Coast Guard Auxiliary’s New Rescue Boat is Big Improvement Over Last One

With many thanks to the Prince Rupert Northern View website, I have the following article to reprint for your information. More volunteers helping the Coast Guard. Pretty cool rescue boat too!

The Canadian Coast Guard Auxilliary  is a nonprofit organisation and a registered charity made up of volunteer resources throughout Canada. The CCGA has been in existence since 1978 and provides assistance to the Coast Guard and the National Defense with search and rescue and safe boating programs.


Coast Guard Auxiliary’s new rescue boat is big improvement over last one

The Coast Guard Auxiliary's new rescue boat the Orme G. Stuart cost over half a million dollars, all of it fundraised - photo Alan S. Hale

By Alan S. Hale – The Northern View
Published: January 21, 2012 1:00 PM 
Updated: January 22, 2012 11:28 AM Continue reading

Canadian Coast Guard 50th Anniversary

On January 26, 2012 the Canadian Coast Guard will proudly celebrate its 50th Anniversary. Special celebrations will be held at Coast guard bases across Canada. There is a also Calendar of Events running from January to July 2012.

There is even a Facebook page advertising the event.

According to the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans Press Release page:

The Golden Jubilee Web Site also features the history of the Canadian Coast Guard, information on its plans for the future, a selection of wallpapers, as well as a calendar of events. Throughout the year, photos and videos will be added to the Web site, as well as to Canadian Coast Guard social media sites.


There is a special webpage on the Canadian Coast Guard website.



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Shiny New Guest Blogger, Bearing a Letter

Hi all. Our lovely blog master asked if I would make a guest post now and then, and, since the world as I appreciate it is where everyone listens to me, of course I said “yes!”

By way of introduction, I’ll post a letter that I sent to Hon. Mr. Keith Ashfield, Minister of the Department of Fisheries and Oceans, on the topic of Marine Communications and Traffic Services cutbacks. This blog has already posted on this topic, but I thought I would add my voice.

I also sent a copy to my MP Jean Crowder. Ms Crowder responded promptly. She thanked me for my concern, and linked me to a letter her party has already sent on the matter. I have yet to hear back from Hon. Mr. Ashfield, or his office.


Dear Hon. Mr Keith Ashfield,

I am writing because I feel very concerned about proposed government cuts to Coast Guard’s Marine Communication and Traffic Services. In an effort to save costs, the Coast Guard has proposed slashing overtime and holiday time for its operators, leaving the BC’s MCTS stations vulnerable to understaffing. Continue reading

MCTS To Lose Staff To Save Money

For those of you that do not know, MCTS (Marine Communications and Traffic Services)  is “the Branch of the Canadian Coast Guard that provides communications and vessel traffic services to the sea-going public”. 

“MCTS monitors for distress radio signals; provides the communications link between vessels in distress and the JRCC/MRSC; sends safety information; handles public communication; and, regulates the flow of vessel traffic in some areas. MCTS is an important link in the SAR system”.

The above is a quote from the official Canadian government website on Maritime Search and Rescue. (about half-way down the page)

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Lighthouse Collections – Lapel Pins

CCG crest as lapel pin

One of the benefits of having a “glamorous” job like a policeman, pilot, or lighthouse keeper is the collection of memorabilia such as models, photos, key-chain hangers, and lapel pins. This post is dedicated to lapel pins.

In the photos below you can see some of the pins that were collected by myself and my son over many years. From the Canadian Coast Guard (CCG) we have helicopters and ships (CCGS) and hovercraft as well as crests. We also worked in close co-ordination with Vessel Traffic Services (VTS) and Coast Guard Radio. Continue reading

Prince Rupert’s New Coast Guard Vessel Arrives

The Coast Guard vessel Cape Dauphin sits docked at the Seal Cove base.

By Shaun Thomas – The Northern View

Prince Rupert’s new Coast Guard vessel, the Cape Dauphin, was on display at the Coast Guard station today and those who work with the ship outlined the role it will play in search and rescue on the North Coast.

 She ship is a 47 foot cape-class vessel with a combined 900 horsepower. It can house a crew of four with a maximum speed of 25 knots and is designed to withstand 80 knot winds and 30 foot seas. The ship is also self righting, which means if it flips over in rough seas the engines won’t cut out and the boat will automatically roll back into the proper upright position.

 “This is the standard boat across the country and across the continent. America has about 200 and we have a significant number here in Canada. They fulfill their mission perfectly because of their speed and nimbleness,” said Kevin Tomsett, superintendent on small vessels.

 “They’re a good size and can get into a lot of the areas that other big boats can’t access.”

 The Cape Dauphin, named after a cape in New Brunswick, also features side decks that can be lowered to bring someone out of the water more efficiently and will carry the same medical equipment as the much larger Point Henry, which was decomissioned earlier this year. The two 450 horsepower engines are rated for fuel efficiency and longevity, with the Cape Dauphin able to cover 200 nautical miles on a tank of gas at full speed and the top 2,120 RPM, and up to 800 nautical miles at lower speed.

 A dedication ceremony for the ship will take place later this afternoon.

– photo by Shaun Thomas – The Northern View

In Memorium – Rev. Oliver Howard (1927 – 2008)

Oliver R. Howard was born in 1927, and ordained by the British Columbia Conference of the United Church in 1953. His first station was with the Prince Rupert Presbytery in Alert Bay. He subsequently served the Marine Mission in Ocean Falls, the Campbell River Pastoral Charge, the Friendship House in Prince Rupert and the Board of Home Missions in Toronto before taking over as Minister of the Thomas Crosby V (TCV) for the Central Mainland Marine Mission On the TCV he wrote “The Uttermost parts of the sea”, subsequently published under the title “Godships” (Toronto: United Church of Canada, 1984). In 1985 Tony Wade directed a documentary on the United Church mission ship travelling the west coast of Canada to Alaska and back – The Voyage of the Thomas Crosby V. 1985 This two week journey included spectacular scenery viewed by very few people and is available for viewing on Youtube. This film is followed by three more segments from the United Church of Canada: The Voyage of Thomas Crosby V (part 1) The Voyage of Thomas Crosby V (part 2) The Voyage of Thomas Crosby V (part 3) This was the captain/missionary Oliver Howard’s last voyage. The Thomas Crosby mission ship is no longer in operation. Oliver Howard died October 16, 2008. Obituary Oliver R. Howard (1927 – 2008) from A Steady Hand At The Helm Joyce, David, and Kathleen Howard are saddened to announce the passing of long time Port Alberni resident The Reverend Oliver R. Howard on October 16th, 2008. Born in 1927, in Vilna, Alberta, Oliver was the first son of Florence and Austin Howard. The family moved to Creston, British Columbia and later Lulu Island (Richmond) to provide better educational opportunities for their children. Oliver’s ministry with the United Church of Canada spanned over 50 years. In 1953, realizing his parents dream, Oliver graduated from Union College, UBC. He was ordained as a United Church Minister and accepted an invitation from The Board Of Home Missions to be Skipper and Missionary on the Robert C. Scott based out of Alert Bay, BC. On October 2, 1954, Oliver married Joyce M. Dunn (Woodstock, Ontario). They have two children, David and Kathleen. Oliver then qualified as a Master Mariner in 1959. As Captain and Missionary, he served aboard the Thomas Crosby IV anchoring at native communities, light houses, and float camps from Alert Bay to Prince Rupert. In 1960 he came ashore to take a pastoral charge at Campbell River United Church. In 1964 the family moved north to Prince Rupert where Oliver served in church administration before moving to the national office in 1966. In Toronto, Oliver worked with the Board of Home Missions and supervised student internships. Returning to B.C. in 1975, he served as Master of the Thomas Crosby V (TCV). In 1984, his book, `Godships’, an historical and personal account of the church’s 100 years of seagoing missions on the coast was published. Oliver served in a team ministry at Metropolitan United in Victoria in 1985 then in 1987, his final pastoral call was to St. Andrew’s United Church in Port Alberni. After retiring in 1992, he served as President of BC Conference; oversaw pensions and made visitations to retired ministers; sat on the board of Moorecroft Camp; served as Minister Emeritus of Alberni Valley United Church; a Founder of the Alberni Valley Community Foundation and remained an active supporter of Alberni region organizations. Always a loving and supportive son, brother, husband, father, mentor and friend he was predeceased by his parents, sister Joyce and brother Allan. He is survived by his sister, Gay Harrigan (Mike) in Nanaimo; his daughter-in-law, Deborah (Vancouver); granddaughter, Laura (Ghana); and a close extended family. The family is grateful for the care provided by Dr. Alan Fraser, as well as West Coast General Hospital, Royal Jubilee & Ty Watson House. Without their caring assistance we could not have ushered Oliver so peacefully onto his next port of call. A Celebration of Life for The Rev. Oliver R. Howard was held on October 26th at 2:00pm at Alberni Valley United Church, 3747 Church Street, Port Alberni. In lieu of flowers, the family requested donations be made to either: Alberni Valley United Church, 3747 Church Street, Port Alberni BC V9Y 1T5 or Alberni Valley Hospice Society, 2649 2nd Ave., Port Alberni, BC V9Y 1Z8

To include your memories in Oliver’s memorial please click this link.

The Rev. Howard was never a lighthouse keeper but he was a friend to the lighthouse keeper’s – a very good friend.

In Memorium – Bill Exley (1920 – 1994)

Captain William (Bill) Mills Exley (January 08, 1920, Vancouver, BC –  April 24,1994, Victoria, BC) was a friend to all the lighthouse keepers he met. Bill joined the Coast Guard as a mess boy on the Estevan in 1939 and retired 45 years later as District Area Supervisor (DAS), Victoria. He was a tough boss but was respected by all who learned from him. See his biography below. Bill’s ashes were buried at sea.

To include your memories in Bill’s memorial please click this link.

Bill was Second Mate on the old “smokey joe” CGS Estevan under that legendary master mariner, Capt Harry Ormiston (1889-1971), when I joined the (then) Victoria District Marine Agency as the (then) Superintendent of Lights in June 1956, a post I held until Oct 1959. His seamanship, acquired and polished during his many years of sailing with Harry, was absolutely superb, a true credit to his mentor. Among my happy, solid memories of Bill was his skillful handling of the Estevan’s sturdy work boats then used to take supplies ashore at lightstations, often in heavy seas. (No choppers in those days). Not once in my time did he ever misjudge the swells, damage a work boat, or dump its cargo in the water. Nor did he ever cause me to be dunked when I used to jump from the bow onto wet slippery seaweed-covered rocks when doing an annual lighthouse inspection – or when scrambling back on board afterwards.

Captain Exley, as he was when I last met him (his guest for lunch on the CGS Sir James Douglas while visiting Victoria in 1964), was a man I greatly admired and respected – as he was indeed by the lightkeepers who knew him and the ships’ crewmen who served with him. It was my privilege to have known him, enjoyed his friendship and sailed several thousands of West Coast nautical miles with him. – John Bathurst


Bill’s first love might have been the sea..,but as superintendant of Lights he soon became an avid helicopter passenger and particularly liked low flying.

As pilots we had a wonderful rapport with him and consequently we made every effort to comply with his numerous requests and I for one appreciated the fact that he never pressured us to fly when we considered for instance that the weather precluded flying, but he expected us to give it a try if conditions were marginal, and that was fair enough.

One example was when he “desperately” wanted to interview and eventually fire a troublesome assistant lighthouse keeper at Pine Island lighthouse. As we both approached Pine the usual summertime band of fog was really heavy (Pine was calling it 1/4 mile visibility), below our limits, but we headed out hover taxying you might say, riding the swells, the sea being my only reference. Our only concern being that we might bump into a ship!

Anyway we made it, picked up the assistant and headed back through the same soup, saw a hole in the fog climbed like an elevator and rode several miles back to Port Hardy on top of the fogbank.

On arrival there Bill Exley turned to me and said “Let’s never do that again!” It was pretty hairy all right. – Ivor Roberts (aka Ivor the Driver)


– thanks to Karen Waugh for the bio

I always considered Bill Exley a Leader! – retlkpr