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Press Release | March 22, 2024

Coast Guard, Royal Canadian Navy conduct joint training exercise off Alaska coast

D17 Public Affairs

JUNEAU — The U.S. Coast Guard and the Royal Canadian Navy conducted a search and rescue exercise (SAREX) off Ketchikan, Alaska, March 14, 2024.

The exercise took place on the water and in the air with both agencies working together to test and evaluate interagency communications, response plans, and responders’ actions during multiple simulated scenarios.

“This exercise was an outstanding demonstration of teamwork between the Coast Guard and Royal Canadian Navy,” said Lieutenant Peter Bied, Commanding Officer of Coast Guard Cutter Bailey Barco. “Interoperability and fostering a great relationship with the Royal Canadian Navy are paramount for achieving successful outcomes.”

During the search and rescue exercise, Air Station Sitka deployed an MH-60 helicopter and conducted hoist training with Royal Canadian Navy crewmembers. Both agencies also took part in a towing exercise, bringing the other nations’ ship in tow during a collaborative training session for response to inoperable vessels.

Assets involved in the SAREX: 

•  U.S. Coast Guard District 17 Command Center personnel

•  U.S. Coast Guard Sector Southeast Alaska Command Center personnel

•  U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Bailey Barco crew 

•  U.S. Coast Guard Cutter John McCormick crew 

•  U.S. Coast Guard Air Station Sitka aircrew 

•  Royal Canadian Navy HMCS Nanaimo 

•  Royal Canadian Navy HMCS Yellowknife   

•  Royal Canadian Navy HMCS Edmonton 

Coast Guard Seventeenth District personnel annually conduct joint agency SAREXs across Alaska and the Aleutian Islands. These exercises aim to assess notification and response protocols, pinpoint communication gaps, and enhance coordination during search and rescue operations. 

The objectives of the Coast Guard search and rescue program are to reduce loss of life, injury, and property damage in the maritime setting, minimize risks to responders, maximize resource utilization, and uphold global leadership in maritime search and readiness proficiency and impact.