Tuesday, June 19 , 2018, 3:24 am | Fair 57º

 
 
 
 

Local News

Water-Rescue Exercise Lures Spectators at Santa Barbara Harbor

The U.S. Coast Guard, Santa Barbara Harbor Patrol and Santa Barbara Fire Department team up for training drill

Local authorities hosted a water-rescue training exercise Tuesday to better prepare emergency personnel and to highlight water safety in general at the start of National Safe Boating Week.

It didn’t take long for folks walking past the Santa Barbara Harbor to turn into spectators of the multi-agency training demonstration, which featured a low-flying U.S. Coast Guard helicopter dropping divers and making mock rescue lifts from waiting Santa Barbara Harbor Patrol boats.

The exercise was the first of its kind because it included the recently formed Santa Barbara Fire Department Water Rescue Team.

Fire Capt. Gary Pitney called Tuesday’s drill the “finale” of training for the team’s 18 members, who crowded onto three boats with Harbor Patrol personnel.

“We just saw more and more of a need,” Pitney said, referring to the team’s formation this past year. “Definitely a joint operation.”

A diver is
A diver is “rescued” from the water during a training exercise outside the Santa Barbara Harbor. (Gina Potthoff / Noozhawk photo)

The first of the eight hours of training Tuesday included helicopter rescue scenarios, while the remaining hours were meant to teach the local agencies how to better communicate during emergency situations.

“We need to work together as we would in real life,” Harbor Patrol Supervisor Steve McCullough told Noozhawk. “Safety is the critical thing in all of these. Everybody has a job to do. We thought this was a good time to have that training.”

With holiday weekends approaching, McCullough said law enforcement officials want to remind people to wear life jackets, take courses before going out boating, let other people know float plans ahead of time, and never drink and drive boats.

Drunken boaters account for 16 percent of all boating fatalities nationwide, according to information on the city’s website.

McCullough said some boaters don’t understand that driving on the water is the same as on the road.

“The laws are the same,” he said.

Noozhawk staff writer Gina Potthoff can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

Support Noozhawk Today

You are an important ally in our mission to deliver clear, objective, high-quality professional news reporting for Santa Barbara, Goleta and the rest of Santa Barbara County. Join the Hawks Club today to help keep Noozhawk soaring.

We offer four membership levels: $5 a month, $10 a month, $25 a month or $1 a week. Payments can be made through PayPal below, or click here for information on recurring credit-card payments.

Thank you for your vital support.

Become a Noozhawk Supporter

First name
Last name
Enter your email
Select your membership level
×

Payment Information

You are purchasing:

Payment Method

Pay by Credit Card:

Mastercard, Visa, American Express, Discover

Pay with Apple Pay or Google Pay:

Noozhawk partners with Stripe to provide secure invoicing and payments processing.

  • Ask
  • Vote
  • Investigate
  • Answer

Noozhawk Asks: What’s Your Question?

Welcome to Noozhawk Asks, a new feature in which you ask the questions, you help decide what Noozhawk investigates, and you work with us to find the answers.

Here’s how it works: You share your questions with us in the nearby box. In some cases, we may work with you to find the answers. In others, we may ask you to vote on your top choices to help us narrow the scope. And we’ll be regularly asking you for your feedback on a specific issue or topic.

We also expect to work together with the reader who asked the winning questions to find the answer together. Noozhawk’s objective is to come at questions from a place of curiosity and openness, and we believe a transparent collaboration is the key to achieve it.

The results of our investigation will be published here in this Noozhawk Asks section. Once or twice a month, we plan to do a review of what was asked and answered.

Thanks for asking!

Click Here to Get Started >

Reader Comments

Noozhawk is no longer accepting reader comments on our articles. Click here for the announcement. Readers are instead invited to submit letters to the editor by emailing them to [email protected]. Please provide your full name and community, as well as contact information for verification purposes only.

Daily Noozhawk

Subscribe to Noozhawk's A.M. Report, our free e-Bulletin sent out every day at 4:15 a.m. with Noozhawk's top stories, hand-picked by the editors.

Sign Up Now >