Naval Reservists Resume Training Exercise – Pacific Navy News : Pacific Navy News

Master Seaman Dean Wilson and Seaman 1st Class Alessandra Leake exit the water at the end of diving operations during a Naval Reserve diving exercise in Comox, Jan. 28. Photo by Seaman First Class Valerie LeClair Valerie LeClair, MARPAC Imagery Services.

Pierre Mallet
Personal editor

PoInspection divers from 15 Naval Reserve units from across Canada gathered on Vancouver Island Jan. 21-30 for an annual diving exercise.

Forty-eight Navy Reservists traveled to dive sites in Comox, Nanaimo and Port Hardy, British Columbia, to participate in Dive 2270.

The annual event was missed last year due to COVID-19; but this year the group came together to perform tasks that help them maintain their diving skills and meet regenerative training requirements.

They traveled to remote offshore locations via inflatable boats.

Using compressed air breathing apparatus (CABA) and diving to depths of 30 meters, they carried out underwater research, surveys and inspections, primarily for port security purposes.

Part of this year’s mission was to qualify many of these divers with the new, lighter CABA equipment.

It also involved testing the Navy’s new Shark Marine Sonar equipment which allows divers to more easily detect underwater objects.

“Things went very well and there was definitely some satisfaction for me and the other organizers as we were able to ease a lot of the hurdles to make this exercise a success,” said PO1 Jacek Jaskiewicz, Chief of Regional Diving Center (DRC) West. from HMCS Chippewa.

He noted that several days of heavy fog hampered the team’s effectiveness in reaching previously selected dive sites further offshore. Instead, alternative dive sites closer to shore were used. Poor visibility also led to the cancellation of a helicopter exercise involving a crew from CFB Comox.

Prior to the exercise, Navy reservists self-isolated for two days and underwent rapid COVID-19 tests. Rigorous cleaning and disinfection of equipment was also necessary to ensure the safety of participants.

“It took a huge team effort to make this 10-day exercise a success,” says PO1 Jaskiewicz. “At the end of the day, we stayed safe and played by the rules and still managed to achieve our goals.”

Leading Seaman Mathieu Brunet during a diving exercise. Photo by Sailor First Class Valérie LeClair Valérie LeClair, MARPAC Imaging Services.

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Richard V. Johnson