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A World Turned Upside Down

A World Turned Upside Down

Fixed green and a 4 second flash of red, so many emotions… joy, excitement, fear, relief

The excitement of what the day might hold…

Visions of a big catch out on the lake…

A beer and a burger with friends sharing some tall tales…

The comfort of family after an exhilarating day among the waves…

Hope and a safe harbour on a dark and stormy night…

Their appearance conjures so many memories, but their consistency will always mean so much more. Now in this tumultuous time those feelings are likely only going to grow stronger…

As a volunteer organization, the professional diversity of our membership is as eclectic as you would imagine. Fire fighters, librarians, doctors, small business owners, heavy machine operators, nurses, and retail sales, you name it and there is a chance that one of our members makes a living that way. As you can imagine, we, like you, are experiencing the current COVID-19 crisis through many, many unique lenses.

Our thoughts and thanks go out to those who remain firmly entrenched on the front lines keeping not only our health care system strong but also to those who continue to work hard keeping the heartbeat of our essential services ticking. But let’s not forgot those who may not be essential and now find themselves struggling to perhaps meet those needs which only four weeks ago seemed, well just normal. We also want to remember them and remind them that as a country we are strong but as a community we are stronger.

As for PARA Marine Search and Rescue? Where are we what does this mean for us?

Well as you can imagine, as with all organizations we are committed to the need to enforce “physical” distancing (“social” somehow feels like the wrong word as its the social nature of “humans” that allow us to thrive and survive and heck today “social” can come in some many flavours and is never limited to face to face contact). All our events are cancelled or have moved on to an “online” delivery platform. Thanks to a generous yearly donation from Microsoft of a free Office365 account, we can host Teams meetings for our Executive and Board meetings as well as our monthly training for Coxswains and their 2ICs and our crews.

This doesn’t mean we remain static. With many forced “idle” by the “shut down” and improving weather on the horizon, there is a growing concern of a potential increase in the amount of traffic on the lake. With boat ramps and clubs closed this might be surprising but with this in mind the real concern is that this traffic might be smaller less stable vessels launching from beaches and waterfronts dotted along the shoreline. While our partners at the Canadian Coast Guard are already out on the water, the Canadian Coast Guard Auxiliary units are all working hard to prep our respective vessels for the season ahead. These launches, when they do come, will be for search and rescue taskings only and not simply for training or regular patrols, those need to wait until a real sense of normality arrives and the fog begins to clear.

For us what does this mean? Well a number of key activities are underway, with our exciting new brand launch earlier this year our beloved PARU is already sporting her new look.

But as you can see, she needs her “eyes” and windows are the next step in her pre-season preparations. Then the “launch”, working with local communities to ensure we can do so in a safe and secure manner to not only protect ourselves but also our partners at Port Whitby Marina.

We take the safety and security of our crews very seriously as does the Canadian Coast Guard Auxiliary and while PARU might be ready, our crews need to feel safe. This means not only the introduction of critical COVID-19 protocols but the provision of key on-board kit to ensure our tasked members can focus their attention on the work at hand and not on concerns around the transmission of COVID-19. We will ensure that when our crews do launch it will be with the assurance that their safety and that of those whom they serve is always top of mind.

2020, what a start, what a year. For us, like you, this year look so different only 5 or 6 weeks ago. Frankly we too are struggling with what’s “normal” or more appropriately what is the new “normal”. So many changes, so much uncertainty and yet through it all there are also things we know, we know…

Our love for a breaking wave over the bow…

The laughter of a crew “in sync” as they pull out of the harbour…

The smile and relief of our arrival on a dark night while the temperature dips…

And most importantly our passion for what we do remains the same…

One day we will see you out on the water and of course then we will be sure to share a wave as a gesture of friendship. For now, lets all agree to stay safe, follow the federal and provincial guidelines and if you find yourself out on the water and in need, we will be there to lend a hand, as always…

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