Just about everyone in Digby, Cornwallis, and Victoria Beach saw the bright yellow helicopter and the Hercules aircraft overhead, many saw the Coast Guard Cutter and the Rigid Hull Inflatable Boat (RIB) zipping in and out of the Gut and around the Basin, they may have even noticed three fishing boats travelling in unison.
But very few would have seen the life raft bobbing around Goat Island, the yellow mannequins floating in the Bay of Fundy, the pile of three PFDs or the swimmer floating in the Gut.
Tiny dots of yellow, red or orange in a vast sea of blue and grey – what the Coast Guard calls search targets.
I was one of those search targets, part of a large-scale multi-agency training exercise led by the Canadian Coast Guard on the Annapolis Basin on Tuesday, Aug. 26.
The three goals of the exercise were to practice co-operation between the Coast Guard, the Coast Guard Auxiliary and the Air Force; to practice communication between the three groups; and to give the auxiliary practice in running search patterns and bringing search targets aboard.
Sailing vessel missing with six POBs
I played one of six POBs (persons on board) from the fictitious Krista Roy, a 36-foot sailing vessel, that had left Digby at 1 p.m. the day before and failed to turn up as expected at 10 p.m.
In reality, I started my day at the Lifesaving Station on the Bay View…