News Release: WARWICK CAMP, Bermuda – UK Coastguard officers have mounted a major training exercise with the Royal Bermuda Regiment Coast Guard and other emergency services.
The exercise was led by Commander Phil Bostock, the HM Coastguard Operational Lead, Overseas Territories Search and Rescue Capability Project.
He said: “Bermuda has a very capable Rescue Coordination Centre and well-established links with the US Coast Guard for joint training and incident response.
“With the creation of the RBR Coast Guard, Bermuda has also established an effective search and rescue response capability onshore and across the territorial waters.”
Cdr Bostock added: “Potential plans for the RBR Coast Guard to acquire an offshore search and rescue response capability would further improve the search and rescue capabilities with an effective offshore response to any person or vessel in distress across 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 the other maritime agencies involved to further enhance the search and rescue capabilities in Bermuda.
“Training like this is vital 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 and training in the coordination and control of multiple vessels involved in the response to a search and rescue incident.
The exercise ended with a practical exercise carried out in the Great Sound, with the attendees in several Coast Guard vessels practising searches across several scenarios coordinated by the Bermuda Maritime Operations Centre.
HM Coastguard, founded in 1822, is responsible for civil air and sea searches across the UK and is involved in more than 30,000 incidents a year.
Warrant Officer Kevin De Melo, the unit Sergeant Major for the island’s waterborne soldiers, said the experience was good for the service, which was launched almost two years ago.
Sgt Maj De Melo added: “It was a really enjoyable course. We learned the UK process from start to finish.”
He added the RBR soldiers were joined by a firefighter, Marine & Ports staff and staff from the Bermuda Maritime Operations Centre for the training, led by Cdr Bostock and UK colleague Sam Sheppard.
Sgt Maj De Melo said: “They have a formula for different types of incidents and we worked through search patterns.
Sgt Maj De Melo added that the lessons learned “definitely comes in handy”.
He said: “We are surrounded by water so there are always situations where we are called out to help people.
“It was more of a refresher for many of us, but it’s always good to cross-train and get new information.
“You can’t be stagnant – you’ve always got to move forward and do new things. I’m glad they came down. I’m all for it.”
An RBR spokesman said the Coast Guard was just one of the exciting and worthwhile career paths offered in the service.
He added the first Recruit Camp of the year was scheduled to run from February 13 to 15.
But the spokesman said – even if people had been unable to apply this time – there would be another Recruit Camp intake in July.
For an application form, visit https://bermudaregiment.bm/join-us.
- Top Feature Photo: RBR Coastguard troops at the controls of a patrol boat – photos supplied