920th Rescue Wing’s New Boat Provides More Options, Safety For Ocean Training

By  //  November 19, 2015

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35-foot recovery boat

The 920th Rescue Wing's pararescue squadron here recently acquired a 35-foot recovery boat with the intent of providing its members a broader, safer training program. (920th Rescue Wing image)

The 920th Rescue Wing’s pararescue squadron here recently acquired a 35-foot recovery boat with the intent of providing its members a broader, safer training program. (920th Rescue Wing image)

BREVARD COUNTY, FLORIDA — The 920th Rescue Wing’s pararescue squadron here recently acquired a 35-foot recovery boat with the intent of providing its members a broader, safer training program.

Pararescuemen conduct a variety of operations on the open ocean — from diving to parachute jumps and more. But none of the squadron’s boats could operate safely as recovery vessels in anything other than the smallest of waves.

According to Sgt. Blaine Morgan, instability can be dangerous when trying to maneuver a boat around a person floating in the water, as they do when picking up PJs after they parachute into the sea.

As a result, the squadron had to conduct much of its water training in the Banana River, a shallow, 31-mile lagoon that abuts Patrick AFB’s western border. It ensured safety but deprived pararescuemen the experience of jumping and diving in rougher seas.

Blaine Morgan

Sgt. Blaine Morgan

“Our current boats are unstable at 3-4 feet,” said wing PJ Master Sgt. Blaine Morgan, referring to the squadron’s small fleet of water craft — none of which are longer than 27 feet.

With the arrival of the new SAFE Boat 35 (which actually measures out two feet longer than its name), wing PJs are able to schedule open-ocean training with confidence their work won’t get derailed by the onset of high seas.

“It’s a safer platform,” said Sgt. Morgan.

“It’s more stable, so we’re able to maintain a steady speed without having to slow down for waves. It also has another hundred square feet of usable work space for people and equipment.”

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