My sincere thanks to the folks at the Canadian Coast Guard Base - Kitsilano. I had the chance to visit and talk about what they do on the inlet and how they keep us safe. The crew down there work and train tirelessly on our behalf. They have two primary functions:
For search and rescue the Coast Guard respond to any emergency on the water as we discuss in the interview. The variety of calls they may get means they must have a diverse array of skills, training, and equipment.
In terms of environmental response, you may remember the "small oil spill" in the spring of 2015. At the time of the spill, the Kitsilano base was actually closed but they would have dramatically improved the confusion and cost of the clean up as they could have been on site within about 5 minutes with dedicated environmental response equipment. Also, they are responsible for smaller spills from recreational users and land based spills that spread to the ocean.
Overall, these folks do a great job of keeping us safe out there. See the full interview here.