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GAMRU seeks dedicated volunteers

The Grimsby Auxiliary Marine Rescue Unit (GAMRU) is looking for volunteers who enjoy being out on the water and helping people.

GAMRU was formed in 1988 and is best known for its dedication to on-the-lake rescue service for the protection of people bordering and using Southwestern Lake Ontario. Members are volunteers that make up a unit within the Canadian Coast Guard Auxiliary.

The unit provides 24-hour on call rescue service throughout the boating season (April to October).

GAMRU is based out of Forans Marina in Grimsby. Their dedicated area is from Fifty Point Marina in Stoney Creek to Port Dalhousie, but they can be sent anywhere in Lake Ontario if the need arises.

In the last five years, GAMRU has responded to over 100 search incidents.

They have two vessels: A rigid hulled inflatable Mark 5 with twin Yamaha 90 horsepower outboard engines, and a 34-foot steel hulled cutter powered by twin 317 horsepower diesel engines.

Sean Coffey joined GAMRU in 2008.

“I spent most of my life around boats and love being on the water. GAMRU was an opportunity to do something I enjoy,” he explained.

“I was also interested in getting involved in something like this. I had thought about other services, but the Coast Guard Auxiliary seemed like the best fit for me.”

Coffey described what it’s like to respond to a call.

“It’s exciting. We can be called on to respond to any emergency that happens on the lake. It could be towing a disabled vessel back to port. It could be to rescue a vessel that has run aground, or it could be to search for missing or overdue boaters. And we respond no matter what the weather conditions are on the lake,” he explained.

GAMRU is always looking for new crew members. Currently they have 12 vacant spots to be filled. Coffey said it’s a big commitment. Members must participate in weekly training (two hours every Wednesday night) from January to late October, and be available for calls at least one week a month from the end of April to October. The week you’re on call includes weekend training on the water. Weekend training can be anywhere from four to eight hours or more depending on the time of year and could also include participating in special events.

GAMRU is a not-for-profit organization. They don’t receive funding from anyone. They rely on fundraising and donations to continue to operate. They pay for the maintenance, fuel and insurance on their vessels. In addition to the training commitment, members are also required to help with fundraising.

Members also need to be within a 15-minute drive to Foran’s Marina in Grimsby.

Visit http://www.gamru.com for more information, email general@gamru.com or stop by Foran’s Marina on a Wednesday evening. Training starts at 7 p.m. The docks are located on the east side of the marina.

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