‘We’re not there looking for fish’: RCMP dive team practice on Vancouver Island

Divers from across B.C. are in the Comox Valley to practise swift water rescue

With a variety of facilities and terrain available, members the “E” Division (B.C.) RCMP Underwater Recovery Team are in the Comox Valley for week-long training and recertification.

Eleven divers and one instructor from across the province are in the area to practise swift water rescue and recovery techniques, explained Sgt. Steve Pebernat.

The divers are staying at HMCS Quadra while they train and he noted diving for the URT differs significantly from recreational diving.

“It’s task-oriented underwater – we’re not there looking for fish. We want them to be comfortable in an underwater environment and then be able to perform the tasks as well.”

Pebernat said in order to join the URT, a member has to be a part of the RCMP for about one year, have an interest in scuba diving and have 25 hours of bottom time (which they can accumulate while practicing).

Last year, the team had 95 calls for service for the entire province.

“We have over 20 active members on the dive team right now and those members can travel throughout the province,” he noted. RCMP members are part-time divers while maintaining full-time jobs such as general duty or traffic section within the RCMP.

When a dive call comes in, a page will be sent out to see who is available, and depending on the location, the organization will try and get divers from the closest geographical area to muster a team. The team consists of three to five divers, depending on the call.

“Most police offers want to serve the community, and divers want to be able to perform tasks to help the community to bring closure to a tragic circumstance. A lot of reasons divers are on the team is to provide that service. Some people coach hockey, some people do Girl Guides, we just chose to be on the dive team to provide that extra service to the community,” Pebernat explained.

Corp. Steve Wells with the National Underwater Recovery Centre in Nanaimo said the Puntledge River is an excellent practice area for swift water training.

“We are quite often called to rivers around the province of B.C. to conduct recovery operations, and to do swift water safety for other members who may be working in and around the water.”

While the opportunity to join the URT is done on a volunteer basis, Wells explained it provides members a good opportunity to challenge themselves and to perform a task and obtain training not many people get to do.

“You get to spend a day our here doing river skills, you get to do dives, open ocean off the police boat and the patrol boat. It’s a nice variety and it gives you a chance to get away from the office and do something different.”



erin.haluschak@comoxvalleyrecord.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

Maple Ridge council proceeds with riverfront subdivision

Third reading for 26 homes, most in Alouette flood plain.

Whitecaps’ Dalrymple part of soccer panel in Ridge

High Performance Pathway and Grassroots information session set

ElderDog looking to start ‘pawd’ in Maple Ridge

Non-profit group provides support for seniors and canine companions

Knights midgets win in another shutout

Bantams lose close game against Chilliwack

VIDEO: ‘Alarm bells’ raised by footage allegedly from B.C. pig farm, SPCA says

PETA released video Wednesday showing dead and injured piglets next to nursing piglets

Female real estate agents warned of suspicious man in Metro Vancouver

The man requests to see homes alone with the female agent, police say

Can you put your phone down for Mother’s Day?

#DiningMode campaign encourages people to leave the phone alone while eating

Horgan heckled as gas prices sit at record high, could go up more

Premier John Horgan blames refiners, not taxes

SPCA investigating after newborn kittens found in Vancouver dumpster

The kittens were found suffering from hypothermia and dehydration

‘B.C. cannot wait for action’: Top doctor urges province to decriminalize illicit drugs

Dr. Bonnie Henry says current approach in ‘war on drugs’ has criminalized and stigmatized drug users

VIDEO: Surrey stabbing leaves man with ‘potentially life altering injuries’

Police believe an altercation between two people led to the incident, in the 13700-block of 97A Ave.

VIDEO: Surrey RCMP investigating after ‘sudden death’ of man found with critical injuries

Police say a man is dead after being found laying on the ground in the 13300-block of 114th Avenue

Many teens don’t know they’re vaping nicotine, Health Canada finds

Canadian Tobacco, Alcohol and Drugs Survey finds youth unaware of nicotine product risk

Most Read