Western Group and RCMSAR announce partnership

RCMSAR & Western Group partner to promote children’s safety on the water ahead of the boating season & safe boating awareness week.

May 18, 2023 – Safe Boating Awareness Week takes place from May 20 to May 26, 2023

Ahead of Safe Boating Awareness Week, the Royal Canadian Marine Search and Rescue (RCMSAR) and Western Group are pleased to announce a new funding partnership that will serve to promote and elevate children’s safety on the water through RCMSAR’s Kids Don’t Float program.

The Kids Don’t Float Program is built and operated by volunteers who work with community partners and funders like Western Group to provide infants, children, and youth free access to nearly one thousand lifejackets/personal floatation devices (PFDs). These PFDs are housed in over one hundred loaner stations at marinas and public docks along coastal British Columbia and inland waters of the Shuswap.

Parents and guardians who do not own lifejackets, or who do not have appropriately sized PFDs for their children, can simply grab one and return it to the Kids Don’t Float PFD Loaner Station at the end of the day,” says Bills Riggs, CEO of RCMSAR. “More families can enjoy a day on the water knowing their children are safe thanks to water safety partners like Western Group.

Western Group is committed to making a meaningful and sustainable impact that shapes and improves the future for communities. In doing so, Western wanted to select a nonprofit with roots and reach into each of the communities they operate and who holds shared values on safety and education. Safety is one of Western’s core values, and many of their employees are volunteers of RCMSAR from Prince Rupert in the North to the tip of Vancouver Island and in the port communities. “We place significant importance on education, youth and the environment when choosing organizations to support,” shares Bill Mooney, President for Western Group.

“Our organization is celebrating 75 years, and together with our employees, we are extremely proud to support RCMSAR and the Kids Don’t Float program which serves to keep children safe on the water in communities where our employees live, work and play,” Mooney continues. “We are thrilled to help RCMSAR purchase new and replacement lifejackets which will be placed at a number of PFD loaner stations over the next three years.”

Since 1978, RCMSAR volunteers have assisted and saved thousands of lives responding to calls for help on the water 24 hours a day, year-round. RCMSAR volunteers not only respond to emergencies on the water; they also work tp prevent them by advocating for safe boating and offering complimentary pleasure craft safety checks in the communities they serve.

Safe Boating Awareness Week promotes safe and responsible boating practices in all communities across Canada. Whether you are on a boat, canoe, kayak, paddleboard, jet ski or simply spending time at a nearby beach, RCMSAR and its partners remind everyone to stay safe on the water by following these boating safety principles:

  1. Wear a lifejacket, always! You and your family.
  2. Call for Help immediately: use channel 16 on VHF marine radio or call *16, #727 or simply dial 9-1-1 on your cell.
  3. Familiarize yourself with the area you visit note commercial traffic zones, remote areas that lack cellular coverage.
  4. Boat sober
  5. Bring Required Safety Equipment: Test prior to departure, replace expired items.
  6. Be aware of submerged objects: Rocks, stumps, log strikes can damage a boat’s hull or motor which can result in injury or death.
  7. Leave a sail plan with loved ones, check the weather before departing.
  8. Take a boating course

RCMSAR also recommends boaters consult Transport Canada’s Safe Boating Guide through the Office of Boating Safety which encourages safe recreational boating practices through compliance with regulations. If you are new to boating be sure to visit or to access additional information through the Canadian Safe Boating Council.

About Royal Canadian Marine Search and Rescue

The Royal Canadian Marine Search and Rescue (RCMSAR) is a not-for-profit volunteer-based organization that operates more 31 marine rescue stations along the coast of British Columbia and in-land waters. With over 900 volunteers, emergency response crews are on-call 24 hours a day, seven days a week ready to respond to marine emergencies tasked by the Joint Rescue Coordination Centre in B.C. through an agreement with the Canadian Coast Guard. RCMSAR volunteers also prevent emergencies by providing the public boating safety information, conduct pleasure craft safety checks and provide free access to children’s lifejackets at PFD loaner stations located at many docks and marinas in the communities that they serve through the Kids Don’t Float program. RCMSAR’s mission is “Saving lives on the water”.

The Kids Don’t Float PFD Loaner Stations are built by RCMSAR volunteers and graciously funded by our boating and water safety partners like Western Group. To support the Kids Don’t Float program, go to:

About Western Group

Western Group is made up of strong and diverse operating divisions: Terminals & Stevedoring and Intermodal Services. These divisions connect Canada’s marine, rail, road, and transportation corridors to global business. But our most valuable assets are our people. Instinctive, agile, and creative, we rely on them to generate new and unique solutions and deliver the highest level of service to our customers.

Western Group is located in North Vancouver, Canada and is a wholly owned subsidiary of Seattle, Washington based Carrix Inc.

About Safe Boating Awareness Week

Safe Boating Awareness Week is managed by the Canadian Safe Boating Council, a registered charity, with support from its members, partners, and Transport Canada’s Office of Boating Safety. Since 1995, Safe Boating Awareness Week has been the mainstay of boating safety communication among millions of Canadian Boaters. Safe Boating Awareness Week takes place each year starting Saturday of the May long weekend.

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For interview opportunities, please reach out to:

Western Group Ltd
Vice-President, People & Sustainability, Kim Stegeman-Lowe

Phone: 604-904-2807 | [email protected] |

Provincial Headquarters
Royal Canadian Marine Search and Rescue – Chief Executive Officer, Bill Riggs
Cell: 250-888-4484 | [email protected] |