The latest addition to the Royal Bermuda Regiment’s Boat Troop fleet was today (WEDS) christened at Warwick Camp.
Governor John Rankin and Minister of National Security Wayne Caines were among the dignitaries that helped commission 41 Juliet – a 27ft Boston Whaler Guardian class boat - into service.
The refurbished former Bermuda Police Service vessel will make its first official patrols over the Cup Match holiday weekend.
Mr Rankin, who was among the guests who christened the vessel with Bermuda rum, rather than the traditional champagne, said: “Ensuring the safety of people in Bermuda is the top priority of all of us in our respective roles – ensuring safety on land and also ensuring safety at sea.”
The Governor, who is Commander-in-Chief of the RBR, thanked the Bermuda Police Service for the role its marine unit played on the water.
He added: “I am equally delighted that the Royal Bermuda Regiment is now expanding its role, in conjunction with the police, to ensure safety at sea.”
Mr Rankin said the new boat, which skilled Boat Troop soldiers spent a year refitting, was a “concrete implementation” of the move towards an RBR Coast Guard role.
He added: “That’s not going to be achieved overnight – we need all the services with experience in this area to work together, but this is an important first step.”
Mr Rankin said he was “satisfied” that the RBR Boat Troop would “operate in a professional fashion and further develop the capacity in this area over the coming months”.
Mr Caines said: “This might seem like just another boat, but this is the start of something spectacular.”
He added that the RBR and the BPS were committed to working together to ensure the safety and security of Bermuda on land and at sea.
Mr Caines said: “It’s something you don’t often see – both have areas of expertise and both could have stayed in their own silos of responsibility, but both see the benefit of pooling their resources to the benefit of the community.”
He added that people should exercise care when travelling by land or sea and show “responsible driving and responsible behaviour on the water”.
RBR Commanding Officer Lieutenant Colonel David Curley thanked Sergeant Major Jeff Patterson, Colour Sergeant Leslie Spanswick and their Boat Troop team, which includes shipwrights, marine mechanics and divers, as well as Special Constables, for their skill and dedication in restoring the 1997 vintage boat to as-new condition.
He added that Boat Troop had worked with the police for 15 years on joint maritime operations in inshore waters.
Col Curley said: “This has resulted in the RBR Boat Troop gaining valuable operational experience in supporting and reinforcing the BPS marine unit with general patrols during the summer and special events such as Cup Match, the America’s Cup and public holidays over the years.”
Commissioner of Police Stephen Corbishley highlighted the joint services operation last weekend to find and rescue a young man who had fallen off a boat in Hamilton Harbour.
He added: “That is the tangible effect of what we’re seeking to offer.”
Royal Navy Commander Marcus Jacques, who is based in Key West, Florida, who also attended the ceremony, said he had been asked by the Governor to help “move the Coast Guard forward and give a slightly different perspective on how that might be achieved”.
Sgt Maj. Patterson added: “I’m pleased with work we did and with the outcome. It was more than a year’s work by part-time volunteer soldiers and did not interfere with their operational commitments.”