Coast Guard, Virgina Port Authority host 5th annual search and rescue forum

Coast Guard Sector Hampton Roads LogoHAMPTON, Va. – The Coast Guard, Virginia Port Authority, Coast Guard Auxiliary, state and local law enforcement agencies and first responders are scheduled to participate in a five-day-long forum that includes, marine search and rescue training, exercises and classroom discussion at the Crowne Plaza Marina in Hampton.

“The purpose of this forum is to improve interagency cooperation, increase search effectiveness, enhance crew safety and coordination and foster a better understanding among marine first responders,” said Lt. Jack Smith of the Coast Guard Sector Hampton Roads Incident Management Division.

Some highlights from the week include, small boat handling, side-scan sonar operations, towing safety, marine firefighting training and nighttime search and rescue training.

There will be several exercises throughout the week, including a nighttime navigation drill Thursday evening and a simulated search and rescue case on Friday morning. All exercises will take place between the Monitor-Merrimac Memorial Bridge-Tunnel and the Hampton Roads Bridge-Tunnel.

Agencies and organizations attending the forum include: Coast Guard Sector Hampton Roads, Coast Guard Station Little Creek, Coast Guard Station Portsmouth, Coast Guard Station Milford Haven, Coast Guard Air Station Elizabeth City, Coast Guard Auxilary, Virginia Port Authority, and Virginia Game and Inland Fisheries. Fire and police agencies from throughout Virginia and Maryland are also attending.

“Rapid response and interagency coordination are keys to success while conducting search and rescue missions. This week’s forum is a significant step in our continued and shared responsibility to protect the public,” said Smith.

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