As part of the Canadian Coast Guard’s Indigenous Community Boat Volunteer Pilot Program, Ahousaht First Nation has received and launched its new dedicated response vessel. As a founding member of the Coastal Nations Coast Guard Auxiliary (CN-CGA), Ahousaht First Nation works and trains with the Canadian Coast Guard and other first responders to support marine safety on the west coast of Vancouver Island. The new response vessel is a 29-foot vessel capable of cruising at 32 knots, which is critical in emergency situations and has an estimated range of 400 nautical miles.
The CN-CGA is Canada’s first all-Indigenous Coast Guard Auxiliary, with more than 50 members from Ahousaht, Heiltsuk, Gitxaala, Nisgaa, Kitasoo, and Quatsino First Nations. CN-CGA volunteers are trained in cold water rescue, search techniques, marine first aid, inter-agency communications protocols, and the use of specialized rescue equipment by the Canadian Coast Guard. CN-CGA members also exercise and train on the water with the Canadian Coast Guard and other first responders in their communities, and are on-call to respond to marine emergencies 24-hours-a-day, 365-days-a-year in remote areas along the BC coastline.