N.C. Marine Patrol officers learn the ropes of swift water rescues

Officers use a rope and pulley system to help navigate the waters.
Tuesday, May 18, 2021 - 8:00am

It requires a lot of training, but when they are finished, the N.C. Marine Patrol will have a certified swift water rescue team, yet another way they can help save lives during emergencies.Officer Mike Wallace helps set a rope line

“In the past, the Marine Patrol has participated in water rescues in flooded areas, most notably in the aftermath of Hurricane Florence,” said Marine Patrol Col. Carter Witten. “Once we have completed our training the N.C. Department of Emergency Management will be able to deploy our team for rescues in whitewater conditions."

Officer Dewayne Whealton starts his rappel down the towerDuring the first week of May, Marine Patrol officers completed a Swift Water Rescue Ropes Class taught by members of the New Bern Fire Department through Craven Community College. This training involved classwork and fieldwork at the fire department’s training center and at Lawson Creek Park on a tributary to the Trent River.

Sixteen officers learned to tie various types of knots for pullies that will be useful in different rescue scenarios. Then they used what they had learned to rappel down a training tower. They also trained in setting a rope line across a creek that could be used with a pulley and raft to ferrying people across the water.Officer Neil Kendrick prepares to cross the water

All this preliminary work in calm water will culminate in swift water rescue training in rapids later this month.

“The hope is that the N.C. Marine Patrol Swift Water Rescue Team will be certified and geared up and ready to go for the 2021 hurricane season.” Witten said. 

Patricia Smith