Bear River fire department launches new water rescue service

·2 min read
The fire department was inspired to buy the boat after two men died in a boating accident in Sissiboo Grand Lake in 2021. (Bear River Fire Department/Facebook - image credit)
The fire department was inspired to buy the boat after two men died in a boating accident in Sissiboo Grand Lake in 2021. (Bear River Fire Department/Facebook - image credit)

A new water rescue service is being offered to communities across Nova Scotia's Digby County.

The Bear River fire department, located at the border between Annapolis and Digby counties, has secured a new boat that will be operated with trained staff to conduct rescue operations in the area's lakes and rivers.

Fire department Chief David McCormick said the deaths of two men last year, whose bodies were found after a boating incident in the Sissiboo Grand Lake area, inspired the creation of the rescue service.

"It gives to the community that extra sense of security of having a water rescue team in our area," he said. "It saves an extra 20, 25 minutes from pulling a boat from Annapolis County that [gets to] somebody in the water a lot faster."

The Digby fire department has a boat, he said, but it is a larger one better suited for basins.

Bear River's boat is smaller and more easily transportable through the narrow back roads in and around Digby County, he added.

After getting their hands on the vessel, the fire department decided to offer it up to other fire departments in the Digby County area with lakes in their jurisdictions, McCormick said.

They haven't had any rescue calls yet, but are now in the process of training members of the department in water rescue operations. McCormick said the team is made up of not only members of his fire department, but also those in other departments who wish to be trained.

'Time is everything'

McCormick said the area's growing population means more people will be out in the water, increasing the possibility of accidents.

"With people moving in from other areas … the lakes that haven't been used as much now are going to get used a lot more with the influx of the people that are coming to Nova Scotia," he said.

Ryan Marshall, a resident of Weymouth, N.S., and a member of the village's volunteer fire department, said the addition of the new boat offers support to the large area around Annapolis and Digby counties.

"Time is everything for any type of rescues like these," Marshall said. "Living in rural Nova Scotia, response times are so long for any of the first responders."

Marshall added that community members have expressed "sincere gratitude" following the announcement of the service.

"Our community had some great losses in the recent years," Marshall said, pointing to last year's boating incident. "So it's well received."

MORE TOP STORIES

Our goal is to create a safe and engaging place for users to connect over interests and passions. In order to improve our community experience, we are temporarily suspending article commenting