The Royal Canadian Marine Search & Rescue (RCMSAR) has organised a day specifically for girls and women to get a taste of maritime SAR first-hand. 

#Operationthisisyou took place in February - before the Covid-19 global pandemic was declared and subsequent restrictions implemented - and was completely free to attend. 

Open to women and girls aged 14 and up, it took place at RCMSAR’s Station 5 Crescent Beach, Surrey, British Columbia.  The female participants got a chance to go out in boats, to save a ‘person’ overboard, to learn how to navigate and how to patch a boat that’s sinking, amongst other things.

IMRF member RCMSAR is a charitable, volunteer-based organisation that operates 33 marine rescue stations on around the British Columbia coast and interior.

RCMSAR is a key part of the marine search and rescue system in one of the most challenging search and rescue regions in the world and the organisation’s volunteers conduct, on average, 800 marine rescues every year, which is approximately 1/3 of all the marine emergencies in British Columbia.  

The event was organised in conjunction with the Achieve Anything Foundation, which is a Canadian not-for-profit organisation with a mission to inspire female future leaders from shop floor to top floor in high-tech STEM fields in aviation, aerospace, marine and defence industries, where women are drastically underrepresented.

Amber Sheasgreen, Operations Manager for RCMSAR said:We’re trying to promote more women in non-traditional roles. They’re just as strong and capable at doing all the same jobs and duties as everyone else on the boat. Added to which, a gender-diverse team is often more dynamic, women bring different perceptions and information and they look at things in different ways, so it really helps balance out the teamwork.

The taster event emphasized that there were search and rescue opportunities for everyone, for those interested in the vital support roles and those more interested in active crew member roles.

Amber explained:All the girls and women who took part will have come away with new experiences and thinking ‘why not?” That will have a ripple effect, spreading through their friends and families, changing people’s perceptions for the better.” 

Theresa Crossley, CEO, IMRF adds:The IMRF launched its #WomenInSAR initiative at the World Maritime Rescue Congress which was hosted by RCMSAR in June 2019. #WomenInSAR works to promote women’s contribution across the maritime community and address the current widespread gender imbalance.

Amber was one of the inspirational speakers at the #WomenInSAR launch event and it’s great that she and RCMSAR have organised this event.  It is a perfect illustration of how a maritime SAR organisation can use its resources to ‘show and tell’ and really break down barriers and perceptions.  Women have so much to offer in so many ways, a genuine gender balance really does offer clear benefits.

Photo Gallery

#WomenInSAR Blog - Part 2 - RCMSAR Hosts #Operationthisisyou Promoting SAR and Non-Traditional Roles for Women on Water

You can view the Photo Gallery in Flickr.