Port inspection divers from 15 Naval Reserve Divisions across Canada gathered on Vancouver Island from January 21 to 30, 2022, for an annual diving exercise.
Forty-eight naval reservists travelled to dive sites in Comox, Nanaimo and Port Hardy, B.C., to take part in Dive 2270.
The event was missed last year due to Covid-19; but this year, the group came together to perform tasks to help them maintain their dive proficiency and to meet regenerative training requirements.
They made their way to remote locations off-shore via inflatable boats.
Using Compressed Air Breathing Apparatus (CABA) and diving to depths of 30 metres, they performed underwater searches and surveys.
Part of this year’s mission was to qualify many of these divers with the new CABA Lite equipment.
It also involved familiarizing the divers with the Navy’s new Shark Marine Sonar equipment that enables them to more easily detect underwater objects.
“Things went very well and there certainly was a degree of satisfaction for me and the other organizers because we were able to mitigate a lot of obstacles to make this exercise a success,” said Petty Officer 1st Class (PO1) Jacek Jaskiewicz, Regional Dive Centre West Chief from Winnipeg’s Naval Reserve Division, Her Majesty’s Canadian Ship Chippawa.
He noted that several days of heavy fog hampered the team’s effectiveness at reaching previously selected dive sites further offshore. Instead, alternate dive sites closer to shore were used. Poor visibility also led to the cancellation of a helicopter exercise involving an air crew from Canadian Forces Base Comox.
Before the exercise, naval reservists isolated for two days and underwent rapid Covid-19 testing. Rigorous cleaning and sanitizing of equipment was also required to keep the participants safe.
“There was a big team effort required to make this 10-day exercise a success,” says PO1 Jaskiewicz. “In the end, we stayed safe, played by the rules and still managed to achieve our objectives.”