Coast Guard, Honolulu Fire, Ocean Safety conduct joint training on Hawaii’s North Shore

An Ocean Safety and Lifeguard Services rescue craft operator is hoisted into a Coast Guard Air Station Barbers Point MH-65 Dolphin helicopter during joint training on Oahu's North Shore Nov. 7, 2017, ahead of the island's famed annual high surf season. The focus was operating together to rescue a person in trouble in challenging high surf conditions. (U.S. Coast Guard photo by Coast Guard Air Station Barbers Point/Released)

An Ocean Safety and Lifeguard Services rescue craft operator is hoisted into a Coast Guard Air Station Barbers Point MH-65 Dolphin helicopter during joint training on Oahu’s North Shore Nov. 7, 2017, ahead of the island’s famed annual high surf season.  (U.S. Coast Guard photo by Coast Guard Air Station Barbers Point)

HONOLULU — Coast Guard, Honolulu Fire Department and Ocean Safety and Lifeguard Services crews conducted joint training on Oahu’s North Shore Tuesday ahead of the island’s famed annual high surf season.

The three agencies are the primary responders to incidents in the nearly seven mile long surf zone off Oahu’s North Shore which draws surfers from all over the world every winter. The swell can reach heights of more than 30 feet and is very dangerous even for experienced surfers.

Two Coast Guard MH-65 Dolphin helicopters from Coast Guard Air Station Barbers Point, a Honolulu Fire Department helicopter and small boat crews and three Ocean Safety rescue craft operators participated in the event off Haleiwa. The focus was operating together to rescue a person in trouble in challenging high surf conditions. The crews worked to improve communication and practice hoisting techniques in and out of the surf while exposing each organization to the other’s capabilities.

“We were really excited to have an opportunity to train in the surf on the North Shore with our partners at Honolulu Fire Department and Ocean Safety,” said Capt. Carl Riedlin, commanding officer Coast Guard Air Station Barbers Point. “It was a great opportunity to share techniques and camaraderie in an area we are all passionate about and that is rescuing people in the ocean.”

Residents and visitors alike are encouraged to check conditions prior to engaging in ocean activities. You can speak with lifeguards on scene and Ocean Safety maintains a database of current beach surf conditions at www.hawaiibeachsafety.com for all island coastlines including closures and alerts.

All agencies support the current advice: When in doubt, don’t go out. However, if you are going out tell someone where you are going and when you’ll be back. Small emergency beacons have also come down in cost and fit in the pocket of your board shorts. Once activated, they use a satellite signal to alert responders to your location very quickly and are very accurate.

Related Posts

Comments are closed.