BAMFIELD, BRITISH COLUMBIA--(Marketwire - Oct. 27, 2012) - The Honourable Gail Shea, Acting Minister of Fisheries and Oceans, announced the opening of the Canadian Coast Guard's new $1.25 million National Advanced Boat Operator training facility today. This newly constructed facility along with improvements to existing infrastructure significantly enhance the Rigid Hull Inflatable Operator Training facility which has been operating in Bamfield since 1985.
"I am proud to be a part of a government that is investing where it counts in the Coast Guard. This new national centre for fast rescue craft operator training will enhance the Coast Guard's overall ability to respond to emergency situations," said Minister Shea. "The enhanced training centre provides the right tools to deliver experienced instruction in a real-time, real-world environment."
Training at the state-of-the-art facility focuses on the advanced high-speed nature of marine Search and Rescue services from all three Coast Guard regions across Canada. The facility provides experienced professionals with the opportunity to operate a twin-engine rigid-hull inflatable boat in open and confined waters under adverse conditions.
As well as Canadian Coast Guard crews, the facility will continue to provide training to the Department of National Defence, U.S. Coast Guard, Fisheries and Oceans Canada's Conservation and Protection Branch, Royal Canadian Mounted Police, Parks Canada, Canadian Border Services Agency and members of the Canadian Coast Guard Auxiliary/Royal Canadian Marine Search and Rescue.
To provide increased space and added flexibility, a new facility including a two-story building that features a large open-concept classroom, change rooms, equipment drying rooms and extensive equipment storage has been constructed. In addition, a new floating breakwater and dock will be completed soon and will provide increased space for vessels and on-water operations.
Coast Guard is also pleased to work with Industry Canada and Virtual Marine Technology Ltd. to evaluate and integrate a new state-of-the-art small boat simulator that will allow participants to simulate high-speed operations in dangerous situations such as nighttime, dense fog, heavy traffic and confined space transit. In addition, the simulator's electronic navigation tools such as radar, a Global Positioning System and chart plotter will give the students the opportunity to become familiar with the equipment before getting out on the water. The simulator was funded through Public Works and Government Services Canada's Canadian Innovation Commercialization Program.
The opening of the new National Advanced Boat Operator training facility in Bamfield is another significant milestone marking the Canadian Coast Guard's 50th Anniversary. Starting January 26th, events and activities celebrating Coast Guard's 50 years of service have been held throughout the year in communities across the country.
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The Honourable Gail Shea, Acting Minister of Fisheries and Oceans, announced the opening of the Canadian Coast Guard's new $1.25 million National Advanced Boat Operator facility today. This new facility along with other significant improvements to the existing Bamfield Rigid Hull Inflatable Operator Training facility will enhance search and rescue capabilities in Canada, providing the right tools to deliver experienced instruction and training in a real-time, real-world environment.
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Canadian Coast Guard's National Advanced Boat Operator Training Facility
First opened in 1985, the Canadian Coast Guard's Rigid Hull Inflatable Operator Training facility operates out of Bamfield, British Columbia, on the West Coast of Vancouver Island. The course offered at the school was developed and has been taught by professional operators from the Canadian Coast Guard for the past 27 years.
The Bamfield location on the West Coast of Vancouver Island provides an optimal environment for this type of training. The location provides a wide variety of on-water conditions. With quick access to open waters off Vancouver Island, to protected and confined waters near numerous small islands, the location provides an exceptional training environment for advanced boat operations in all types of weather.
With the recent enhancements and the designation of the school as the new national centre for training, the facility will provide advanced boat operator training in heavy weather for all three Coast Guard regions across Canada. The new facility provides standardized, consistent training, and will be the centre of excellence for Advanced Boat Operator Training. The $1.25 million in enhancements allows for an increase of students and an additional boat for training purposes
Recognized increasingly for excellence in training through the years, the school has attracted interest from a wide variety of professional organizations. Students from the Department of National Defence, U.S. Coast Guard, Fisheries and Oceans Canada's Conservation and Protection Branch, Royal Canadian Mounted Police, Parks Canada, Canadian Border Services Agency and members of the Canadian Coast Guard Auxiliary/Royal Canadian Marine Search and Rescue regularly participate in training at the school.
Operating through late September to early May, when the weather is generally most inclement, the courses run for seven days and provide 80 hours of instruction to each student. Experienced Coast Guard instructors guide course participants through the intricacies of slow-speed operations, confined space maneuvering, pacing boarding, station keeping, rough weather and nighttime operations. In addition, students are taught how to initiate a capsize reversal, and how to perform simple maintenance and emergency repair tasks.
Zodiac Hurricane Technologies 733 and 753 model Rigid Hull Inflatable Boats are primarily used at the facility. The twin outboard engined, seven-metre boats are open, fast rescue craft which are used extensively by Coast Guard crews. The speed, design and shallow draft of the boats allow them it to get into shallow water to effect rescues, survey shorelines, and navigate tight channels where larger Coast Guard ships cannot reach.
The Bamfield facility has been a focal point for the continued development of one of Coast Guard Search and Rescue's most frequently used platforms. Recent improvements to the boats have included shock mitigating seats and improved console configuration, providing better protection for crews in rough weather out on the water.