First responders conduct search-and-rescue training

Passing the heaving lineMIAMI – First responders partnered with Coast Guard Station Fort Lauderdale, Florida, conducted maritime search-and-rescue training Thursday and Friday.

Twenty personnel from Fort Lauderdale Fire Rescue and Police departments completed a 5-day boat operator search-and-rescue course established by the National Association of State Boating Law Administrators. The course was taught by Coast Guard instructors at no cost to the city through a partnership between NASBLA and the Coast Guard.

Fort Lauderdale Fire Rescue Division Chief, Stewart Ahearn, worked with the Coast Guard to help arrange the training for the department.

“The boating skills we’ve learned will be invaluable for our fireboat operators,” said Ahearn. “I’m especially pleased that our agencies are building strong relationships with each other prior to a real rescue situation.”

The course gives maritime law enforcement and emergency responders specialized training in boat handling, navigation, search and rescue and vessel towing. All graduates are trained to a national standard recognized by the Coast Guard and FEMA, which enhances coordination during multi-agency emergencies.

“Fort Lauderdale Fire Rescue and Police are true professionals,” said Lt. Mark Ketchum, Coast Guard Station Fort Lauderdale commanding officer. “Our instructors were able to share the Coast Guard’s best practices, but we also learned just as much from our firefighter and police partners as they did from us. Ideally, this will become a regular event.”

The National Association of State Boating Law Administrators is a national nonprofit organization that works to develop public policy for recreational boating safety and standards. NASBLA represents the recreational boating authorities of all 50 states and the U.S. territories.

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