Canadian Forces Naval Security Team draws curious onlookers during first training and recruiting visit to the Okanagan

Gun boats draw a crowd

Cindy White

They attracted a curious crowd as they pulled up to the dock at the Kelowna marina.

The Canadian Forces Naval Security Team has arrived in the Okanagan for training exercises.

It’s the first time they’ve come to Okanagan Lake for manoeuvres, packing up 19 personnel and three 30-foot Defender pontoon boats and transporting them here from CFB Esquimalt.

“It’s a combination of navigation training. We’re also training up some more personnel so that they can be even more comfortable with handling of the boats,” said Master Sailor Daniel Cramer.

“And we’re doing a certain amount of tactical movements. Coming up with different formations and cycling different boats into different positions and just seeing how smoothly we can facilitate all those motions.”

The naval security team is also hoping to find some new crew members while they’re in the area. A recruitment booth was set up at the waterfront Wednesday afternoon.

“We’re looking for eager people who like to work hard and have fun doing important work,” said Cramer, who joined the Royal Canadian Navy as a hull technician, before transferring to the security team.

He adds that he would hope that people who have a passion for being around the water would look at how they can do that professionally. He says being a professional sailor is a great time.

The Defenders are equipped with forward-mounted and aft-mounted machine guns, but no ammunition is being used during the training on Okanagan Lake, which offers up a different challenge than their usual operations off the coast of Vancouver Island.

“Out on the ocean, if there’s a spit on land and you want to give it a little bit of room, you can give it a lot of room because you have the entire ocean. Whereas here, you can only get so far from anything without getting closer to something else. It just kind of helps build situational awareness.”

Cramer notes that they will be doing their best not to disrupt other boaters and lake users.

“It would definitely help us with our training if you could also just give us a little bit of space because we are going to be doing some high-speed manoeuvres.”

The Canadian Forces Naval Security Team will also be making stops in Vernon and Penticton during their visit to the Okanagan.

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