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Nakwakto Rapids celebrates new arrival

Boni Sharpe, Les Taylor, Tom Henderson and Chris Sharpe gather for the official delivery of the Nakwakto Rapids Tours boat and Water Taxi from Progressive Diesel to the Gwa’sala-’Nakwaxda’xw First Nations, Sept. 27, near Port Hardy. - Photo submitted
Boni Sharpe, Les Taylor, Tom Henderson and Chris Sharpe gather for the official delivery of the Nakwakto Rapids Tours boat and Water Taxi from Progressive Diesel to the Gwa’sala-’Nakwaxda’xw First Nations, Sept. 27, near Port Hardy.
— image credit: Photo submitted

Riding the wave of a hugely successful first operational season, Gwa’Sala-’Nakwaxda’xw Nations Marine Services and Nakwakto Rapids Tours took delivery last week of a new addition to its fleet.

The state-of-the-art, locally refit boat was delivered Sept. 27 by Boni and Chris Sharpe, owners of Progressive Diesel and Progressive Marine Leasing, respectively, and received by Band Manager Les Taylor and skipper and Guardian Watchman Tom Henderson before being officially unveiled in a short ceremony.

GNN Marine Services and Progressive Diesel entered a co-operative agreement to provide a vessel for the newly implemented Nakwakto Rapids Tours Program. In conjunction with the Rapids Tours initiative, GNN Marine Services has employed a comprehensive training program that exceeds all current industry standards for vessel operation and training, said Conrad Browne, economic development officer for the band.

Carefully selected candidates from the Nations are engaged in a one-on-one skills and knowledge development course that prepares them for marine emergencies and situations on the water.

Additionally, the training course provides the experience needed to support candidates’ future employment in the Nakwakto Rapids Tours, water taxi operations, commercial marine work, and band journeys to the traditional territories.

GNN Marine Services currently supports companies engaged in work in their traditional territories of Smith and Seymour Inlets, and has hosted travel writers and travel professionals from home and abroad on the Nakwakto Rapids Tours.  They have also facilitated an ongoing relationship with the Guardian Watchmen Network for over three years, becoming the southernmost band to participate in this vital coastal awareness program.

Guardian Watchmen are the nation’s eyes and ears in the Gwa’sala-’Nakwaxda’xw Nations traditional territory, observing and protecting marine and land habitat from potential illegal activities and notifying the public about sensitive cultural areas.

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