A boat captain who last year rescued a father and son from the frigid waters of Dodd Narrows off Vancouver Island has been honoured with a prestigious award.
“I just did the right thing. I was lucky to be at the right spot at the right time and do the right thing.”Rodrigo Menezes
Rodrigo Menezes recently received a Silver Medal for Merit from The Lifesaving Society, a charity that works to prevent drownings and water-related injuries.
“I was super excited about it. It’s an honour to be recognized for something like that, and it was also a huge surprise for me,” he told Nanaimo News Now, which reported on the rescue last year.
Menezes is the marine operations manager of Vancouver Island Whale Watch. He was among 17 local heroes to receive recognition at the Society’s annual awards ceremony, which was held in Burnaby.
“I just did the right thing. I was lucky to be at the right spot at the right time and do the right thing. It’s something I don’t want, this kind of situation, for sure, but if I had to, I’d do the same thing again,” he told CHEK News, saying that work commitments prevented him from attending the awards ceremony in person.
“Rodrigo didn’t hesitate in his actions. He saw what was happening, and he knew he could help them.”Leana Grace, executive director, The Lifesaving Society
The rescue took place in April 2022 as Menezes was captaining a 30-foot whale-watching vessel. When he arrived at Dodd Narrows, between Mudge Island and Vancouver Island, he saw two men in a canoe trying to navigate the choppy waters.
Then the canoe flipped. An initial rescue attempt wasn’t successful. Menezes waited for the current to carry the father and son, who were wearing life jackets, to a safer part of the narrows. At that point, “he was able to shut down the engines, get closer to the canoe, and throw out a life ring,” as Nanaimo News Now reported at the time.
The Lifesaving Society’s executive director, Leana Grace, praised Menezes’ decisive reaction. “Rodrigo didn’t hesitate in his actions. He saw what was happening, and he knew he could help them.”