Emergency boats and Coast Guard helicopter train on the Hudson (VIDEOS)

A USCG rescue swimmer dropping from a JayHawk into the Hudson River. Copyright Mid-Hudson News 2022.

HYDE PARK – A number of law enforcement agencies and two fire departments trained with the United States Coast Guard (USCG) on the Hudson River on Tuesday and Wednesday.  The police boats, led by a 45-foot USCG Response Boat-Medium (RB-M) docked at Rogers Point in Hyde Park on Wednesday morning, due to the number of available slips at the marina.

Dutchess County Sheriff’s Office Colonel Gerry Lennon also serves as Commodore for Rogers Point Marina and hosted the training.  “We have a tremendous facility that can accommodate a variety of events.  Hosting a training like this that makes the mighty Hudson Rover a safer place is an added benefit.”

Commander Saunders speaking to attendees.

USCG Commander Kevin Saunders opened the second day of the training exercise by stressing the need for interagency cooperation along the Hudson.  “We’re here to get better at our mission,” said Commander Saunders.  He noted that in addition to the USCG staffers, law enforcement from the State Police and State DEC were joined by representatives from the Dutchess, Ulster, Orange, and Rockland County Sheriff’s Offices and the Westchester County Police marine units.  The marine unit from the Kingston Fire Department also brought their boat to the second day of training.   Representatives from the Arlington Fire Department attended, without a vessel.  Arlington Fire Chief Bill Steenbergh said, “Our officers are here to learn techniques that enhance our ability to keep people safe.”

“We are all dedicated to maintaining safe and secure waterways,” Commander Saunders said.  “These exercises allow agencies to work together to keep the Hudson River enjoyable. We encourage feedback from the participating agencies so that we can continually improve the training we offer.”

The USCG 45-foot response RB-M CG-45610 from Staten Island, a multi-mission capable boat, with a crew of four, was the centerpoint of Wednesday’s training.  Deployed for missions including search and rescue, recreational boating safety, enforcement of laws, and coastal security, it worked with a USCG Jayhawk helicopter from Air Station Cape Cod to demonstrate how rescue swimmers are deployed to boats on the water, distressed people are rescued from the water and other capabilities.  The specialized crew also worked with individual law enforcement agencies on search and rescue (SAR) techniques.

“We’re a little farther removed, being stationed in State Island,” said USCG Lt. Commander Michael Persun, commanding the RB-M.  “Being able to rely on the local agencies here, including the sheriff’s offices and fire departments to be the first responders before we can get up here is a huge asset,” the USCG Academy graduate added.  “We’re here to leverage and enhance the relationships with local agencies to keep this waterway safe.”

The USCG has a vessel, “Wire” stationed in Saugerties.  The remaining boats and larger ships are docked in Staten Island and Atlantic City.  It takes approximately three hours for a USCG rescue boat to travel from Staten Island to the Poughkeepsie area.  A Jayhawk helicopter from the USCG Air Station in Cape Cod can be over the Poughkeepsie area in 90 minutes.  The extended response time to arrive in the Hudson Valley is the primary reason that the USCG is strengthening relationships with local agencies in the Hudson Valley.

Videos of a USCG swimmer being lowered to the RB-M and a second swimmer being hoisted back to the JayHawk as filmed by a Mid-Hudson News reporter on the deck of the RB-M:

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