Coast Guard Cutter Ocracoke visits Bahamas

7th Coast Guard District NewsNASSAU, Bahamas – Making the most of their time in Freeport, Grand Bahama Island, the crew of the U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Ocracoke teamed up with the Bahamas Air – Sea Rescue Association (BASRA), the Royal Bahamas Defence Force (RBDF), and the Bahamas Department of Customs on Wednesday and Thursday as part of partnership initiatives coordinated by U.S. Embassy Nassau.

The crew of the cutter Ocracoke, a 110-foot patrol boat homeported in St. Petersburg, Fla., was able to enjoy a few days away from their Florida Straits patrols to enjoy some R & R in Grand Bahama.

Ocracoke’s patrols primarily focus on counter-narcotic, undocumented migrant smuggling operations, and search and rescue in the waters between the U.S. and the Bahamas. With the Coast Guard working closely with the RBDF and Customs Department on a daily basis as they protect and serve the maritime public of both nations, the cutter’s port visit provided an opportunity for officers from all three organizations to exchange maritime law enforcement knowledge.

The Freeport YMCA graciously offered their facility for Coast Guard, RBDF and Customs officers to have a hands-on training site where topics such as defensive tactics, non-compliant suspect escorts, and handcuffing techniques were reviewed.

Additionally, through coordination with BASRA and its safe boating program, Ocracoke hosted tours of the cutter for students of St. Paul’s Methodist College and the Lucayan International School. The students were able to see firsthand the cutter’s armament, smallboat, and bridge navigation area while enjoying the chance to ask Ocracoke’s crewmembers questions about the Coast Guard’s mission in the Bahamas.

“Ocracoke’s crew was excited about visiting Grand Bahama Island, but having the opportunity to train with our Bahamian law enforcement partners and hosting the St. Paul’s Methodist College and Lucayan International School groups aboard the cutter for tours made the crew’s appreciation of the port visit that much more rewarding,” said Ocracoke’s Executive Petty Officer Senior Chief Peter Ruggiero. “We are already calculating how we can get back from the next port visit!”

Following the port call, the Ocracoke crew resumed its maritime patrols in the region.

The Ocracoke and other Island-class patrol boats are being replaced by 58 new Sentinel-class fast response cutters. The FRC will be capable of speeds in excess of 28 knots and operating in seas up to 18 feet. Armed with a 25-mm chain gun and four .50-caliber machine guns, the FRC provides lethal homeland security firepower. The speed, stability, and firepower of the FRC deliver tremendous lifesaving, law enforcement, and homeland security capabilities in the same package. The first FRC, the Coast Guard Cutter Bernard C. Webber, will be commissioned in Miami, April 14.

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