As of July 13th, 2020, restrictions regarding executing safety patrols and courtesy check have been lifted. All Covid-19 protocols are still to remain in effect for physical distancing, protective measures and reporting.

The summer in Montreal has started off with a bang and there is a significant amount of traffic and new boaters on the waterways this year. Our unit being on the water will demonstrate a visible presence to help promote safety and improve response times to missions where time is of the essence.

Keep a look out for our boat on the water and give us a wave!

Be Safe!

Ready for the Summer

As the Marinas and Yacht Clubs are available to open on June 1st, CCGA(Q) Unit 8 is now ready and in the water and has a GREEN alert status. That means, during the COVID-19 Pandemic, boaters who venture out on Lac-St-Louis will be able to call (VHF - 16 or *16 on Cell) the Canadian Coast Guard for assistance in the event they run into trouble.

New special procedures and protocols have been put in place to protect boaters and members of our Crew. Remember to follow all rules of the various government agencies with respect to physical distancing, washing hands and wearing of masks as well as ensuring your vessel is fully equipped with the appropriate safety equipment as recommended by Transport Canada.

Until further notice, we will not be doing any Courtesy Checks or public relations events or activities.

We encourage all boaters to boat responsibly this summer and adapt to the new rules and also remember to always wear you life jacket.

Safe Boating!

A Physically Distanced Rescue Boat

Special Recognition

All members of the Coast Guard Unit 05-08 (Baie d'Urfe) and Rescue Squad joined in congratulating Alex Csank who was awarded the Sovereign's Medal for Volunteering from the Governor General's Office of Canada. Alex is shown here at the presentation of the medal during the Ville de Baie D'Urfe Volunteer Appreciation night this past April. The medal was presented by Councillor Kevin Docherty assisted by Coast Guard Unit 05-08 Commander, Stephen Gruber shown in the photo below.

The Sovereign's medal recognizes exceptional volunteer achievements from across Canada and celebrates a wide range of voluntary contributions. It is an honor created by the Crown and as such forms part of the formal Canadian Honors System.

Alex received the honor in recognition for his contribution to his community as a volunteer and team leader on many occasions over the years. An important example of this noted in the award was his role as the first Commander of Unit 05-08 with whom he remains an active skipper and trainer to this day.

Alex learned his technical and leadership skills as an officer in the Canadian Navy with whom he served for many years on active duty. On retirement he combined these skills with his desire to help his neighbors. Through these efforts he has served as a good example of what can be achieved when we, like everyone at this event, sets their mind to working to improve the local quality of life for others.

Recognition and appreciation for their contribution to the founding and development of the Unit 05-08 was also given to three members at Spring Planning meeting of the Unit. At that meeting, Baie d'Urfe Mayor Tutino presented plaques to Kurt Brandt, Bernard Peissel and Alex Csank for the seminal role they played, and continue to play in the development of the Unit. They are shown receiving their plaques in the photos below.

Emergency Deployment - Rigaud 2019

Many of Unit 8 (Lac St Louis - West) members have been deployed to assist Unit 41 (Lac des Deux Montagnes) to provide 24 hour patrols on the Rigaud and Ottawa River.

Due to rising waters, over 200 homes located along the main rivers were impacted. Many of these residences were cut off from essential services as roads were rendered inaccessible. The CCGA tasking was to provide search and rescue, safety patrols and emergency evacuation as many residents stayed with their homes to help protect their property.

Multiple units from all over the Montreal area have been working together, sharing time, skills and equipment to ensure that we are available 24/7 during these difficult times.

Our emergency services can be obtained 24/7 by calling Call *16 on your cell or channel 16 on your vhf to call the Coast Guard directly.

First Patrol and First Mission - 2018

Unit 05-08 leaves its base at the Baie D'Urfe Yacht Club Harbour on their first lake patrol of 2018. The patrol was crewed by Deputy Unit Commander Paul McLean, Mark Curtis and Cox Chris Atack.

The Unit was called on its first mission the next day while on its second patrol. The crew of Bianca Grohmann, Arnold Zwaig and Julien Bertrand with Unit Commander Stephen Gruber responded to a call to search for a boat sighted adrift at Lachine. The boat and its crew of two and a dog were recovered safely from near the Mercier Bridge after their motor had broken down.

The Unit will be conducting a “Boat Safety Blitz” at Ste Anne's Lock this weekend weather permitting. All are invited to come and talk boats with Unit members. If they wish they can also receive a free boat safety inspection. Remember, if in trouble on the water, call *16 on your cell or channel 16 on your vhf to call the Coast Guard directly. We are available 24/7.

Preparing for the Start of the 2018 Season on Lake St Louis

The ice may still be in the harbour but a sure sign of spring is when the Coast Guard move their boat to the Public Works garage in Baie D'Urfe. Unit Boat Engineer Michel Deschenes is seen below conferring with Unit member Kurt Brandt at the start of the boat preparation period.

The next two weeks will see Unit members carrying out the necessary mechanical, electrical and fiber glass maintenance to have the boat ship shape for the season. By the end of the week it is planned to have the boat prepared sufficiently for any early emergency that may come up on the lake. Hopefully this will not be happen and the Unit can aim for its planned launch in the first week of May at the Baie D'Urfe Yacht Club.

It is not only the boat that needs to be prepared. Shown below are Unit members at the well attended workshop on Search and Rescue Techniques held this April 7th at the Public Works Classroom in Baie D'Urfe. The Unit also welcomed participants from the Lachine and St Lambert Units. The instruction was ably given by Baie D'Urfe Unit instructor Alex Csank.


Auxiliary Coast Guard Unit 08 Baie D'Urfe Named One of top 3 Units in Quebec

Saguenay, March 2018. Unit 05-08 of the Canadian Coast Guard Auxiliary was voted as one of the top three units out of the sixty units operating in Quebec. The announcement was made at the CCGA-Qs annual meeting held this March in Sagueany Quebec.

Unit Commander spoke for the Unit in thanking the organization for this recognition. He noted the honour was particularly encouraging for the Unit as it was only formed in 2014.

Unit O5-08 is based at the Baie D'Urfe Yacht Club. It is manned solely by a local volunteer crew. The Unit responded to all 41 emergency call outs in 2017. As a result 27 vessels were towed and over 100 sailors safely brought to shore.


Baie D'Urfe Council Vote to Support Local Coast Guard Unit

Unanimous support by Mayor and Council was given to continue provision a $4,000 annual grant to support the work of the local Canadian Coast Guard Auxiliary Unit at the Council's March 2018 meeting. Unit 05-08 is based at the Baie D'Urfe Yacht Club.

In thanking the Mayor and Councillors for their continued support by way of the grant, Unit Commander Stephen Gruber noted that such support is critical to enable the volunteer crew to maintain its 24/7 response to boaters who find themselves in trouble on Lake St Louis during the season. All operational and maintenance costs of the Unit are the responsibility of the local Unit. Each weekend of patrols costs $300 to provide so donations from all levels are keenly appreciated by the Unit.

Unit 8 responded to 41 emergency calls from boaters in trouble on the lake last season. 27 boats were towed and over 100 boaters were safely taken to shore in 2017 by the Unit.

Donations to support the continued work of the Unit can be made by going to our donations area.


4 Members of Unit 05-08 Coast Guard Auxiliary Receive Citations

Saguenauy March 2018: Four members of Unit 05 of the Canadian Coast Guard Auxiliary received citation letters from the President of the organization in recognition of their exceptional contributions to the the goals of Canadian Coast Guard Auxiliary in 2017.

Both crew members Ginette Traversy and Arnold Zwaig received recognition for their work in promoting the First Aid Skills of unit members and the medical resources that the Unit had to work with.

Past Commander Berny Peissel was cited for his continued contribution to his Unit in many ways, including his role as Training Assistant to the Unit. Unit Commander Stephen Gruber recognition underlined his role in leadership of the Unit for 2017.

Unit 05-08 is based at the Baie D'urfe Yacht Club. The Unit is crewed 24/7 by volunteers during the summer season to aid boaters on Lake St Louis that find themselves in difficulty. The unit responded to 41 emergency call outs, towed 27 boats and brought over 100 boaters safely to shore in the 2017 season.


Baie D'Urfe Canadian Coast Guard Auxiliary Receives Municipal Appreciation

Unit 05-08 of the Canadian Coast Guard Auxiliary received a $1,300 donation from the City of Rigaud at the organization's annual meeting this March. The donation was made in appreciation for the support Unit members gave to City during the flooding of the Ottawa River last spring.

Unit members joined with other Units to help man a 24/7 patrol on the Ottawa River in the Spring of 2017. The patrol ensured that assistance could be given in a timely manner to residents remaining in their homes and helped to secure the homes of those who were forced out of them due to the flooding.

The Unit appreciates this support for its efforts to provide a 24/7 crew to aid boaters in trouble on Lake St. Louis during the boating season. The Unit is crewed 100% by volunteers who are responsible for financing all operating and maintenance costs of running the Unit. For that they rely primarily on organizational and individual donations.