Rescue crews running into the surf
Rescue crew dashes into water at Goleta Beach during drill. (Brooke Holland / Noozhawk photo)

Santa Barbara County emergency personnel practiced water rescues Monday during an annual multi-agency training at Goleta Beach Park.

The day-long training included the Vandenberg Air Force Base Fire Department water rescue team, along with crews from Santa Barbara City Fire, Santa Barbara County Fire, Carpinteria-Summerland Fire departments, plus state and county lifeguards.

Monday wasn’t indicative of hazardous ocean surf or other ocean conditions, but the water-rescue training exercises helped prepare emergency crews.

“Primarily, we get called to ocean rescues when there is large surf or high winds,” fire Capt. Daniel Bertucelli said. “That’s when we have to put this training into play.”

A handful of people walking along the shoreline turned into spectators.

Water exercises included swimmers using a buoy, paddleboard and jet ski training, as well as other rescue techniques in the water and mock shore-based rescues.

A scenario had the emergency personnel swimming from the beach to the 1,500-foot pier and back to the shore.

Pretend victims, played by crews, were rescued during the drills.

Emergency personnel wading into the water

Emergency personnel at Goleta Beach rescue drill Monday. (Brooke Holland / Noozhawk photo)

“We try to take the opportunities during the winter to do trainings like this for several reasons,” Bertucelli said. “Most of the time, it’s when we can get our most realistic ocean conditions, except today — also during the winter, we don’t have any wildland fires going.”

All water rescue teams train independently and frequently, Bertucelli said. 

“Today allows us to not only practice among our water rescue teams, but also train and practice with other rescue teams who we might be working with on an incident,” Bertucelli said. “Any opportunity two entities get to work with each other, and practice their skills with each other, will allow a much more seamless execution when the time comes.”

Noozhawk staff writer Brooke Holland can be reached at Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

Rescue workers on surfboards at Goleta Beach drill.

Rescue workers on surfboards at Goleta Beach drill.  (Brooke Holland / Noozhawk photo)