Lake Cowichan Fire Department Chief Doug Knott

Firefighters rolling on the river

Navigating shallow waters: River fisherman guides crews on the use of their new jet-powered rescue boat

Living on the second largest body of water on Vancouver Island you’d think our rescue services would have equipment to work on the water.

But we didn’t. Until now.

“A boat is a safer way to operate” says Doug Knott, Lake Cowichan Fire Department’s chief, about water rescues, “ We’ve certainly used one over the years, many times borrowing and using our own stuff.”

After a year and a half of fundraising, the LCFD finally raised enough money to buy one.

Three weeks ago members took delivery of their new fire rescue boat. Its a 65-hp jet-drive ridged-hull inflatable with fire and rescue equipment added to it.

The jet-drive pontoon boat is a little different to use than a recreational boat so Knott has arranged to have the men learn to operate it from experienced jet boat users.

When Kenzie Cuthbert  heard the news he offered to help train the fireman to navigate the river — “the currents, the boulders and how to manipulate the boat using the jet motor.”

Cuthbert is a professional guide and fisherman on the Cowichan River and he is well-versed in jet boat use.

On Dec. 7, members received hands-on training, with Cuthbert pointing out some of the hazard areas on the river as they practiced manoeuvreing the boat in the shallow water.

Kenzie took two firefighters at a time downriver, past Little Beach, noting boulders and areas to avoid then they did some full-speed runs back up the river to the lake.

Firefighter Tyler Knott was happy to be able to train with Cuthbert. He was surprised how differently the jet boat handled than regular boats.

“That was the number one thing we learned today,” he said.

As a drift fisherman on the river, Cuthbert knows it like the back of his hand, he said. He also uses jet boats on the river so he was a good choice to teach the members how to safely use their new fire rescue boat on the ever-changing river.

Cuthbert was impressed with the boat’s stability.

“It felt really, really safe, and that’s a big thing.”

The Cowichan River is is very low for this time of year, but that turns out to be good for teaching the firefighters how to use their new boat in the shallows.

“The river is really low, I was surprised where we went.”  remarked Cuthbert.

Although most of the rescue work the boat will do will be on the lake, it is important to learn how to run on the river in case something occurs on it.

Three weeks ago some of the members were given five days of training on the lake with another instructor. More LCVFD members will receive training in January and February so they are all comfortable using the boat.

 

Just Posted

49ers regroup to hold off Lakehill

6-2 victory not one of Cowichan’s best, says coach

Climate strike draws huge crowd in Duncan

Millions strike for climate worldwide

Never Ending Summer Affair at Shawnigan looks on the bright side of life

A drop or two of rain won’t stop Shawnigan Lake folks from having a good time outdoors

PHOTOS: Young protesters in B.C. and beyond demand climate change action

Many demonstaers were kids and teens who skipped school to take part

Walmart to quit selling e-cigarettes amid vaping backlash

U.S.’s largest retailer points to ‘growing’ complications in federal, state and local regulations

Former B.C. lifeguard gets house arrest for possession of child porn

Cees Vanderniet of Grand Forks will serve six months of house arrest, then two years’ probation

Crown alleges resentment of ex-wife drove Oak Bay father to kill his daughters

Patrick Weir alleged in his closing arguments that Andrew Berry is responsible for the deaths of his daughters

How to react to Trudeau’s racist photos? With humility, B.C. prof says

‘We are now treating racism as a crime that you cannot recover from’

‘I’d do it again,’ says B.C. man who swam naked, drunk in Toronto shark tank

David Weaver, of Nelson, was drunk when he went to Ripley’s Aquarium in Toronto on Oct. 12 2018

Victoria man spots online photo of his totem pole 11 years after it was stolen

Mark Trueman restored the pole himself before it was stolen off of his property in Duncan

VIDEO: Fire destroys Williams Lake strip club targeted by past arson attempts

Diamonds and Dust Entertainment Lounge destroyed by fire, as well as New World Tea and Coffee House

Trudeau seeks meeting with Singh to apologize for blackface, brownface photos

‘I will be apologizing to him personally as a racialized Canadian,’ Trudeau said Friday

Most Read