From the field: Joint Coast Guard/U.S. Border Patrol training

Guest post courtesy of the U.S. Border Patrol, Grand Forks Sector:

Coast Guardsmen from Station Duluth, Minn., and U.S. Border Patrol agents "cool off" after training for ice rescue. Photo courtesy of U.S. Border Patrol.

Winter in Northern Minnesota can be harsh and unforgiving.  For those living in the Boundary Waters area however, the many lakes and waterways offer year-round recreation.

During the winter months, the frozen waterways are used for activities such as ice fishing and snowmobiling. Outdoor enthusiasts sometimes venture onto the ice in late Fall before the ice has frozen solidly enough to support recreation or in early Spring when the ice has begun to thaw.  These are the times when people are most likely to fall through the ice.

Border Patrol agents demonstrate ice rescue techniques. Photo courtesy of U.S. Border Patrol.

In an effort to provide an increased margin of officer safety and the ability to help others while working on and near these frozen waterways, agents of the Grand Forks Sector’s Warroad Border Patrol Station participated in training offered by the U.S Coast Guard.  There were two training sessions (Jan. 23-24 and Jan. 25-26) during which agents were taught specialized techniques for self-rescue and the rescue of another.

“This was a great opportunity for inter-agency training,” said Petty Officer 1st Class Garret Kravitz, operations petty officer at Coast Guard Station Duluth, Minn. “We were able to show them techniques that we use for self rescue and for helping people that might get into trouble out on the ice. It also helped us maintain our ice rescue proficiency throughout Station Duluth’s expansive area of responsibility.”

Warroad Station agents, a deputy sheriff from the Lake of the Woods County Sheriff’s Office, and seven Coast Guardsmen from Station Duluth took part in the two-day training sessions followed by a Joint USBP/USCG patrol on the Lake of the Woods.