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2013

Search and rescue training on Lake Erie

By Dave Johnson, The Tribune
POCOMAR member Cal Peyton, right, pulls in a Hamilton Beach Rescue Unit life-jacket during a large-scale search and rescue exercise on Lake Erie on Sunday. The life-jacket was left far offshore and represented a person in the water. (DAVE JOHNSON Tribune Staff)

POCOMAR member Cal Peyton, right, pulls in a Hamilton Beach Rescue Unit life-jacket during a large-scale search and rescue exercise on Lake Erie on Sunday. The life-jacket was left far offshore and represented a person in the water. (DAVE JOHNSON Tribune Staff)
A CH146 Griffon helicopter, from Royal Canadian Air Force 424 Squadron of Trenton, lowers a search and rescue technician on to the deck of Canadian Coast Guard search and rescue lifeboat Thunder Cape, out of Port Dover, on Sunday on Lake Erie during a training exercise. (DAVE JOHNSON Tribune Staff) 

PORT COLBORNE – Fresh off a search and rescue training exercise on Lake Erie on Sunday, POCOMAR crews headed out on the water Monday and were to be back at it again Tuesday.

The weekdays mission involves crews installing buoys for Niagara Region’s health department out on Lake Erie.

On Sunday, POCOMAR vessels 1 and 2 took part in search and rescue training with Canadian Coast Guard search and rescue lifeboat Thunder Cape, out of Port Dover, and fellow Canadian Coast Guard auxiliary vessels Sandman and one from Hamilton Beach Rescue Unit.

“The exercise will concentrate on honing the skills required to respond to emergencies at sea and practising hoisting people from marine vessels via helicopter,” a release from the Coast Guard said.

The Coast Guard auxiliary vessels were given tasks by the Thunder Cape to search for ‘boats’ in trouble on the water.

POCOMAR 1 was sent west toward the Wainfleet-Haldimand area to search for a ‘boat’ with four people on board. The crew set out a search pattern with boundaries to the east and west, while moving north and south searching the water.

That task was changed by Thunder Cape and the vessel was tasked to another location where it dropped a man-overboard marker and started another search pattern. This time for a ‘person’ in the water. The ‘person’ was a red Hamilton Beach Rescue Unit life-jacket, which was found.

After that task, POCMAR 1 was directed to another set of co-ordinates and a CC130 Hercules from Royal Canadian Air Force 424 Squadron of Trenton was soon overhead. POCMAR 1, Thunder Cape and Sandman were also in the area. A smoke flare was dropped from the Hercules as were survival kits.

Once the Hercules completed its mission, a CH146 Griffon Helicopter, also from Trenton, came on scene and worked with Thunder Cape.

The helicopter and crew of Thunder Cape co-ordinated a hoisting drill which saw two search and rescue technicians and a rescue basket lowered to the deck of the Coast Guard ship. The two men and basket were then hoisted back up.

Two SAR-Techs also parachuted from the CC130 Hercules and were brought onboard the helicopter by another SAR-Tech who was lowered to them in the water.

A similar exercise was held Saturday on Lake Ontario.

“This past weekend’s participation by all area units shows the dedication and high level of training and expertise of those working and volunteering in the search and rescue system,” said Mark Gagnon, training and exercise co-ordinator for the Coast Guard in Ontario.

“It also highlighted their ability to work together for a common goal when tasked to help on the water.”

Gagnon said in Canada search and rescue operations are an integrated service involving Canadian Forces, the Canadian Coast Guard, Royal Canadian Mounted Police and other federal, provincial, municipal and volunteer organizations, including the Canadian Coast Guard Auxiliary.

dave.johnson@sunmedia.ca
Twitter: @DaveJTheTribune

 

POCOMAR staying shipshape

By Dave Johnson, The Tribune
POCOMAR executive officer Mélanie Gendreau scrapes down the side of the Donald R. Workman, one of the rescue unit's two vessels, on Thursday morning, as unit member Andrew Watts watches.

POCOMAR executive officer Mélanie Gendreau scrapes down the side of the Donald R. Workman, one of the rescue unit’s two vessels, on Thursday morning, as unit member Andrew Watts watches.
POCOMAR operations officer Brian Canter gets into the engine compartment of the Donald R. Workman, one of the rescue unit's two vessels, on Thursday morning. The vessel is undergoing on overhaul throughout the winter.
POCOMAR operations officer Brian Canter gets into the engine compartment of the Donald R. Workman, one of the rescue unit’s two vessels, on Thursday morning. The vessel is undergoing on overhaul throughout the winter

PORT COLBORNE – Working with scrapers and grinders, members of the Port Colborne Marine Auxiliary Rescue (POCOMAR) unit have started the process of stripping down one of its rescue vessels.

It’s part of a maintenance plan to work on the Donald R. Workman, a boat custom-built by Dovercraft Marine in 2000 in Port Dover. The winter project is to get it ready for the 2013 boating season.

An inspection was done on the vessel in the spring by Port Ryerse Marine, said Brian Canter, POCOMAR’s operations officer.

Canter said the inspector told the unit it would be a good idea to strip down the boat and have it repainted, including inside the engine compartment.

“We’ve gutted the cuddy down to the metal, too. We’re going to reconfigure the cuddy and interior,” said Canter.

Once the vessels is stripped down to the metal it will be repainted, and a special anti-fouling paint will be applied to hull. The anti-fouling paint prevents organisms from growing on the hull.

New logos will go on the side of the vessel once the rest of the exterior is painted.

“This is the first major overhaul since the vessel was built,” said Canter.

POCOMAR executive officer Mélanie Gendreau, Canter and members Andrew Watts and Charlie Adams were working on the vessel Thursday inside the former hydro building on Elm St. — the first time Donald R. Workman has been stored indoors for winter.

POCOMAR’s other vessel, Ted Cook, was also kept in the hydro building, instead of both being keep outdoors at Sugarloaf Harbour Marina as had been done in the past.

Canter and Gendreau said Canadian Niagara Power, owner of the hydro building, let the unit use the facility which has a large heated garage.

“It’s a godsend … we really can’t thank Canadian Niagara Power enough,” said Canter.

He said the Donald R. Workman just fit inside the building when brought in by trailer.

More information on POCOMAR can be found at www.ccga-pocomar.ca and www.facebook.com/POCOMAR.

 POCOMAR opportunities

• High school students looking to fulfil their volunteer hours can contact the crew at pocomar@live.ca. In the spring the unit will be recruiting full members

• POCOMAR will be at Seaway Mall’s boat show in March, will be holding a fundraiser golf tournament in June and will celebrating its 25th anniversary in July.

2012 

Crew members honoured for eight-hour long rescue call

Lake Erie Search for Capsized Sail Boat in Wainfleet

Police, POCOMAR and military search Lake Erie

You’ve got to live your life

2011

Pocomar winding down rescue season

Marine rescue abandoned for mayday call

Volunteers to the rescue

Marine rescue unit needs shipmates

2010

Ship shape for safety

2009

Pocomar always ready to aid troubled Lake Erie boaters

Volunteer marine auxiliary ready for boating season