The community of Delta and the Canadian Lifeboat Institution (CLI) came together on August 19, 2017 to dedicate the Delta Lifeboat and welcome the vessel to its new home base in Ladner. With many marine industry representatives, all levels of government and the executive of the CLI as well as many well-wishers in attendance, the event was held on the Government Wharves in Ladner under clear blue skies.
Master of Ceremonies Cam Cathcart introduced Mayor Lois Jackson and Chief Administrative Officer George Harris who both spoke about the importance of the work the CLI undertakes as well as the benefits to Delta for having the lifeboat stationed close by. Additional speakers included Captain Jason Boyd, Royal Canadian Navy, Natham Webb, Canadian Coast Guard and Reverand Peter Smyth, Senior Port Chaplin, Mission to Seafarers, who gave a blessing for the vessle and all who sail on her. Mayor Jackson presented CLI President Bob McIlwaine with a Delta Corporation flag and McIlwaine presented the Mayor with a plaque recognizing their partnership. McIlwaine in turn gave the flag to John Horton who hoisted it on the lifeboat, officially signifying the relocation of the vessel.
The ceremony ended with the national anthem sang by the greatly talented Natasha Belonio and followed by three cheers from the Fraser Lifeboat crew.
The Delta Lifeboat -- formerly known as the Steveston Lifeboat -- has a long history of service in the maritime community. Designed by teh US Navy as an Admiral's Barge, she was built in Pearl Harbour in 1944. Following naval service, she passed into private hands and was modified for use as a recreational vessel. Her life-saving career began in 1988, when a new owner updated her or a role in Maritime Search and Rescue. For many years, she operated out of Steveston Harbour, working in support of the fishing industry in the Fraser Estuary and the Gulf of Georgia.
While still registered as Steveston Lifeboat, major repair and refit activities were completed in 2017. These included an update of navigation and communications suites, a complete overhaul of the engine and related equipment, and minor structural changes to provide additional working space on the bridge.
Today, operating under a charter agreement with the CLI, and based in Ladner Harbour, she serves under the flags of the CLI and the Corportation of Delta. Manned by a volunteer crew, she is often seen on patrol, ready to provide assistance to fishing, commercial and recreational vessels experiencing difficulties.
Training for volunteer crew members is provided by the CLI and includes seamanship, communication, navigation and first-aid topics in practical and classroom contexts.