Group training on the water for Coast Guard, PBC Sheriff, and local dive charters

RIVIERA BEACH, Fla. - In South Florida, the ocean serves as a playground for many. What happens in an emergency when someone is hurt and needs help fast?

Thursday local dive charters, the Coast Guard and Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office put themselves  through the paces.

The lure of the sea attracts many divers to our area... some local, some not.

Exploring the sea does have its risks. Those who work on the water are also working on new ways to keep divers safe.

Dean Schuler is with the Palm Beach Dive Association and remembers talking about ways to make diving safer. 

"We sort of hit upon something, maybe the communication skills between the dive boats and the law enforcement that we would deal with in an accident weren't as good as they possibly could be. So how can we fix that? And that was to combine our training efforts together."

And together was the theme for three crucial organizations.

"This (Thursday) morning we did some joint training with the United States Coast Guard PBSO's marine division,  and the Palm Beach County Dive Association in training for possible dive accident-related scenarios," Tom Mcelroy of the Palm Beach County Sheriff''s Office Marine Division said.

They practiced right in rough waters and bad weather.

McElroy explains, "We use the dive boats to reenact things that could go wrong out on the water with the dive community. We practiced coming alongside of the boats, putting off crews to the injured people and the scenarios went on to administer whatever first aid was needed and transport them back to the docks."

Vital training for an area that's loaded with dive boats.

Shuler comments, "Diving brings in hundreds of millions of dollars to Palm Beach County every year and we need to make it as safe as possible, and this is the best way we can do that."

He continues, "We plan on doing future training exercises and building upon this, using this as a good foundation to continue to growing that relationship. What we realized today is that we are really on the same page."

And working together is what's going to help bring home injured divers safely.

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