Watching the waves with the Canadian Coast Guard

News Article / January 29, 2018

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By Second Lieutenant Maia Hudak

CH-149 Cormorant helicopter crews from 413 Transport and Rescue Squadron, based at 14 Wing Greenwood, Nova Scotia, made their way to Prince Edward Island on November 20, 2017, to take part in a Maritime Extraction Exercise nicknamed “Boat Camp”. The week of intense training saw rescue teams working with many marine vessels at all hours of the day and night, practising life-saving protocols in a variety of real-world situations. Particular focus was put on the transfer of people and equipment between the helicopters and the vessels, which included Canadian Coast Guard ships, fishing boats, and zodiacs. During this unique exercise, the crews continued to maintain a regular search and rescue (SAR) posture, meaning that they were ready and available to respond to emergencies as tasked at any given time.

Consistency in training is often noted as a key element in developing and honing skills, and the SAR environment is no different. Crews train frequently to maintain a high level of readiness which allows for quick and competent action in life-threatening situations. More than 65 per cent of SAR missions executed in 2017 by 413 Squadron were classified as Maritime emergencies; with a motto of “Ad Vigilamus Undis” (“We watch the waves”), the importance of this kind of training is clearly evident.

Such exercises also provide squadron members with an opportunity to connect with local communities in the training area, fostering an environment of mutual respect, trust and camaraderie. One such highlight was a visit with cadets of Holland College’s Firefighting Program in Summerside, Prince Edward Island. The cadets were treated to a tour of the Cormorant, and spoke with 413 Squadron members about the aircraft, the SAR community, and military life in general.  

Weather conditions, long hours, and multiple taskings resulted in a demanding yet rewarding training experience. The benefits to those who took part are considerable, and 14 Wing’s SAR crews are looking forward to integrating more maritime exercises into their regular training regimen.

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