Fogo, Change Island waters busy with coast guard training

The Canadian Coast Guard held a search and rescue training exercise between Fogo Island and Change Islands.

It took 2 teams some 4 hours to find missing turr hunters in a mock scenario

A debriefing following a Canadian Coast Guard training exercise Thursday in Notre Dame Bay on Newfoundland's northeast coast. Here participants talk about what went right, and what went wrong. (Lindsay Bird/CBC)

The Canadian Coast Guard held a search and rescue training exercise in Notre Dame Bay Thursday between Fogo Island and Change Islands.

The scenario had teams searching for three missing turr hunters.

It took search and rescue training teams about four hours to locate missing turr hunters in the mock scenario Thursday. (Lindsay Bird/CBC)
One search team consisted of coast guard summer students stationed in Notre Dame Bay, while the other group consisted of coast guard auxiliary members on two different fishing vessels.

Neil Peet, a preparedness officer with the coast guard, said they hold similar scenarios in each of the province's five search and rescue areas each year.

"Training, training, training. You've got to prepare for the worst and hope for the best," Peet said.

"You've got to know that all of your assets and team in search and rescue are up for the task and that they have the proper training, the proper equipment, and the knowledge to do their jobs," he said.
The last of the 'lost' turr hunters is found onshore. (Lindsay Bird/CBC)

"The safety of the mariner is first and foremost."

Peet said coast guard auxiliary members in other parts of Canada tend to be pleasure boaters, but that in Newfoundland and Labrador, auxiliary members tend to come from fishing backgrounds.

He said that means they are already highly trained in safety and lifesaving skills.

"The Canadian Coast Guard cannot be everywhere at all times," Peet said.

Thousand volunteers ready to respond

"The Canadian Coast Guard auxiliary are our official partners in search and rescue, and in Newfoundland and Labrador, we have nearly 450 boats and 1,000 volunteers who would drop their livelihoods and leave their families to go out and help a mariner in distress," he said.

"That helps the coast guard do what we do."

It took the training teams four hours to locate the missing turr hunters in Notre Dame Bay.

Peet said the next training exercise is planned for the Bay of Islands area in July