Check out the Training Materials Page to get started learning!
1 - Recruit Crew (public, not members yet)
See the Recruiting page. This process is to demonstrate your seriousness about serving as a SAR member and that you already possess the basic boating skills and knowledge. The aim of training within the RCM-SAR is Search and Rescue, recruits are expected, but not always required, to have prior boating experience.
2 - New Crew
Upon completion of your application and receipt of your membership card, the following is the process for new members:
1. Pre-reading of the New Member Materials (training resource page).
2. Familiarization of all content on this website & in the Crew Area
3. Attend New Crew Training Course (held 1-2 times per year)
4. Pass a New Crew Written Exam & Check Ride
At this point you will be eligible to participate in on water training with duty crews and ready to begin your Crew Level training which includes the Crew Level Course later in the year. You are a trainee crew member and until you reach 20 hours sea time you will not be counted as crew for minimum required crewing levels on the Tolonen, but you may a the discretion of the coxswain be on-call and on the boat for SAR missions if there is room.
Training is managed by the SAR Management System (SMS) on the RCM-SAR website. When your application is approved and processed, you will be assigned a number and login to the website. If this information is not provided to you, contact the RCM-SAR office and request it. Every member is required to maintain a profile which tracks your statistics and sign-offs, and maintains your activity log and valid certifications in a digital format. The SMS is the primary system used for all training and mission tracking and each member must check it frequently.
Crew training is incumbant on the individual member to track and complete in communication with their training officer & coxswain. All members should work through the RCM-SAR website which has a library of training materials, required simulator training (SLS) and quizzes.
3 - Basic Crew
Once you complete your New Crew training you will be eligible to participate in on water training! Once you are able to demonstrate a minimum safe training standard you will be able to serve as a trainee crew on SAR missions. Once you complete all your Basic Crew training, you will be tested to ensure your knowledge and skill are to station standards. If you pass you will be given your Basic Crew rating and will be able to be on active crew for full rescue capability. Your job on the vessel will be to navigate, run systems, work under direction of an Advanced Crew or Coxswain, and be the front line assistance to the rescued. If you fail, you will be given the chance to retest, you can retest as many times as needed. All members are required to achieve this level of training within two years as a minimum.
A 4 day training program at the CCG base in Victoria focusing on enclosed cabin vessel electronic navigation and results in a Transport Canada Small Vessel Operator Proficiency certificate. The training is divided between the classroom, the water and the simulator for fast response craft (FRCs).
4 - Advanced Crew
Once you pass Basic Crew Level you will be able to start your Advanced Crew Level training. This covers similar material as the Basic Crew Level but takes it to a much higher level of understanding and knowledge. Your job on the vessel will now include completing taskings given by the Coxswain, being in charge of crew safety, helping trainees advance, and operating the vessel as a Coxswain should the Coxswain become incapacitated or be too busy to operate the position. Some courses you will be eligible to attend include:
Search And Rescue Navigation 2 (SARnav 2)
A 4 day training program at the CCG base in Victoria focusing on enclosed cabin vessel restricted visibility navigation, positive control and results in a Transport Canada Simulated Electronic Navigation (Limited) certificate. The training is divided between the classroom, the water and the simulator for fast response craft (FRCs).
This is 7-day course taught at the Coast Guard station in Bamfield, British Columbia. It covers all aspects of vessel operation, crew communication, navigation and incident command structure. It is an intense and expensive course and upon completion of this course you are obligated to serve in the CCGA-P for a minimum of two years.
Once the training is complete then you will be tested on your knowledge and skill and if you pass you will be given your Advanced Crew rating. If you fail you will be given the chance to retest within 2 months. You can retest as many times as needed.
5 - Coxswain
Overall It generally takes between 3 and 5 years to become a fully certified Coxswain (vessel operator and crew incident commander). Upon completion of Advanced Crew training you will receive leadership training by a senior Coxswain, Advanced Rescue Trainer Evaluator (ARTE) or member of the RCM-SAR Training Team, checked out on actual Search & Rescue (SAR) incidents and will then become fully certified as a RCM-SAR Rescue Coxswain. You will be given a crew when one is available and you are comfortable handling it. Duties include overall responsibility for taskings in Search and Rescue, vessel and crew safety, and continuous crew training.