RCMSAR 106 Shuswap

Rescue Base

Unfolding Story – Early Years at Bottom, Most Recent at the Top

See our Video within the Year 2021 segment below, outlining the rationale.


Construction Agreement Signed

The Construction Agreement was signed on September 30th.
Pat Gau, Vice President of the Society, presented the signed Agreement and first cheque of three draws of construction funding to TA Structures.

Review of Construction Plans
Review of Construction Plans

Over the summer months, Shuswap Lifeboat Society Directors reviewed, and reviewed again, the architectural and Schedule “B” specifications, making adjustments as deemed necessary to ensure the various aspects of SAR operations / procedures were considered in the design.
At their last meeting, V.P. Pat Gau is joined by Society President, Bruce Weicker.

Groundbreaking Ceremony
groundbreaking ceremony

On May 18th, a successful Ground Breaking Ceremony, with Bruce Weicker, our Society President as Master of Ceremonies, took place within the welding bay of Twin Anchors Manufacturing, where our Rescue Base will be built. Invited speakers, seated, from right to left – Kukpi7 Doug Thomas, Splatsin Band, Elder Bev Thomas, Opening Prayer, Deputy Mayor Louise Wallace Richmond, of the City of Salmon Arm, Mayor Terry Rysz, of the District of Sicamous, and Kevin Flynn, Chair of the Columbia Shuswap Regional District Board of Directors. A ground-breaking ceremony normally has shovels digging into the earth. As our Rescue Base will float on the lake, there is no land or foundation to dig into. We asked Station Leader, Rob Sutherland if he would perform a symbolic first weld. A 2′ X 3′ aluminum frame was chosen for the weld, which will eventually have the details about the Rescue Base facility an d when it was commissioned.

Design Considerations

Several meetings occurred to discuss the design minutia – what should a floating Rescue Base have for Search and Rescue (SAR) Operations?
Team Leader, Rescue Base Committee, Pat Gau is seen here detailing the operational aspects of our SAR program with Manufacturing Manager, Nigel Watson, to progress engineering, design, and operational needs, to construction drawings.

Construction to Start

Very early in 2022, BC Community Gaming Capital Projects Program announced our grant request for 2021, for $250,000, was approved.
This grant funding completed our Rescue Base Fundraising Initiative, and allow us to begin construction.
Twin Anchors Manufacturing (2004) Ltd. (TA) was chosen as the builder.
The Society gave a deposit to TA in January to reserve a Building Spot within their schedule of construction projects for the summer/fall of 2022.

Seeking Construction Funding

Since 2020, the Society is been actively writing grant proposals, to obtain additional funds to complete a funding package for our Rescue Base.

The Salmon Arm Savings and Credit Union (SASCU) has approved a new construction loan for the Society, which will be debt serviced by the Columbia Shuswap Regional District, through the “Search and Rescue Grant-in-aid Service Amendment Bylaw No. 5827, 2021”

In addition, all donations specifically for Rescue Base have been placed in a Restricted Account, which has been accruing over the last five years.

While discussions continue with the District of Sicamous regarding a long lasting and permanent site for the Rescue Base, the Old Town Bay Marina in the meantime has offered Station #106 space on their docks to affix the Rescue Base when it is built.

The bonus with a floating facility is that it can always be easily moved. Our facility has been designed to fit through the open railway bridge.

With a new redesigned Bruhn Bridge on the horizon, opportunities may arise to allow the siting of our Rescue Base along the Channel which we opine will be a benefit to the community as well as improve access to the facility by ambulance paramedics and responding crews.

RCMSAR 106 Rescue Base from Brendan Carr on Vimeo.

Design, Construction Plans, Cost? Where to Site?
Design, Construction Plans, Cost? Where to Site?

Over the course of 2020, the Society received  engineered construction drawings, Stability Book, and construction estimate(s).

The Stability Book contains of extensive data pertaining to the facility design and size,  with buoyancy, stability and weather characteristics incorporated, which must be calculated and ultimately flotation certified by a naval architect.

This was a year of decision making as construction costs were very fluid, given the volatility of rising construction material prices in 2020. Thus far, the Society has received 3 ever increasing estimates.

Geographic analysis of missions the past decade reaffirms Sicamous is ideally situated for a Rescue Base.

The Society approached Mayor and Council seeking their assistance in determining a viable location to site our Rescue Base as it is completed and floated.  Council asked their staff to work alongside the Society, for which we are very grateful.

Researching Builders …
Researching Builders …

With a concept decided upon, the Society began a search of boathouse builders and/or manufacturers that would be interested in this project, so as to obtain quotes on costs. The concept was discussed with a total of 9 companies, and all but one declined, with most common reason being they were not equipped to construct a 14.5 metre by 19.5 metre boathouse and/or transport it to the Shuswap for floating.

As luck would have it, that sole  firm with interest just happened to be located within the Shuswap – Twin Anchors Manufacturing – which was very interested as our project would permit return of laid off employees, given the downtown in houseboat and modular structure construction.

After much discussion on the pros and cons, and with the Wish List now outlining a List of Needs, the Shuswap Lifeboat Society entered into a contract with Twin Anchors Manufacturing to engineer and design our facility, including all necessary documentation and construction costs.

Shuswap Community Foundation provided grant funding for this work.


A Rescue Base Committee was formed and began brainstorming what it felt a Rescue Base should contain and  how it should be built, and what the facility could offer to both Station 106  and the surrounding communities as well.

Two mooring bays, sufficient storage, a heated ready room, training space,  washroom, and donor recognition was just the beginning – at the end, the Wish List of Wants was 3 pages long.


Of significance, the Committee members strongly recommended to the Society the facility’s superstructure be framed with steel and aluminum, for sustainability, as overall it provides a lighter weight to higher strength ratio, to afford stronger rigidity and superior durability over wood.

Does Station 106 Require a Rescue Base?

RCMSAR Station 106 Shuswap is currently a 24 hour, 365 days a year emergency response organization with over 300 missions undertaken.

SAR operations started May 19th, 2012, with Rescue One. Readily apparent, our services were indeed needed, with 44 missions that first year and 51 missions in 2013, Station 106 instantly became one of the busiest in British Columbia.

Vessel crew, all community volunteers, often discussed the value of a “boat house” – for protection of Rescue One from the elements, as well as provide a secure location to store SAR equipment and rescue gear.

And now in 2017, a Fast Response Craft, Tolonen, was joining Stn. 106.

With Station 106 and the volunteers very committed to their 24 hrs / day emergency response role, vessels were in the elements 365 days/year. Volunteers provided many hours in spring to maintenance and repairs.

While the Station crew volunteer these maintenance hours, the Shuswap Lifeboat Society must fund the cost of maintenance from donations and our grant funding. These costs could be minimized greatly if the vessels were better protected.

Tolonen, a Rigid Hull Inflatable Boat (RHIB), adds sun and summer heat to the ice and winter issue – the side-forming air tubes are rapidly deteriorating from our beautiful yet intense Shuswap sunlight, costing $35,000 when they fail. Tolonen needs to be out of the sun.

Shuswap Lifeboat Society, administering and operating Station 106, now manages $1 Million in Capital Assets – vessels, materials, equipment – supplied by taxpayers, in one form or another, which need protection.

So, in 2017, with due diligence in mind, the Society resolved the Society begin investigating “a floating Rescue Base”  to safeguard the Society’s assets.