GEORGIA (WTOC) - The U.S. Coast Guard is preparing for the busy boating season ahead by conducting rescue training this week. They've teamed up with Gray's Reef National Sanctuary because they make regular boating and diving missions.
Officials from Gray's Reef and Skidaway Institute of Oceanography frequently make the 19-mile trek to the national marine sanctuary which is located just off the Georgia coast. Researchers and scientists are tasked with protecting and preserving the rocky reef which lies about 60-70 feet under water, but during every trip, safety is their number one priority.
"If we do have an incident and need to get someone from our vessel to a higher level of care, the U.S. Coast Guard is going to be one of our first methods of doing that very quickly," said Kimberly Roberson, Gray's Reef Research Coordinator.
This week, the U.S. Coast Guard paired up with officials from Grays Reef to conduct live training exercises.
"We're going to do some basket hoisting and we are just going to demonstrate how we would take a survivor from the back of a boat to our helicopter," said Jack Lacey, U.S.C.G. Aviation Survival Technician. "It's practice, practice, practice. The Coast Guard is doing something every day to train for that one moment."
The training is a win-win for both groups.
"It's nice to come out here and learn from them and they learn from us," Lacey said.
"I think it's very important in terms of our comfort level with our response and our confidence in our ability to respond. The U.S. Coast Guard oftentimes responds to people who haven't had this training, so we are kind of one step ahead in our capability to respond," Roberson.said.