Premier and National Security Minister Michael Dunkley and Regiment CO Lt Col Michael Foster-Brown on board a boat as the defence force's Boat Troop is put through its paces. *Photo supplied
Premier and National Security Minister Michael Dunkley and Regiment CO Lt Col Michael Foster-Brown on board a boat as the defence force's Boat Troop is put through its paces. *Photo supplied

Premier and National Security Minister Michael Dunkley joined the Bermuda Regiment’s Boat Troop as they exercised their maritime role during their two weeks annual training.

Mr Dunkley watched the Regiment’s sea-going soldiers chase and halt suspect vessels safely.

Mr Dunkley said: “We got to watch them perform, see how they do their exercises and it’s an opportunity to show my support for the Regiment.”

The Boat Troop this year carried out their annual training on the Island, rather than join their land-based elements at the Canadian Army’s Meaford base in Ontario.

L. Cpl Tyler Smith said: “I’m glad we’re training in Bermuda – it’s our training in our waters and I’ve enjoyed the two weeks.”

The former Royal Navy regular added: “It’s enhancing what I’ve already learned and helps us to do our jobs better.”

Colour Sergeant Leslie Spanswick said: “It’s been a very successful two weeks. It’s aimed at preparing Boat Troop to handle any situation we might have to face in support of our colleagues in the police service.”

A total of 14 boat troop members – twice the full-time complement of the police Marine Section – practised navigation, including at night, swimming, port security, search-and-rescue, beach assaults, oil booming, first aid, and rules of engagement – with tests carried out in all of them.

Clr Sgt Spanswick said: “It’s gone very well – the troops have enjoyed it and we haven’t had any really bad weather either, which is a bonus.”

Regiment Commanding Officer Lt Col Michael Foster-Brown added a professional Boat Troop was an important part of the Island’s defence force, especially in light of the recent National Security and Defence Review, which recommended soldiers taking over the maritime role from police.

Mr Dunkley, with National Security Permanent Secretary Marc Telemaque, a former Regiment officer, visited the troops last Thursday.

Col Foster-Brown said: “Work is ongoing to explore options for a lead Regiment Maritime role so it’s good that the Premier and Minister of National Security can come out and see what we can do.

“Boat Troop is also trained in search and rescue, environmental protection and routinely back up the Bermuda Police Service on the water, particularly during the summer months and it’s a vital component in the Regiment’s role of protecting Bermuda – on land or at sea.”

A Regiment career offers recruits adventure, fun, travel, skills useful in civilian life and competitive rates of pay, as well as a $500 bounty for new volunteers, all while serving Bermuda. For more information, call 238-1045 or visit www.bermudaregiment.bm .