Naval Reservists resume training exercise

Master Sailor Dean Wilson and Sailor First Class Alessandra Leake exit the water on completion of diving operations during a Naval Reserve dive exercise in Comox, on Jan. 28. Photo by Sailor First Class Valerie LeClair Valerie LeClair, MARPAC Imaging Services.

Peter Mallett 
Staff Writer

Port Inspection Divers from 15 naval reserve units across Canada gathered on Vancouver Island from Jan. 21 to 30 for an annual diving exercise.

Forty-eight Naval Reservists travelled to dive sites in Comox, Nanaimo, and Port Hardy, B.C., to take part in Dive 2270.

The annual event was missed last year due to COVID-19; but this year the group came together to perform tasks that help them maintain their dive proficiency, and to meet regenerative training requirements.

They made their way to remote locations off shore via inflatable boats.

Using Compressed Air Breathing Apparatus (CABA) and diving to depths of 30 metres, they performed underwater searches, surveys, and inspections, primarily for the purpose of port security.

Part of this year’s mission was to qualify many of these divers with the new lighter CABA equipment.

It also involved testing out the navy’s new Shark Marine Sonar equipment that enables divers to more easily detect underwater objects.

“Things went very well and there certainly was a degree of satisfaction to me and the other organizers because we were able to mitigate a lot of obstacles to make this exercise a success,” said PO1 Jacek Jaskiewicz, Regional Dive Centre (RDC) West Chief from HMCS Chippewa.

He noted that several days of heavy fog hampered the team’s effectiveness at reaching previously-selected dive sites further offshore. Instead, alternate dive sites closer to shore were used. Poor visibility also led to the cancellation of a helicopter exercise involving a air crew from CFB Comox.

Before the exercise, naval reservists isolated for two days and underwent rapid COVID-19 testing. Rigorous cleaning and sanitizing of equipment was also required to keep participants safe.

“There was a big team effort required to make this 10-day exercise a success,” says PO1 Jaskiewicz. “In the end, we stayed safe and played by the rules and still managed to achieve our objectives.”


Sailor First Class Mathieu Brunet on a diving exercise. Photo by Sailor First Class Valerie LeClair Valerie LeClair, MARPAC Imaging Services.

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