Coquitlam's search and rescue team has invested $200,000 in a new vessel as an increase in water-related calls adds to what's expected to be a record-breaking busy year for crews.
Coquitlam Search and Rescue president Tom Zajac says so far this year the team has had 50 calls — five more than they had attended by this time last year and double their 10-year average. Zajac says water-related incidents typically account for 20 per cent of calls.
More boats have hit the water in the team's service area as travel restrictions forced people to stay local and explore nearby parks and lakes, Zajac said.
In particular, his crews have been called several times to Pitt Lake, a large tidal lake north of Maple Ridge.
"It has a lot of current and a lot of really challenging winds that people don't expect," Zajac said. "Boats can get in trouble."
The organization had to buy a new boat to help with water rescues, as their previous vessel had been in use since 1993.
With all the technical equipment included for navigation, as well as search equipment, the price tag rang in at about $200,000.
"This boat is purposely built for our area — we have a lot of really challenging, shallow waterways, as well as some technical swift water areas in the northern parts," Zajac said.
Zajac said he hopes the boat will last for 25 years.
But with a new boat comes the need for somewhere to put it.
The team is now appealing to the public for a place to store the vessel. It's looking for a secure space that's at least 365 square feet and can be accessed 24 hours a day.
Anyone who can provide that sort of space is asked to fill out this form.