New recruits to the Royal Bermuda Regiment could find themselves patrolling waters by summer as the Coast Guard plans to swell its ranks.
Captain Jeffrey Patterson, the Coast Guard Commander, hopes to increase staff numbers to boost the unit’s capabilities and enhance training.
Residents are invited to join the Regiment this week ahead of a recruit camp next month. Upon completion of foundational training, soldiers can request to be considered for a Coast Guard role.
Capt Patterson said: “We are in the process of trying to increase Coast Guard numbers, both full-time staff and part-time staff, through the RBR recruitment drive.
“The intention is that the increase in staff will allow the unit to deploy a larger number of assets during the height of the summer or national emergencies, as well as develop the depth of training of its staff within the unit, and develop a succession plan for the future of the unit.”
The Coast Guard’s operations include search and rescue, marine safety and security, accident and disaster response, customs and border control, and law enforcement. In 2022, the unit carried out more than 1,000 patrols, interacted with or observed 21,145 vessels and conducted 85 search and rescue operations.
Capt Patterson said the job was suited to “well-rounded” people and previous boating experience is not necessary.
Interested recruits would go through an interview process. Capt Patterson added: “We’re looking at how well they fit in, how well they get along with others.”
The unit has nine RBR and four Bermuda Police Service full-time staff as well as 25 RBR and three BPS reserves on the part-time roster.
It is hoped the numbers can increase to a total of 14 full-time staff and 32 part-time staff. Based at Scenic House in Sandys, Coast Guard operations also include pollution response, traffic management and fisheries control. Lance Corporal Melanie Gauntlett, one of the unit’s part-time staff, has been a Regiment soldier since 2018. She said: “I was a medic first up at Camp, then I wanted a bit of a change of scenery.
“Coast Guard, I thought, was a nice combination of my love of the water and medics, because we do both here.”
LCpl Gauntlett, a mother of two, said it was a smooth transition to the role and added: “Even if you’re a novice boater, these guys are very good at their jobs, so everybody’s given the confidence to learn.”
The 36-year-old practice manager from Sandys continued: “As a medic, you’re serving the battalion; in the Coast Guard I’m serving the broader community, the island and I can still use the skills I honed up at Warwick Camp.
“I get an intense satisfaction out of being able to help my unit as well as the community as a whole.”
Residents aged between 18 and 50 are invited to join the RBR by Thursday, January 26, to take part in initial recruit training, which will run from February 12 to 24.
* For more information or to sign up, visit www.bermudaregiment.bm or call 238-1045.
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