Ready for water rescues

As the summer weather heats up, more people will be heading to the lake and they can rest assured help is at hand should they need it.

Vernon Search and Rescue has a new, powerful tool at their disposal: a 30-foot, 300 horsepower, aluminum-hull boat.

Capable of handling whatever Okanagan Lake can throw at it, the new boat is ready to rescue on the areas largest body of water.

“The Vernon Search and Rescue team has recently acquired a much-needed rescue boat that can handle the worst storms the Okanagan can throw at us,” said VSAR spokesman Trevor Honigman, adding the vessel will greatly increase the year-round capability to VSAR, especially in rough weather and night operations.

“We have to be constantly upgrading or modernizing equipment, a process that seemingly never ends, and having a vessel that allows our teams to work in extremely poor weather has been a goal of ours for some time.”

Last year, VSAR were called out 87 times, and a significant number of those calls were for water rescues.

Purpose designed and built from the keel up as a search and rescue boat five years ago, the vessel is a significant step up in size and power from the other rescue boats VSAR operates.

“The opportunity to purchase this vessel came when Kent Harrison SAR received a new boat, and kindly offered their 'old' boat for sale to other SAR units. We are very thankful we could purchase this excellent vessel for significantly less than its actual value,” said Honigman.

The vessel has a heated cabin, flying bridge, upper deck that helps in searching, it can carry 15 people and has everything a high-end rescue boat needs.

But what it doesn't have is a name, and Honigman said that's where the public comes in.

He is encouraging people to go to the VSAR Facebook page and choose from one of two names: Legacy and Vigilance.

The name with the most votes will be put on the boat.

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