The Tofino Lifeboat Station

Crew of the "Tofino" fight a stubborn blaze at Long Beach Shellfish

During 1987 and 1988, I worked aboard the CG Lifeboat "Tofino" The "105" as it was often called was decomissioned in 2002. At 44ft, she was a sturdy and contollable vessel under most conditions, despite excessive rolling and fast pitch. Often, crews would return from calls in rougher shape than those rescued. Built in 1970 by McKay Cormack Ltd, Victoria, the lifeboat spent her entire career of service in Tofino. A noteable feature of this vessel was its cleanliness. The "3208 Cat" engines were painted white, brass was polished, decks were clear, gear was fast.

Although I will miss the 105, she is worthy of her retirement. A decade of extended service was pressed out of the aging craft. The electronics, engines, and electrical system being no longer suitable or reliable for search and rescue. A few of her sister vessels are still in service.


CH-113 Labrador

Although not Coast Guard, 442 Squadron SAR Techs hail from CFB Comox. Often "Labrador" helicopters were tasked to marine incidents. Missions with these aircraft were extraordinary. Labradors were often tasked to assist us in rescue. Shoreline searches, offshore patterns, hoists etc. were the norm.

The Labrador has seen better days. They are now for emergency service only. In January 1997, the Canadian government announced that the Cormorant would replace the aging Labrador, with plans to have 15 in place by the year 2003.

CC-115 Buffalo

The venerable De Havilland "Buffalo" often used in large search areas or deploying self contained air drops (SCAD)

Messerschmitt-Bolkow-Blohm (BO-105-CBS) helicopter

Bell 212 Helicopter

Video Clip from CBC's "the fifth estate"
Aired : October 1991

Maltese Cross Maltese Cross

The insignia of the fire service is the Cross Pattee-Nowy, otherwise known
as the Maltese Cross.
This cross represents the fire service ideals of
saving lives and extinguishing fires. The fire service borrows the cross
from the Knights of Saint John of Jerusalem, a charitable, non-military
organization that existed during the 11th and 12th centuries. A white or
silver cross on a dark background was adopted by these Knights of
Hospitallers, as they were also known, because of their charity toward the
sick and poor in setting up hospices and hospitals. Later they assisted the
Knights of the crusades through their goodwill and also through military
assistance in an effort to win back the Holy Land.

The Knights of St. John eventually moved to the Island of Malta, The island
for which the Maltese Cross was named. The need for an identifiable emblem
for the Knights had become crucial. Because of the extensive armor which
covered their bodies and faces, the Knights were unable to distinguish
friend from foe in battle. They chose the Cross of Calvary as their symbol
since they fought their battles for a holy cause. The cross was later
callled the "Maltese Cross" and represented the principles of charity,
loyalty, chivalry, gallantry, generosities to friend and foe, protection of
the weak, and dexterity in service.

During the Crusades, many knights became firefighters out of necessity.
Their enemies had resorted to throwing glass bombs containing naphtha and
sailing their vessels of war containing naptha, rosin, sulfur, and flaming
oil into the vessels of the knights. Many knights were called to do heroic
deeds by rescuing fellow knights , and extinguishing fires.