Thank You To The Knights of Columbus Harrow Council 5350

Thank You so much to the Knights of Columbus Harrow Council 5350 for their ongoing support.
They held their annual Elimination Draw and Rib Dinner last night which was extremely successful and a sell out.
The Colchester Guardian Rescue and the Up about Down, Down Syndrome Association were the lucky recipients of the proceeds.
A great example of charities working together for the betterment and safety of the citizens in our community.

By |April 17th, 2018|Categories: CGRI News|0 Comments

Brand New Online Presence – Lots of Updates Coming!

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!

By |January 31st, 2018|Categories: CGRI News|0 Comments

Congratulations !

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.”

Community-minded Citizens recognized with Canada 150 medals

By |January 31st, 2018|Categories: CGRI News|0 Comments

Saving lives is ‘indescribable’ — Passion drives Lake Erie volunteer rescue crew

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.

Read More Here

By |January 29th, 2018|Categories: CGRI News|0 Comments

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!

Windsor Star News Article

CTV News Article and Video

CBC Windsor

By |January 29th, 2018|Categories: CGRI News|0 Comments

Thank You !

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.

By |January 11th, 2018|Categories: CGRI News|0 Comments

CCGA Operational Merit Medals Awarded

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.

By |September 27th, 2014|Categories: CGRI News|0 Comments

Second Annual Fishing & Boating Expo

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.


By |March 8th, 2014|Categories: CGRI News|0 Comments

Back On the Hard for the Winter

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!

By |November 23rd, 2013|Categories: CGRI News|0 Comments

FLIR Thermal Imager

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!

By |June 1st, 2013|Categories: CGRI News|0 Comments

Harrow Knights of Columbus Fishing & Boating Expo

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:

By |March 9th, 2013|Categories: CGRI News|0 Comments

On the Hard for the Winter

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!

By |November 10th, 2012|Categories: CGRI News|0 Comments

Ferry MV Jiimaan Aground at Kingsville

By |October 11th, 2012|Categories: CGRI News|0 Comments

Two SAR Taskings in Two Days !

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

By |June 24th, 2012|Categories: CGRI News|0 Comments

W.F. Herman Visits the Colchester Guardian

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.

Click here to see photos in the gallery.

By |May 31st, 2012|Categories: CGRI News|0 Comments

Secondary Sea Trials Success !!

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.

Click here to see photos in the gallery.

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!

By |May 31st, 2012|Categories: CGRI News|0 Comments

Colchester Guardian Christened May 19th, 2012!

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.

Click here to see photos in the gallery.

Special thanks to our VIP’s, volunteers, families and the entire community that helped us launch the vessel!

By |May 19th, 2012|Categories: CGRI News|0 Comments

Vessel Refit Underway!

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.

By |May 8th, 2012|Categories: CGRI News|0 Comments

First Four Crew Members Receive SAR Basic Training!

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.

By |March 25th, 2012|Categories: CGRI News|0 Comments

St. Patrick’s Day Perch Fish Fry Fundraiser

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!

By |March 17th, 2012|Categories: CGRI News|0 Comments

Work on the boat makes great progress!

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.

Click here to see photos in the gallery.

Special thanks to all the volunteers! What you did today was amazing!

By |December 27th, 2011|Categories: CGRI News|0 Comments

First Volunteers Meeting Well Attended

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!

By |December 16th, 2011|Categories: CGRI News|0 Comments

Work on the boat begins!

The directors of Colchester Guardian Rescue couldn’t wait to get started! The boat is being stripped of all unusable, salable and reusable items in preparation for the metal fabrication work, painting and re-powering.

By |December 8th, 2011|Categories: CGRI News|0 Comments

The Colchester Guardian Arrives!

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.

By |November 16th, 2011|Categories: CGRI News|0 Comments

Ontario Provincial Police Support

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.”

By |November 4th, 2011|Categories: CGRI News|0 Comments

CGRI is formed!

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.

By |October 29th, 2011|Categories: CGRI News|0 Comments