Last week (Tuesday, 26 March 2013) Bristow Helicopters’ Search and Rescue (SAR) crews began six weeks of special maritime training on the Inverness Firth. The exercises are part of three months of training being undertaken by Bristow’s SAR teams in preparation for the start of the UK Gap SAR contract for Northern Scotland this summer (2013).
Over the next five weeks the maritime training, which is being supported by Inverness Port Authority, will focus on carrying out rescues from the sea and from moving vessels. The crews will be conducting operations for approximately one hour, six days a week.
Chief Pilot in Bristow Helicopters’ Gap SAR team, Ben Clarke, said: “This maritime training is an essential part of our preparation for assuming operation of the Gap Search and Rescue service in Northern Scotland this summer. From our bases in Stornoway and Sumburgh we will be covering a great deal of open water and coastline and we are committed to ensuring our crews are prepared for all eventualities. We also extend our thanks to Inverness Port Authority for their support in these training operations.”
Sinclair Browne, Chief Executive of the Inverness Port Authority, which is providing pilot vessels and crews for the training operations, added: “We are delighted to be able to support Bristow Helicopters in their training operations for this vital search and rescue service which plays such an important role in keeping our seas safe.”
Bristow will assume Search and Rescue operations, on behalf of the Maritime and Coastguard Agency, from Sumburgh on 1 June 2013, and from Stornoway on 1 July 2013.