05/26/2012 07:08 EDT | Updated 07/26/2012 05:12 EDT

B.C. Coast Guard Auxiliary gets new name

Volunteer marine rescuers in B.C. are getting a new name — the Royal Canadian Marine Search and Rescue.

Formerly the Canadian Coast Guard Auxiliary, the 150-year-old organization has stations in 46 communities throughout B.C.

"We work very closely with the Canadian Coast Guard but we are a separate organization," said Royal Canadian Marine Search and Rescue president Randy Strandt.

"Our new name recognizes the distinct identity of our service, and helps emphasize the strong links we have to the communities that depend on us, and on which we depend for fundraising."

The name change affects more than 1,000 members in B.C. Their area of operation covers more than 27,000 square kilometres of B.C. coastline.

"There is a long tradition of marine rescue service here on the West Coast, and our new name reflects a growing sophistication in the training we provide to our crews, the professional skills they bring to the public, and the amazing capability of the modern rescue vessels that they operate," said Strandt.

The royal title was granted by Queen Elizabeth in February 2012 in recognition of the organization's long-standing service, broad geographic coverage, and philanthropic mandate.