News Release HAMILTON, Bermuda Maritime protection teams from six Overseas Territories, including Anguilla, British Virgin Islands, Cayman Islands, Montserrat, and the Turks and Caicos Islands, gathered in Bermuda for a two-week training program focused on search and rescue capabilities.

A spokesperson said, “Maritime protection teams from six Overseas Territories developed training techniques as they focused on search and rescue capabilities during a course in Bermuda.

“Members of the Royal Bermuda Regiment Coast Guard were joined by crews from Anguilla, the British Virgin Islands, the Cayman Islands, Montserrat, and the Turks and Caicos Islands for the two-week programme delivered by HM Coastguard and the RNLI – a UK non-governmental organisation with nearly 200 years of experience in saving lives at sea.

“The course was run recently from the Coast Guard’s base at Scenic House, Sandys, and included tabletop as well as water-based exercises about search and rescue operations.”

Callum Jarvis, a commander with HM Coastguard, explained: “We looked at how the search and rescue system is set up globally; roles within search and rescue; some of the processes and phases we use when coordinating search and rescue; communications; search planning; and plotting for drift of a person or an object in the water.

“We practise other elements such as briefing and tasking search-and-rescue units, and producing May Day relays to get assistance from other vessels.”

He said: “A big part of this has been using the experiences of the guys – they’ve worked within their own organisations and had their own experiences so we’ve been drawing those out of them but also exposing them to things that don’t happen so often, so not your usual type of cases but still a potential threat.

“We’ve looked at the general trend of what happens in Bermuda – lots of small leisure boats, that sort of thing – and we’ve also covered incidents with merchant vessels, for example, which guys here aren’t quite so used to.

“We focused on Bermuda as a location but things can happen anywhere globally and hopefully now if there is something they’re less familiar with, they will be well-prepared for it.”

The spokesperson said, “Train-the-trainer instruction means that those who took part can redistribute the information to others in their teams.

“Scenario-based exercises included what to do in the case of an overdue vessel or the use of radio communications in incidents of distress.”

Dave Whiddon, a senior international programmes manager with the RNLI, said: “The whole idea of our international work is to help organisations build their search and rescue capacity and also to look at how they can do drowning prevention activities.

“We like to be able to share our expertise and knowledge but also it’s a good opportunity for us to learn as well and bring back learning to our own organisations.”

RBR Lance Corporal Quinton Burgess, of Smith’s, said the instructors shared “a wealth of knowledge”.

The 45-year-old added: “They’ve been here training us to be trainers, to take the information and impart it to the rest of our teams.

“We’ve been doing lots of things: search and rescue coordination, search and rescue tasking, man overboard drills, docking drills, coming alongside, anchoring drills and a lot of class work as well.”

LCpl Burgess said: “These are skills that we will use and they’re also things that we will teach new recruits when they come to the Coast Guard.”

Midshipman Ericka Rockett-McBean, of the Cayman Islands Coast Guard, enjoyed the opportunity to learn next to crews from different jurisdictions.

She said: “It’s nice to know and relate to people in other overseas territories.

“There are things I thought I struggled with alone in the Cayman Islands, but people from the British Virgin Islands, Bermuda, Montserrat – we all have the same issues.”

Image courtesy of the Royal Bermuda Regiment