Earlier today (Feb. 6), the Minister of National Security, the Hon. Wayne Caines, and His Excellency the Governor, John Rankin jointly launched Bermuda’s first ever Coast Guard Unit. The Acting Commanding Officer Major Benjamin Beasley will oversee the new Unit in partnership with the BPS for the next year.
Today's events also included the formal opening of the Coast Guard Unit's Command Centre at the Watford House building located at Malabar, Somerset. Police Commissioner Stephen Corbishley, Collector of Customs Lucinda Pearman and US Consul General Constance Dierman were among the dignitaries in attendance.
As a note all of the vessels in the new Bermuda Coast Guard are all refurbished boats and have been ensured seaworthy and ready for service.
For your refererence please see Minister Caines' full remarks below.
Today, as the Minister of National Security, I'm extremely pleased to join you in launching Bermuda’s first ever Coast Guard Unit.
The Royal Bermuda Regiment plays a vital role in the protection, safety and unity of the country, and all of Bermuda should be proud of our soldiers and the service they provide to the people of this Country.
Today is a particularly proud day for Bermuda, for this Government and for the Royal Bermuda Regiment.
The launch of the Bermuda Coast Guard is a significant milestone for us.
It marks the start of the formal transition of the responsibility for Bermuda’s maritime security from the Bermuda Police Service to the Royal Bermuda Regiment.
The Unit will operate jointly for a year under the operational control of the Bermuda Police Service to allow for the hiring and training of new members.
The Unit will establish and maintain an in-shore Coast Guard in order to secure Bermuda’s Territorial waters initially out to 12 nautical miles and beyond depending on sea state and available assets.
Members of the Unit will operate out of the Command Centre here at Watford House and provide a 24 hour on-duty capability during the summer boating season.
The Unit will also have the ability to assist with marine distress incidents, oil spills or pollution incidents as well as provide support to Disaster Response Management.
The Unit will participate in joint operations with Customs, Immigration, Fisheries, Marine and Ports, the Bermuda Fire and Rescue Service and the Police Service to ensure maritime safety and security.
The Coast Guard Unit will also provide support for key maritime events such as the Newport to Bermuda Race, the Round the Island Boat Race and other notable maritime activities.
As we evolve this new service, our members of the Coast Guard Unit will receive the very best training with both the US and UK Coast Guard.
The Unit will work towards the accreditation of the Command Centre, and we envisage that the Bermuda Coast Guard will eventually become the Centre of Excellence for the other Overseas Territories.
Lastly, I wish to express my thanks to the men and women of the RBR who have been answering the call of service.
The RBR and the individuals in its service are prepared and ready. And during times of adversity they continue to display an unparalleled resilience and determination.
We continue to encourage individuals in the community who are looking for a dynamic and exciting career choice to consider joining the RBR which offers a wide range of options, now inclusive of Bermuda’s first ever Coast Guard.
I wish to once again congratulate all involved for ensuring the success of our new Coast Guard Unit and I wish all of our RBR soldiers nothing but success as you go about the business of watching over Bermuda and its people.