Inland navy reservists get sea time aboard HMCS Ottawa

HMCS Ottawa

HMCS Ottawa

Lt(N) Curtis Dollis, HMCS Ottawa ~

HMCS Ottawa has just finished Sea Acceptance Trials as part of the continuing effort to bring the ship and crew up to high readiness.

While the crew is ready for some well-earned time ashore during the upcoming work period, several temporary members of the ship’s company are taking their at-sea experience back to their respective reserve unit.

Reservists sailing in the frigate came about during a recent visit to Ottawa for HMCS Carleton’s official manning ceremony. Commander Sylvain Belair, Ottawa’s Commanding Officer, and Lieutenant-Commander Carmen Lapointe, Carleton’s Commanding Officer, agreed to bring members of their teams together for a brief period during trials to continue their professional development and to gain experience sailing in a major warship.

The end of Sea Acceptance Trials was a perfect opportunity as it would expose sailors to a broad variety of operations and training in a short period of time.

Sailors from several Naval Reserve Divisions joined Ottawa in Esquimalt, and Vancouver, as the program continued, with participation from Carleton, Chippawa, Discovery, Tecumseh, and Malahat.

Junior MARS officers, RMS clerks from shore offices, boatswains, and naval combat information operators with no sea experience, all joined and to learn about life at sea in a Halifax-class frigate.

“My four-day sail was a rich and meaningful experience,” said A/SLt Douglas Guerra, a reservist with Carleton. “It was a rare opportunity for me to see what life is like in the Regular Force.

I would highly recommend to any reservist to take full advantage of any opportunity in the future to sail on a Halifax Class frigate.”

Reserve sailors were involved in all aspects of the operations of the ship throughout the trials period.

The members focused on their primary trade-related duties: bridge watchkeeping for the MARS officers, lookout and helmsman for the boatswains, and radar tracking and reporting for the NCIOPs.

Other opportunities included firing the ship’s .50 calibre heavy machine guns, acting as a berthing party for Ottawa’s arrival in port, and even an occasion to sit down with the Captain for a farewell supper prior to the end of the sail.

Overall, all sailors came away enriched and energized from the experience, building positive relationships in support of our “One Navy.”

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