Canadian sailors mentor Caribbean divers

RCN Divers in the Caribbean part of Exercise TradeWinds 2022

Members from the Royal Canadian Navy mentor Caribbean divers in search techniques training during Exercise TradeWinds 22 in the Caribbean Sea.
Corporal Hugo Montpetit, Canadian Forces Combat Camera

Peter Mallett 
Staff Writer

A team of five divers fans out across the Caribbean Sea floor. The divers follow GPS coordinates of possible contraband locations, provided by the United States Coast Guard. With no special equipment on hand, they must rely on their eyes to scan the ocean floor.

Two Clearance Divers of Fleet Diving Unit Pacific (FDU(P)) track the progress overhead on a Mamba inflatable boat.

“Our purpose was to show other nations how we conduct our operations, from initial planning to completing a task at hand,” says Sailor First Class (S1) Brooks Robinson.

S1 Robinson and S1 Michael Raco were part of a 13-member dive team of the Canadian Armed Forces personnel participating in the United-States-led training Exercise TradeWinds 2022 (TW22) in Belize, May 7 to 21. The team also included six clearance divers from Fleet Diving Unit (Atlantic), a port inspection diver, an engineer, a supply technician, a medical technician, and doctor of the Canadian Forces Health Services Group.

The training scenario represents a typical mission of Clearance Divers to recover contraband, explosives, and other debris on the ocean floor, says S1 Raco.

S1 Raco and S1 Robinson trained diving teams from Belize, Jamaica, Trinidad and Tobago, Guyana, St. Kitts and Nevis, and Barbados on the proper procedures of underwater search and recovery techniques. These included line-and-circle searches and developing a mission plan to locate items.

“It’s always wonderful to have the opportunity to increase someone else’s skill by sharing your own knowledge and mentorship. The learning was a two-way street; I found it beneficial,” he says.

The diving training was one component of TW22. The multi-dimensional exercise is led by the U.S. Southern Command, with the goal to build the capacity of partner nations to counter organized crime and conduct humanitarian disaster relief operations.

S1 Brooks Robinson in Exercise TradeWinds 2022

Sailor First Class Brooks Robinson of Fleet Diving Unit (Pacific), prepares for underwater activities during Exercise TradeWinds 22. Master Corporal Matthew Tower

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