After a few years posting our news and media to Facebook, we have decided to bring our dedicated site back to life with regular updates and new media! Be sure to check back here for news on the Colchester Guardian in 2018!
A special thank you to Paul Gushue of G1Broadband for the donation of a new site!
As always a HUGE THANK YOU to our volunteers and supporters!
Congratulations to the Crew of the Colchester Guardian,
On Wednesday December 20th 2017 seven of our crew members received Canada 150 Sesquicentennial Pins. All are honoured to have received this once in a lifetime recognition.
“It’s quite a honour,” Oakley said. “We don’t do it for the recognition but when you are recognized it solidifies what you’re doing is a worthwhile cause and appreciated.”
Dual passions of boating and volunteering drove Jim Oakley to join the Canadian Coast Guard Auxiliary, but the adrenalin rush and the satisfaction of saving lives got him hooked.
“When you basically save somebody’s life, that’s something you never forget,” Oakley said. “You strive to — you want to — do it again.”
The crew – men and women who include small business owners, a nurse, paramedics and a doctor – all work full-time jobs in addition to volunteering their time, not only for rescues but for extensive training.
“We train hard. We try to train once or twice a week both on land and out in the water,” said Oakley, who also works as an insurance adjuster. “(The training) is very extensive … very intense.”
Unit Leader Jim Oakley
The group ranges in age from 24 to 55. Volunteers all put up their own money for their personal safety equipment.
Oakley said that cost ranges from $1,000 to $1,200. Their winter suits alone cost $400.
Like all vessels of the Canadian Coast Guard Auxiliary, the 31-foot Colchester Guardian is entirely manned by volunteers.
Essex County personal watercraft riders rescued by Canadian Coast Guard after eight-hour ordeal in Lake Erie
Two Essex County turbo watercraft enthusiasts can thank Amherstburg’s Canadian Coast Guard and Auxiliary — as well as sheer chance — for saving their lives after an eight-hour ordeal treading water in Lake Erie.
“Lucky,” said Jeff Faucher of the CCGS Thunder Cape — one of the vessels that pulled the two shivering men out of the lake around 12:20 a.m. Tuesday.
Mike Drexler and Jim Oakley
Rescue specialist Jana Lorbetski said the odds against finding the riders were so great that bringing them to shore alive “felt like winning the jackpot.”
The two adult males had attempted to ride one red Honda Aquatrax from Pelee Island to Leamington — a distance of 13 nautical miles — on Monday afternoon.
They lost control of the watercraft and become separated from it about five nautical miles from the mainland.
Only one of the men had a life jacket.
“The other guy, who had no life jacket, was totally exhausted and in more trouble, in terms of hypothermia,” Lorbetski said.
The men had clung to each other for flotation and warmth. Commanding officer Sondi Ryersee estimates just over eight hours elapsed between their fall into the water and their rescue.
“If this had happened in April or May — different story,” Faucher said ominously.
“Wear a life jacket,” said Jim Oakley, unit leader of the Colchester Guardian. “Have a whistle. Have reflectors on your life jacket.”
Oakley also noted the value of having a sail plan: “Let someone know when you’re leaving, where you’re going, and when to expect you back.”
Click below for news articles on this rescue!
To everyone who attended our first Trivia & Pasta Fundraiser and thank you to everyone who donated gifts for our raffle table.
It was a successful sell out event and the Colchester Guardian was awarded with over $3500 to go towards the maintenance and operating costs.
Four members of the unit (including two officers) received Operational Merit Medals from the Canadian Coast Guard Auxiliary for their part in saving 9 lives on Lake Erie. The Medal of Operational Merit is awarded to auxiliarists in recognition of superior skill in performing an assist, or rescue, or other meritorious operational service. The award recognizes deeds or activities performed in an outstanding professional manner and/or of an uncommonly high standard that brings considerable benefit to the accomplishment of the CCGA mission.
The ALL VOLUNTEER crew of the Colchester Guardian responds to rescue taskings like this one from the Joint Rescue Coordination Center. Please WEAR your PFD or life jacket while on a boat. You never know when or how quickly you might end up in the water!
The second annual Knights of Columbus Harrow Council 5350 Fishing and Boating Expo was a great success! The hundreds of people that attended enjoyed perch dinners, great deals from many vendors and had the opportunity to see our FLIR thermal imager live in action! A special thanks goes out to the Harrow K of C, AMA Sportsmen, and the many donors, volunteers and supporters that helped make the event and our lifesaving efforts possible.
THANK YOU FOR YOUR CONTINUED SUPPORT!
2013 was another successful season for the Colchester Guardian. Milestones this year included several taskings, inter-agency cooperation and donation of a FLIR thermal imager by the Harrow Knights of Columbus 5350.
Thank you to all our supporters, SAR crew and volunteers!
Students form WF Herman Secondary School visited the Colchester Guardian and learned about the Canadian SAR System, charting and some of the equipment that we use to save lives on the water!
The Colchester Guardian now has a FLIR 625L thermal imager installed on the boat. This unit displays an image based on heat (infrared radiation), not light. Operational uses include locating persons in the water, navigation and sighting in reduced visibility! (e.g., night, fog, smoke, haze, etc.)
A special thank you goes out to the Harrow Knights of Columbus Council 5350 for their generous donation! Your continued support made the Colchester Guardian into a world class SAR vessel!
The Colchester Guardian is back on the water and in service with some new equipment.
Thanks to all the donors, supporters, our great volunteers and crew for helping to save lives on the water!
The Harrow Knights of Columbus Council 5350 is hosting a Fishing & Boating Expo at 34 McAfee Street in Harrow on March 9th, 2013 from 9am to 5pm. Proceeds from the event will go towards purchasing a FLIR Thermal Imaging Camera for the Colchester Guardian. The FLIR camera will help us locate vessels and persons in the water faster and easier both night and day.
See the facebook event page for more information:
After a successful first season, the Colchester Guardian is now stored for the winter. But, that doesn’t mean that the work is over. Minor repairs, adjustments and improvements will be made over the winter!
After the weather calmed down, a hull inspection and assistance from the tug Wyoming, the ferry was freed from the sand bout 24 hours after running aground. The Colchester Guardian was also on scene. Photos, News links and videos are posted below:
The passenger and car ferry MV Jiimaan ran aground on the sand just outside Kingsville Harbour. News footage links below:
Vote for us on the Aviva Community Fund Web Site and help support our cause with up to $100,000 in funding!
Cooler fall temperatures are here, but our crew doesn’t stop training just because the weather is changing. Colchester Guardian Rescue would like to remind all mariners to wear appropriate exposure protection and always wear your life jacket or PFD!
The Town of Essex and Colchester Centre celebrated 200 years of peace with the USA at the War of 1812 Bicentennial this weekend. Several hundred people were in attendance. The Colchester Guardian SAR Crew and volunteers were also there ensuring safe passage of the Tall Ship Brigantine St. Lawrence II.
A typical summer weekend yielded two SAR taskings with great success for the Colchester Guardian. Once again the dedication and hard work of the crew proved successful.
“Special thanks to my dedicated crew. Two calls in two days and I have witnessed a level of professionalism far beyond expectations. Great job everyone!”
– Jan Barnewall, Unit Leader, CCGA Unit 527
Students from W.F. Herman Secondary School in Windsor came out to the Colchester Guardian dock as part of a geography field trip. Coxswain Barnewall, Unit Maintenance Officer Drexler and Crewman Prieur were on deck to show students the vessel, it’s equipment, buoyant heaving line use and some basics about marine navigation. See the the photo gallery for pictures of the day.
Secondary sea trials were completed with great success with very few minor adjustments required. The skill of our structural engineer was verfied with expected waterline levels and laminar flow characteristics aft of the engine pod. Vessel speeds proved to be higher than anticipated with a top speed of 28 knots as verified by GPS. Cruising speeds were also higher and a broader than expected range of between 15 and 22 knots. Initial manoeuvres indicate a very stable, nimble and responsive vessel capable of handling rough conditions. The overall unanimous conclusion is that the Colchester Guardian is a very seaworthy vessel that is well suited to the area of responsibiliy in which she will operate.
Special thanks go out to all the volunteers, crew, families and donors that helped make the Colchester Guardian the premier volunteer marine rescue unit on the Great Lakes!
Just over 100 litres shy of completely filling all three tanks, 527 litres of fuel were transferred for her first fillup. Incidentally, our Canadian Coast Guard Auxiliary unit number is also 527!
A special thanks to Agris for the generous fuel donation!
Over 75 people attended the launch and Christening of the Colchester Guardian on May 19th, 2012. Dignitaries in attendance included Essex Mayor Ron McDermott, Councillor Sherry Bondy, Councillor John Scott, Councillor Bill Baker, Councillor Morely Bowman, several Essex Town Staff, OPP Inspector Rick Derus, Canadian Coast Guard, Canadian Coast Guard Auxiliary, local EMS, Essex Fire Department, and many more. The vessel is now docked in Colchester Harbour awaiting final minor fitout and sea trials.
Special thanks to our VIP’s, volunteers, families and the entire community that helped us launch the vessel!
Speedy progress by a core group of highly dedicated and skilled volunteers will allow us to go through with launch plans later this week! Stay tuned for further updates!
With painting complete, we’ve begun to install many of the vessel’s critical systems such as sanitation, fuel, pumps, electrical, etc. Multiple equipment and construction delays are now cleared allowing the refit to progress rapidly before launch.
Fabrication and painting of the vessel are complete! Installation of the outboard motors and all other ships systems will begin this week! The Canadian Coast Guard Auxiliary also sent personnel to inspect the hull and equipment today!
With only a few seats available, the first four of many volunteer crew members received their Canadian Coast Guard Auxiliary SAR Basic training this weekend! Congratulations to all on their successful course completion! As space in the training sessions allow, more crew will be added in the near future. Our goal is to having multiple complete crews to allow for maximum availability and a rotation for each crew to have a stand down period.
With much fanfare and the help of the Harrow Kinsmen, the 1st Annual Colchester Guardian Fish Fry kicked off on St. Patricks Day at the Harrow Fairgrounds. The event helped raise some much needed money to help get the boat in the water! Some awesome items went up for auction as the beer, spiked green slushies and Cabo Wabo jello shots went down! A Taylor Hall signed jersey, a hockey stick signed by all the Windsor Spitfires, a spa package, a night at the casino with tickets to see Kevin Costner, a Colchester Guardian Rescue official CCG approved life ring and captain of the Colchester Guardian rescue boat for a day were just some of the great items that fetched great bids!
Special thanks go to the Harrow Kinsmen, the CGRI volunteers and all those in attendance! Your valuable support truly does go to saving lives on the water!
After an enormous amount of work (~500 man hours), the boat was moved to Maden Industrial Ltd. for major metal fabrication, sandblasting and painting. It will be back in a few weeks for volunteers to install her engines, fuel systems, engines, electronics, electrical and more.
With great enthusiasm and some talented hard working volunteers, the vessel is now stripped back to her frames in preparation for fabrication, painting and repowering. Both of the aging fuel tanks were removed and any of the components that are salvageable will be re-used.
Special thanks to all the volunteers! What you did today was amazing!
Despite the busy time of the season, several individuals heeded the call for volunteers. The experience represented included skilled trades, medical specialists, retired Navy and several very talented individuals. Thank you all for attending and we look forward to working with you!
Special thanks to Mr. Brian Gray of the Harrow Family Health Team for hosting the meeting!
With generous support from the Harrow Kinsmen, Mr. Rick Doyle of Sharp Edge Tool Ltd. and a donation from Mr. Jeff Watson (Essex Town Planner) and family, we have purchased the vessel and transported her to Windsor for the winter. The steel hulled vessel sat in a boat yard in Sarnia for 8 years prior to being resurrected by the CGRI. To be Christened the “Colchester Guardian” upon launch in the spring, the 28-foot, 6 tonne vessel will undergo a complete refit of engine, drive train, fuel system, electrical systems, new marine electronics, interior and exterior painting and refurbishment.
Following a brief presentation by Mr. Jan Barnewall, District Training Coordinator, Canadian Coast Guard Auxiliary, Essex Town Council unanimously approved support of Colchester Guardian Rescue!
Essex County OPP Detachment Commander voices support for the establishment of a Canadian Coast Guard Auxiliary vessel to be stationed in Colchester Harbour. According to the Detachment Commander, “The Detroit/Windsor/Essex County area is one of the largest recreational boating areas in North America… A Canadian Coast Guard Auxiliary vessel operating out of Colchester Harbour would address a noticeable gap in our combined efforts to provide a timely response to marine incidents occurring in that area.”
Assembled by a group of three community champions, the first meeting of the board of directors of Colchester Guardian Rescue Inc. is called to order. Mr. Jan Barnewall, Mr. Mike Drexler and Mr. Dan Sauve will each serve as directors of the organization.