Updated: January 20, 2022 08:35
British Coastguard officers held a training exercise with the Royal Bermuda Regiment Coastguard and other emergency services.
RBR Coastguard soldiers during a training exercise with HM UK Coastguard (photograph provided)
The exercise was led by Commander Phil Bostock, operational manager of the SM Coast Guard, Overseas Territories Search and Rescue Capability Project.
He said: “Bermuda has a very capable Rescue Coordination Center and well-established links with the US Coast Guard for joint training and incident response.
“With the establishment of the RBR Coast Guard, Bermuda has also established an effective search and rescue response capability ashore and in territorial waters.”
Commander Bostock added: “Potential plans for the RBR Coast Guard to acquire an at-sea search and rescue capability would further enhance search and rescue capabilities with an effective at-sea response to any person or vessel in distress in its search and rescue region.”
He said: “It has been a great opportunity to work with the dedicated staff of the RBR Coast Guard and other maritime agencies involved to further improve search and rescue capabilities in Bermuda.
“Training like this is essential to ensure an effective and timely response to a maritime search and rescue incident in Bermuda to give anyone in distress the best chance of survival.”
The week-long course, held last month, focused on maritime search planning and search techniques, as well as training in the coordination and control of multiple vessels involved in the response. in the event of a search and rescue incident.
The exercise concluded with a hands-on exercise conducted in the Great Sound, with participants aboard multiple Coast Guard vessels practicing searches in multiple scenarios coordinated by the Bermuda Maritime Operations Center.
HM Coastguard, founded in 1822, is responsible for civil air and sea searches across the UK and is involved in over 30,000 incidents a year.
Warrant Officer Kevin De Melo, the sergeant major of the island’s airborne unit, said the experience was good for the service, which was launched nearly two years ago.
Sergeant Major De Melo added: “It was a really enjoyable course. We learned the UK process from start to finish.
He added that the RBR soldiers were joined by a firefighter, navy and ports personnel and personnel from the Bermuda Maritime Operations Center for the training, led by Cdr Bostock and his British colleague Sam Sheppard.
Sergeant Major De Melo said: “They have a formula for different types of incidents and we’ve been working on research models.”
He added that the lessons learned “are certainly useful”.
Search and rescue techniques are honed during an RBR Coastguard training exercise led by HM UK Coastguard (photograph provided)
Sergeant Major De Melo said: “We are surrounded by water so there are always situations where we are called upon to help people.
“It was more of a refresher for a lot of us, but it’s always good to practice and get new information.
“You can’t stagnate – you always have to move on and do new things. I’m glad they came down. I completely agree.
An RBR spokesperson said the Coast Guard is just one of the exciting and interesting career paths offered in the service.
Coast Guard RBR boats in a search pattern as part of a major training exercise (photo provided)
He added that the first rookie camp of the year was to take place from February 13-15.
But the spokesman said – even though people were unable to apply this time – there would be another admission to recruit camp in July.
For an application form, visit https://bermudaregiment.bm/join-us
RBR Coast Guard soldiers at the controls of a patrol boat during a search and rescue exercise (photo provided)