Bermuda Coast Guard personnel from the Royal Bermuda Regiment were today/yesterday (SUN) keeping tabs on boat movements and coastal areas.
The soldiers mounted boat patrols around the island to enforce the Government’s shelter in place regulations on the water and on land.
Corporal CJ Richardson, 32, who is in his third week of embodiment, said: “It’s pretty good – I’ve got a bunch of people I get along with really well. It’s like family.”
He added: “When we first started, there were a lot of people who didn’t realise they couldn’t go out on their boats. But people have started to get the message now.”
Cpl Richardson said the two Coast Guard sections rotated every week between sea duty and manning vehicle checkpoints.
He added that life in the Regiment – particularly in a crisis – was tough, but worthwhile.
Cpl Richardson, from Paget, who works at Marine Locker in Pembroke, said: “I would rather be here because I’m constantly being challenged and constantly working.
“It’s long hours, but I’d rather be doing that than sleeping or watching Netflix over shelter in place. We’re performing a community service and I think I am lucky.”
Private Steffan Adderley, 28, from Hamilton Parish, added: “It’s fine. It’s no burden at all. It’s good to help my country in its time of need.”
Pte Adderley, who works in construction and part-time as a fisherman, said: “I prefer being out on the water, but the roadside aspect is a good experience because we get to interact with people a lot and you learn how to deal with different situations. For the most part, people are sticking to the rules.”
The two were speaking just before they went out on patrol, checking anchorages and boats to make sure they had a legitimate reason be out on the water, such as commercial fishermen with licences.
The Coast Guard has also towed boats dead in the water to shore and escorted visiting boats to Customs and immigration officials then into a mandatory 14-day quarantine.
Sergeant Tyler Smith, a former Royal Navy sailor, said his job was to man the operations centre at the Coast Guard’s Watford House HQ in Sandys.
Sgt Smith, who celebrated his 31st birthday on April 8, the day he was called up, added he controlled the Coast Guard boats on the water and liaised with the police and Bermuda Harbour Radio.
He said: “We’re taking the names of people who shouldn’t be out on the water and passing them on to the police.”
Sgt Smith, of Paget and the islands manager for Waterfront Properties, added the troops had also warned swimmers that they were not allowed in the water and ordered back to shore.
He said: “Morale is high – we love being out on the water and we love helping people out. We’re polite, but we still enforce the rules.”
Sgt Smith added: “The spirit is awesome and there is no one with their head down here. They all understand the situation and how serious it is.”