Three cheers for the volunteers

During this year’s lighted boat parade, give the volunteers on board the RCM SAR vessel a few extra cheers

As the twinkling lights decked out on boats make their way past appreciative crowds on the piers during Sidney’s annual lighted boat parade, it can be easy to overlook the boat and crew of the local Royal Canadian Marine Search and Rescue units.

Boaters make their way safely through the route — to the oohs and ahhs of folks who love a parade (and get two on the evening of Saturday Nov. 30, including the Sidney Sparkles Santa Parade thanks to the Peninsula Celebrations Society) — and are able to do so confidently, knowing there are dedicated volunteers to lead the way home.

Thanks to the RCM SAR, events such as this go off without a hitch year after year. And it’s only the tip of the iceberg of the service they provide to coastal communities such as those of the Saanich Peninsula.

It takes a dedicated and community-first personality to be a part of any search and rescue organization, whether it is based on the water or on land.

In this province, many of the people who are charged with saving us when circumstances go wrong are volunteers. They form the backbone of this service alongside the search and rescue operators of the Canadian Forces and their contribution is worthy of our respect.

Volunteers put their families on hold and their lives at risk to venture out onto frigid waters or into the dense bush of the Island to rescue people in dire straits.

The work can be stressful and even dangerous, yet the volunteers are still out there.

So it is nice, every once in a while, when they get to participate in events that are more festive in nature.

From yacht club opening days to a celebration of the season under sparkling lights, their presence is seen, noted and appreciated.

During this year’s lighted boat parade, give the volunteers on board the RCM SAR vessel a few extra cheers.

They certainly deserve it.