News Release WARWICK CAMP, Bermuda Royal Bermuda Regiment Coast Guard divers last week honed their emergency response skills in training that included search techniques and exercises in evidence recovery. The RBR partnered with island company EcoDive for the seven-day course.

Three instructors and six divers earned certifications with Emergency Response Diving International, a public safety diving agency, in a shift away from the previously-used National Academy of Police Diving structure.”

Captain Jason Harrell, the Coast Guard Second-in-Command, explained, “This is internationally-recognised and will help raise the skills that we already have.

“We’re looking for new ideas and ways to increase our overall skill level as divers, as well as looking at different pieces of kit and equipment that will aid us in doing the job.”

The The Coast Guard provides a 24-hour search-and-rescue capability and enforces maritime law.

Members of the Bermuda Police Service are also among its crews and operations can include body, evidence and vehicle recovery.

Thomas Powell, an instructor who is based in North Carolina and joined the EcoDive training team last week, said the group took part in a “pretty brutal” fitness evaluation that comprised a 500-metre free swim, an 800-metre mask-and-snorkel swim, 15 minutes of treading water, recovery of an item from the seabed and a weighted tread-water period. “They did pretty well,” he added.

CG evidence bag: RBR Private Justus Anderson places a firearm into a sealed evidence bag within a ballistics bag

Dr Powell said ” the training covered operating in reduced visibility and communication between a diver and an on-shore buddy via rope pulls”. He added, “We also do lifting techniques – anything from heavy objects all the way to a body bag that they need to control.”

Lance Corporal JD Symonds was among those who earned ERD Instructor certifications and highlighted how diving capabilities were increasingly required of the unit.

The 27-year-old, of Sandys, said, “Our skills need to be refreshed so that we go out there and do the best that we possibly can, whatever mission or task is at hand.”

CG lift bag: Police Constable Linnell Williams uses a lift bag to control the buoyancy of a dummy victim

Corporal Neville Vanderpool, 34, of Paget, worked for a recreational diving company before he joined the Coast Guard full time. He said, “The training has been a good refresher to get in the water and put into practice – in more structured exercises – some of the skills that we’ve used in the past.”

Sam Bennett, the owner of EcoDive, reflected, “It’s fantastic to have a partnership with the Regiment and to start being able to assist the island in offering a greater variety of diving skill.

“It’s part of why I wanted to start EcoDive, so that we’re not just offering basic recreational courses and training but to advance that into instructor level, technical level and public safety as well.”