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Boston Whaler to the rescue

Hamlet uses $32,000 of surplus to purchase local boat

Darrell Greer
Northern News Services

Rankin Inlet (Aug 14/02) - Rankin Inlet hamlet council passed a motion this past week to use $32,000 of its $285,000 operational surplus to purchase a new boat for the local search-and-rescue (SAR) committee.

The vessel -- a 6.7-metre Boston Whaler -- was purchased locally from Joe Tartak.

SAR committee member and hamlet Coun. David Ningeongan says the biggest benefit to SAR having its own vessel is a faster response time when an emergency arises.

"Once we receive the initial call, we'll be able to activate our marine SAR immediately," says Ningeongan.

"In the past, before we could anything, we had to locate someone who owned a boat and was willing to allow us to use it for a search. The time we save by having our own boat could be the difference in a search ending in life or death."

The hamlet purchased the Boston Whaler and donated it to the SAR committee.

This way, the vessel will be listed as a hamlet asset and covered by its insurance.

Ningeongan says the next step is to rig the boat with the proper equipment for search-and-rescue purposes.

"We're going to install a radar, global positioning system, VHF and CB radios -- equipment you need for a proper search and rescue."

The Boston Whaler is an all-weather vessel and could be used in the Rankin region from July until October, depending on weather and ice conditions.

"Having our own vessel will also allow us to tap into the Canadian Coast Guard's Auxiliary program for additional training for our members."

The Rankin Inlet search and rescue committee has nine members and turns to local sources when a SAR has to be activated.

The SAR committee added two ATVs last week to its current resources of two snowmachines and six sleds.

The sleds were donated to SAR through a carpentry program at Nunavut Arctic College almost two years ago.

"Those sleds are now fully equipped with survival gear our SAR members would need to survive should they ever be stuck on the land in a bad storm," says Ningeongan.

"Slowly, but surely, we're building up our resources to be more effective when we have to respond to emergency situations."