Enhanced Naval Boarding Party

="Enhanced, Naval, Bording, Pary"

Members of the first graduating course of Maritime Tactical Operators from CFB Esquimalt, participate in a security exercise on March 26.

After three months of intensive round-the-clock training, students on the first Maritime Tactical Operator Course graduated March 26, and will go on to form Enhanced Naval Boarding Party Team 1.

The 13 graduates underwent extensive training in advanced naval boarding tactics, including hand-to-hand combat, improvised explosive device identification, close quarters battle, tactical shooting, and tactical questioning.

Last Thursday’s graduation marks the delivery of an initial operating capability as directed by the first phase of the Future Naval Boarding Party Capability Development outlined in the Royal Canadian Navy (RCN) Executive Plan.

“In less than 10 months we have successfully selected, trained and graduated our first class,” said LCdr Wilfred Lund, Naval Boarding Party 3.0 Project Officer in Charge. “This team is trained and equipped to provide a highly flexible capability that is a testament to the unpredictable and evolving nature of our missions.”

Although traditional Naval Boarding Parties are able to perform basic obstructed boardings, feedback from recent operational deployments, such as Operation Caribbe and Artemis, has emphasized the need for a Naval Boarding Party that is capable of meeting a new level of threat.

The Enhanced Naval Boarding Party capability will provide the Canadian Armed Forces and the RCN with the agility, flexibility, and tactical expertise to confront and deter a variety of threats in high-risk operational environments.

“In terms of our partner allies, the Enhanced Naval Boarding Party is a unique capability,” said LCdr Lund. “We are building on our decades of operational boarding experience in order to fill the gap between what our special forces can do and what we need to do on our own as a navy.”

The team will be attach posted to HMCS Winnipeg and will participate in Exercise Trident Fury, a biennial joint exercise with the U.S. Navy and U.S. Coast Guard, in May. The exercise includes numerous boarding scenarios and will be a chance to evaluate how the team operates and integrates with the ship’s company.

The lessons learned and concepts developed through the Enhanced Naval Boarding Party training will help to move the program into its second phase, gradually evolving to the Advanced Naval Boarding Party capability over the next several years.

In the final phase, the Advanced Naval Boarding Party team will be at full operational capability and will be able to conduct advanced obstructed boardings independently.

The Esquimalt-based unit will be comprised of 70 to 100 members who will be posted to the unit on a three year assignment to one of four Advanced Naval Boarding Parties.

The unit will also be used in a capacity building role, helping to train partner nations in naval boarding techniques and operations as part of the Government of Canada’s Global Engagement Strategy.

Following the “One Navy” construct, the team is actively recruiting across both Regular and Reserve Forces. The first Enhanced Naval Boarding Party team includes eight Regular Force members and five Naval Reservists – one of which is the leader of the team.

The next Maritime Tactical Operator Course will take place in Halifax in August 2015. Candidates should be mature, physically fit, willing to learn and able to make logical split-second decisions while under high stress. Selected applicants will be put through a rigorous physical and mental five-day selection process at CFB Esquimalt in June 2015 before being invited to challenge the course.

Interested RCN members should apply through their chain of command. Selection application process and forms are available on both the CFB Esquimalt and CFB Halifax BPSO websites.


Katelyn Moores, MARPAC Public Affairs

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  1. Wayne Hamilton says:

    Congratulations to the course members who both accepted and took on the task of preparing for such a demanding role.

    The requirement for boarding parties was re-identified as a modern priority for the RCN and comemenced training as part of the Harbour Defense and Port Security Units exercises and operations. HMC Ships always had the concept, but had had little training for such roles until the Gulf War MIO concept was accepted and implemented on the way over to the operational theatre.

    The first operational trianing doctrine came from the RHIBs Cox’n course which was expanded upon in the operational doctrine established by Cdr. Mike Hodgson after trials with HDU 1.

    So as a retired Commander of HDUs and PSUs, it is gratifying to see the growth and recognition for this valuable operational need.

    So BZ to all the grads. God Speed and safe return!

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