VESSEL REVIEW | Ksm Wutsi’in – Canada’s Kitasoo Xai’xais First Nation to operate rescue-capable landing craft

Photo: Canadian Coast Guard

The Kitasoo Xai’xais First Nation of British Columbia recently placed a new search and rescue (SAR) capable landing craft into service in the waters around the Great Bear Rainforest and other remote coastal areas within the western Canadian province.

Ksm Wutsi’in (“Mousewoman”) will be operated by local non-profit Coastal Nations Coast Guard Auxiliary (CN-CGA), Canada’s first all-Indigenous Coast Guard Auxiliary with more than 50 members throughout the country, as part of the Canadian Coast Guard’s Indigenous Community Boat Volunteer Pilot Program. The program provides First Nations coastal communities in BC with funding to purchase boats that are built for their specific needs and marine environments. As the Kitasoo Xai’xais First Nation is a member of the CN-CGA, its members will work and train with the Canadian Coast Guard in using the new boat to provide marine response within their traditional territory.

The landing craft measures 9.1 metres long and can cruise at a speed of 25 knots. As a landing craft, the newbuild can transport SAR personnel and a broad assortment of emergency response payloads such as stretchers and other first aid and rescue gear and small vehicles like quad bikes. The cargo deck can also be used to accommodate rescued accident survivors.

The landing craft’s small size and shallow draught are also key attributes. These allow the vessel to easily reach areas that are inaccessible to the larger and heavier SAR assets operated by the coast guard. As First Nations SAR personnel are often the first to arrive at the scene of an emergency that occurs in territorial waters with which they are already familiar, the use of a high-speed vessel is considered essential. The landing craft’s quick response capability and versatility – courtesy of its ability to operate in areas that are lacking in port infrastructure – compensate for its limited cargo and personnel transport capacity.

The new boat and its associated equipment including a Raymarine radar were purchased with the aid of a CA$252,114 (US$199,200) grant under the Indigenous Community Boat Volunteer Pilot Program.

Click here for more news stories, feature articles, and vessel reviews as part of this month’s focus on emergency services vessels.

Ksm Wutsi’in
Type of vessel:Landing craft
Owner:Kitasoo Xai’xais First Nation, Canada
Operator:Coastal Nations Coast Guard Auxiliary, Canada
Length overall:9.1 metres
Cruising speed:25 knots
Operational area:British Columbia, Canada

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