For On-Water Emergency:

  • Channel 16 - VHF Radio
  • Dial *16 - Cell Phone
  • 1-800-267-7270 - JRCC
  • Dial 911 - Local EMS


Connect with us:

Visit POCOMAR on Facebook

 



Remembering a crew member

December 19th, 2017
Roger Graveline

Roger Graveline

 

Roger Graveline is being remembered a good-natured man with a calm demeanour, pleasant to be around, and a true professional with great stories, by those who served with him on Port Colborne Marine Auxiliary Rescue unit.

Mr. Graveline, a member of POCOMAR for three years, passed away peacefully at home after a lengthy illness on Sunday, December 17, at the age of 60. Mr. Graveline worked for more 30 years in the Emergency Medical Services, primarily with the air ambulance.

“Roger was one of the most interesting people I have ever met. Every time I saw him he would share stories about the adventures he had throughout his life.  From land ambulances to air ambulances, Coast Guard and accidents … there was always an interesting tale,” said unit commander Norm Dashwood.

Dashwood said when Mr. Graveline joined his crew two summers ago, he was unsure of what to expect, as he had never worked with him before.

“He quickly became a part of the team and was well liked by everyone. He was very competent on our vessels and extremely dedicated to POCOMAR. He was keen on safety.  I will never forget him showing up for training each week in a bright yellow live vest and a reflective helmet. At first I found it a bit quirky, but his mannerisms quickly grew on me.  I have considered Roger a dear friend almost from the beginning and will miss him,” said Dashwood.

He said last year, Mr. Graveline received a medal for heroism from the Canadian Coast Guard Auxilliary.

“It was an honor to present this award to him. In the midst of his medical battles, it gave him a little reason to smile.  Although, he always found a reason to smile. Even in the thick of it he would tell me things weren’t that bad.”

Dashwood said Mr. Graveline was always in such great spirits.

“I looked at Roger as a true professional who brought a great deal of experience and knowledge to the Wednesday crew. In his past working life he had faced many situations as an EMS personnel that would probably unnerve even the toughest person. I think it was as a result of that past experience that he always seemed to have a calmness while out on the water,” said member Tim Welychka.

Welychka said he enjoyed listening to Mr. Graveline’s stories of his EMS days when he told them or his thoughts on life in general.

“He had a great deal to offer POCOMAR and he will certainly be missed.”

Amber Dashwood, POCOMAR’s training officer, said Roger will certainly be missed by the Wednesday crew.

“He was humble, yet very competent and extremely dedicated to the unit and our mandate. He exemplified what a POCOMAR crew member should be.  He was always quick to smile and share a joke (usually when we were downwind of the cormorants). There was never a time he wasn’t a pleasure to be around.”

She said her most memorable moment with Mr. Graveline was on a call in 2016, for which he was awarded a medal of heroism.

“In all the chaos of a very urgent and dangerous situation as we were securing the distress vessel to pull it from immediate danger, it was Roger who kept his head and obtained information we needed to perform the call,” she said.

Marty Courage said Mr. Graveline was very dedicated at POCOMAR and the Canadian Coast Guard Auxilliary.

“He loved the training and participating with crew members, and he was eager to get right into it. He had great life stories, surviving falling out of a helicopter, involvement in a motorcycle collision and other near death experiences.”

Courage said Mr. Graveline was a qualified pilot and his dream was to be a full time member of the Canadian Coast Guard, which he finally achieved but was forced to put on hold after notification of his cancer.

“He was a good friend and will be missed by everyone.”

Sheila Lindsey said Mr. Graveline was on her crew the first year he was with the unit and she had the privilege of being his coxswain.

“He had an amazing wealth of knowledge and experience. He was so good natured. He definitely endeared himself. I’ll miss his joyful spirit and his servant’s heart,” Lindsey said.

Ian MacGregor said Mr. Graveline was a great guy.

“He was always cheerful and helpful. He was very competent. Not a bad word to say about anyone or anything. Very pleasant to be around. It is cruel that he was taken so soon,” he said.

Scott Wolfe, the unit’s operations officer, said Mr. Graveline went out of his way constantly behind the scenes to help him with maintenance when he was healthy.

“He was incredibly helpful and never self-serving and never stopped asking how he could help. He was incredibly professional and safety orientated. When I visited him in the hospital, he fought cancer with more poise and patience than I could possibly imagine. Not a nasty bone in his body,” Wolfe said,

He said Mr. Graveline took POCOMAR very seriously and never stopped talking about the unit.

“I already miss his calm and polite way of addressing any issue that arose. I was so lucky to have him as a friend. His memory lives on in our dedication and service,” Wolfe said.

His obituary said he was predeceased by his father Raymond, cherished father of Justin and dear son of Laura.

“He leaves behind his much loved brothers Denis (Laura), Darnell (Pam), Elvin (Chris) and Ron. He will be forever missed by Joanne, loving friend Ludi and his many nieces, nephews, cousins, co-workers and friends.  He enjoyed the outdoors, especially fishing and spending time with Justin at the hunting camp in Pembroke,” the obituary reads.

His family will receive friends at the Armstrong Funeral Home and Chapel, 179 Clarence Street, Port Colborne on Wednesday, December 20 from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. and 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Vigil Prayers will be held at the funeral home on Wednesday at 2 p.m. The Funeral Mass will be celebrated at 10:30 a.m. on Thursday, December 21, at St. Therese of Lisieux Roman Catholic Church, 379 Fares Street, Port Colborne, with Father Michael Andrysiak as celebrant.

Rite of Committal will follow at Mount St. Joseph Cemetery, Port Colborne.

If so desired, memorial donations may be made to the Walker Family Cancer Centre. Online condolences available at www.armstrongfuneralhome.ca.

DCIM104GOPROG0436951.

Roger Graveline on P1

Life raft testing

December 19th, 2017
Port Colborne Marine Auxiliary Rescue unit members, from left, Daniel Wultchyn, incoming executive officer Jamie Fraser, and operations officer Scott Wolfe, look at a liferaft in the pool at the Vale Health and Wellness Centre Sunday, November 26, 2017 in Port Colborne

Port Colborne Marine Auxiliary Rescue unit members, from left, Daniel Wultchyn, incoming executive officer Jamie Fraser, and operations officer Scott Wolfe, look at a liferaft in the pool at the Vale Health and Wellness Centre Sunday, November 26, 2017 in Port Colborne

 

With a pop and a loud hiss, a six-man life rafts popped out of its casing and quickly inflated inside the pool at Port Colborne’s Vale Health and Wellness Centre.

Once full of air and floating upright, outgoing Port Colborne Marine Auxiliary Rescue unit executive officer Zach Walters practiced righting the life raft before pulling himself on board.

Soon after, he was pulling other members of the rescue unit out of the water and helping them get inside.

“Every two years, POCOMAR has to recertify the life rafts on the boats to make sure they are in good working order,” said commander Norm Dashwood.

He said the life rafts – the unit has one each on its two rescue vessels – go to a marine supply company. The company unpacks, tests and repacks the life rafts and recertifies them, making them ready for the next boating season.

“This year we decided we’d do something different. A lot of our members have never seen one of the life rafts deployed. So we thought, why don’t we put them in the pool and see what happens,” said Dashwood.

The unit, which had nine members out for the pool session, also tested floater suits, lifejackets, and other safety equipment while in the pool.

During the hour-long session, members practiced not only getting in and out of both life rafts but also in and out of the floater suits while in the water. 

“Really things we don’t get an opportunity to do throughout the season. We can’t just test life rafts any time because they are always on standby.”

Dashwood said it was a very good exercise for the rescue unit’s members.

He said the life rafts were packed up at the end of the exercise and taken to the marine supply company to be checked and made ready for next spring when the unit is back on the water.

Click the link below for a video

https://bcove.video/2BM49lW

2017 Elimination Draw

June 5th, 2017

Final Poster 2017 Elimination Draw

Join us Saturday, October 7 at Croatian National Home, 6 Broadway Avenue, Welland, for our Elimination Draw.

There’s $8,500 in prizes to be won. The top prize is $2,000, with second $1,000, and third, $500. Only 300 tickets will be sold.
All proceeds are put back into the unit.

The event gets underway at 6 p.m., with dinner at 7 p.m. Tickets are $100 each, with a $35 charitable donation receipt.

For tickets, contact pr@pocomar.org

SAREX 2017

May 28th, 2017
A Royal Canadian Air Force Search and Rescue Technician is lowered from a CH-146 Griffon helicopter, from 424 Transport and Rescue Squadron at 8 Wing/CFB in Trenton, to the stern of Port Colborne Marine Auxiliary Rescue unit's P1. Multiple agencies took part in an annual search and rescue exercise on Lake Erie Saturday between Point Abino and Mohawk Point. Rob Scotland Photo

A Royal Canadian Air Force Search and Rescue Technician is lowered from a CH-146 Griffon helicopter, from 424 Transport and Rescue Squadron at 8 Wing/CFB in Trenton, to the stern of Port Colborne Marine Auxiliary Rescue unit’s P1. Multiple agencies took part in an annual search and rescue exercise on Lake Erie Saturday between Point Abino and Mohawk Point.
Rob Scotland Photo

Intense.

That’s how Norm Dashwood, commander of Port Colborne Marine Auxiliary Rescue (POCOMAR) unit, described it as a Royal Canadian Air Force CH-146 Griffon hovered within 10 metres or less of the unit’s main vessel, P1, Saturday afternoon on Lake Erie.

The helicopter, from 424 Transport and Rescue Squadron at 8 Wing/CFB Trenton, had lowered two search and rescue technicians (SAR-Tech), and a rescue basket, to the stern of the P1 as crew members huddled inside the rescue vessel.

The SAR-Techs then transferred a person, in the form of a rescue mannequin, who had been in the chilly waters of Lake Erie in the area of Mohawk Point in Haldimand County, from the rescue vessel up to the helicopter.

Watching the transfer as it unfolded were a host of other vessels, including POCOMAR’s second rescue vessel, P2; the Canadian Coast Guard ship Cape Lambton out of Port Dover; a Canadian Coast guard rigid-inflatable boat (RIB); Hamilton Beach Rescue Unit, a Canadian Coast Guard Auxiliary rescue unit from Hamilton; and a RIB from Fort Erie Fire Department.

Those units, along with Dirt Water Kit, a private Canadian Coast Guard Auxiliary rescue unit, CARES (Civil Air Rescue Emergency Service) Niagara, and an airforce CC130 Hercules plane, were all part of an annual search and rescue exercise (SAREX) on Lake Erie.

“It was intense when the SAR-Techs were coming down. There was a lot of wind and water being thrown around by the helicopter. I think that we were all just hoping that everything went safely and smoothly – and it did,” said Dashwood.

He said the annual exercise is an opportunity for the various agencies involved in search and rescue to come together and practice in coordinated search and rescue simulations.

“For POCOMAR, this was not only a chance to practice multi-agency activities, but also a chance to showcase what our all-volunteer unit is capable of,” said Dashwood, who was onboard P1 during the day-long exercise.

Things went very well for crews on both of the unit’s vessels, he said.

“The crews worked very hard to complete our objectives and were successful in retrieving a simulated person-in-the-water and airlifting them to safety.”

Training with the various agencies gave rescue crews necessary experience needed in order to work at maximum efficiency in a real SAR scenario, said Dashwood.

“It helps eliminates the unknowns and aids in understanding what to anticipate.”

Asked how important it was to train with the military helicopter, Dashwood said, very, because it’s a dangerous activity.

“A lot of things can go wrong and it’s important that we are fully-prepared and don’t interfere with the helicopter operations. That practice means that when we have to do it during an emergency, we will be less likely to make a mistake.”

He said POCOMAR crews always learn from the engagements during SAREX.

“For example, a lot of the newer crew members learned about how to prep our boat for a SAR-Tech to be lowered from a helicopter and how best to assist that tech once secured. We also learned techniques for multi-unit shoreline searches.”

POCOMAR’s P1 worked alongside Fort Erie’s fireboat during a shoreline search in the Mohawk Point area of the Lake Erie.

Dashwood said POCOMAR’s crews are always training, ready to respond to calls on Lake Erie.

“We have four rescue crews that each train one night per week, and we sometimes do extra training on weekends.”

To date, the unit has had two calls on the lake, Dashwood said.

“Our primary vessel was out of service for two weeks due to a catastrophic engine failure. We are fully back in service now and look forward to a busy season. POCOMAR is a very big part of the boating community on eastern Lake Erie. I’m proud of our nearly 50 volunteers and the contributions from the community that keep our unit in service.”

A Royal Canadian Air Force Search and Rescue Technician works on the stern of Port Colborne Marine Auxiliary Rescue unit's P1, as a CH-146 Griffon helicopter, from 424 Transport and Rescue Squadron at 8 Wing/CFB in Trenton, hovers above. Multiple agencies took part in an annual search and rescue exercise on Lake Erie Saturday between Point Abino and Mohawk Point. Rob Scotland Photo

A Royal Canadian Air Force Search and Rescue Technician works on the stern of Port Colborne Marine Auxiliary Rescue unit’s P1, as a CH-146 Griffon helicopter, from 424 Transport and Rescue Squadron at 8 Wing/CFB in Trenton, hovers above. Multiple agencies took part in an annual search and rescue exercise on Lake Erie Saturday between Point Abino and Mohawk Point.
Rob Scotland Photo

POCOMAR 2017 executive

January 3rd, 2017

Here are our executive officers for 2017

Commander: Norm Dashwood

Executive Officer: Zach Walters

Treasurer: David Thorpe

Public Relations: Sheila Lindsey

Secretary: Amber Dashwood

Training: Andrew Watts

Operations: Scott Wolfe

EXECUTIVE BOARD

November 22nd, 2015

We would like to take this time to congratulate the new Executive Board members:

Commander Norm Dashwood

Executive Officer Jeff MacDonald

Training Officer Andrew Watts

Operations Officer Scott Wolfe

Secretary Sheila Lindsay

Treasurer Kathleen Goodman

Public Relations Sandy Leslie

2015 Comes to a Close

November 10th, 2015

Well, another season is coming to an end.  POCOMAR 2 is out of the water awaiting some much needed repairs.  POCOMAR 1 will be out of the water this week.  We have a lot of work to do over the winter to prepare these vessels for another season of Search and Rescue.

As always, we are looking for more volunteers who can help save lives on the water.  All you need is a Pleasure Craft Operators Card (PCOC).  Everything else you will get after joining.  Send us an email if you are interested in signing on!

To accomplish our goals, we rely on community donations from people just like you!  You can now donate easily by using the donate button on the left side of the site!

I wish to send a special thank you to PC Works.  Their generous donation to POCOMAR helped us out tremendously with our mechanical repairs this season.  You can check them out at http://pcworksemployment.ca/ PC-Works-Web

Motor Stolen from POCOMAR!

December 8th, 2014

One of our motors has been stolen and we are asking for your help to purchase a new one! You can read about it here:

http://www.wellandtribune.ca/2014/12/08/pocomar-victim-of-motor-theft

http://eriemedia.ca/motor-stolen-from-marine-rescue-unit/

http://newsinportcolborne.com/2014/12/pocommar-suffers-theft-equipment-lead-loss-life-rescue-operations/

 

25th Anniversary Awards

July 24th, 2013

Thanks to everyone who came out to the 25th Anniversary event on Sunday (and everyone who helped make it happen)!  The pig roast was fantastic and the band, True Story, far exceeded expectations!

POCOMAR received a number of awards and certificates of achievement during the event.  You can check them out below…

July 2013 Update #2

July 22nd, 2013

Everyone had a great day at the POCOMAR 25th Anniversary celebration.  Thank you to everyone who helped make it a success and thank you to everyone who came out with friends and family to enjoy the festivities.

We heard many comments about the dedication of the POCOMAR volunteers after pagers began sounding in the middle of the ceremony.  Several volunteers rushed down to the boat and their enthusiasm and dedication didn’t go unnoticed.

Stay tuned for some great pictures and more details from the event!