Wednesday, July 24, 2024

‘Always there if needed’: Lansdowne man forms volunteer water rescue group

​​Lansdowne resident Chris Tedford has formed a grassroots search and rescue group to complement local emergency services. – Chris Telford photo

​​Lansdowne resident Chris Tedford is using his knowledge of the St. Lawrence River and surrounding lakes to help out potential boaters in crisis.

Tedford has spent over 20 years on a boat, constantly perusing the river and regional lakes while fishing and hunting. Since sharing his desire on Facebook to help those in trouble on the waterways, Chris has had over 20 people come forward to join him in the effort.

Brockvilleist spoke with Tedford about his initiative.

“What inspired me to offer my services was the loss of a local hunter,” he said. “Although it wasn’t a hunting or boating accident, it was still very sad for us all. I didn’t even know him, but it really hit me.”

Tedford explained that it is alleged among some local community members that the responding teams had taken over three hours to attend this incident due to issues launching their vessel. 

Although the length of that rescue effort cannot be confirmed at this time, the potential for more people to find themselves in a desperate situation on the water lit a fire within Tedford. He realized he could put his skills and expertise to good use by offering another layer of assistance.

“My hopes are that concerned folks will call or text me after they call 911 for help.” 

​​Lansdowne resident Chris Tedford has formed a grassroots search and rescue group to complement local emergency services. – Chris Telford photo

Although he has never been in a serious boating accident himself, Tedford and his friends are aware of the numerous risks and unforeseen dangers that can happen on the water. When speaking about his fellow hunters, he noted that “their motor might act up or heaven forbid, they have an accident. But they’re aware of the risks and can handle 99 per cent of them.

“Myself and the other volunteers are here to reassure other people that a tow back to town is always there if needed right down to assisting trained professionals if I have my boat in before them.” 

Tedford’s group of volunteers is called the “Duck Hunter Search and Rescue,” but their aid is not limited to hunters.

“We are all confident that we add great value to a search. Not to mention most of us have a duck boat ready to go at all times. We can be in the water fast,” he relayed, adding “having my commercial vessel allows me to access big water when the smaller boats can’t venture out.“

Tedford has always loved being involved in his community, sharing “I’ve taken part in family fun day fishing derbies and supplied free bait to the kids back when I ran a commercial bait license. I sincerely enjoy just helping in general.”

All of these services will be completely free and voluntary. 

If you are in need of a tow back to land or find yourself lost or injured on the water, Chris Tedford could be your guy. His cellphone number is 613-483-8950. Additionally, Tedford has created a group online called Duck Hunter Search and Rescue.

“I encourage anyone that hunts , fishes or uses the waterways during late season, or if you know someone that does, to join our Facebook group,” Tedford says.

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