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Commissioning of first purpose-built marine ambulance in B.C. waters takes place Thursday

Ceremony postponed from November due to another emergency – the weather
Brian Francoeur, left, and Harmen Bootsma inside the Island Responder. (Photo by Don Bodger)

BC Emergency Health Services, together with Chemainus Water Taxi, are celebrating the commissioning of B.C.’s first purpose-built marine ambulance Thursday.

The MV Island Responder is dedicated to patients who live in the coastal communities around Chemainus who need paramedic transport to hospital in an emergency. Purpose-built means the boat was built with such things as an on/off ramp for patient stretchers and wheelchairs, and about 100 square feet of room inside for patient treatment.

The boat went into service in November of 2021 and has been used in more than 85 emergency responses since then. A ceremony was originally scheduled around that time to mark its christening, but that got postponed when an atmospheric river struck the area.

The Courier did a story in early March abut the Island Responder and the valuable service it provides.

Related story: First purpose-built marine ambulance in B.C. waters a valuable commodity

BC Emergency Health Services has a long-term contract with Chemainus Water Taxi to provide this marine ambulance.

The commissioning of the boat takes place at 1 p.m. at 2820 Oak Street in Chemainuns beside the ferry dock.

Those who will be in attendance to say a few words about the boat and the service include: Paul Vallely, BCEHS senior provincial executive director of patient care delivery; Augie Sylvester, Penelakut elder-cultural advisor; Captain Bob Mollet, Chemainus Water Taxi operations manager; and Lance Stephenson, BCEHS Island north area director.

Brian Francoeur at the Chemainus dock beside the Island Responder that’s been in service for a few months and making such a difference to residents of nearby islands to get medical treatment quickly. (Photo by Don Bodger)

Don Bodger

About the Author: Don Bodger

I've been a part of the newspaper industry since 1980 when I began on a part-time basis covering sports for the Ladysmith-Chemainus Chronicle.
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