CULVER, OR -- A water skills training starts Monday, hosted by the Jefferson County Sheriff's Office and State Marine Board. New and seasonal law enforcement officers will learn new skills in water safety and boat handling on Lake Billy Chinook. The Oregon Marine Board's Ashley Massey says this annual training is held in a different county each year, "We have 26 students that are signed up to attend, and then we've got about half as many career law enforcement that have been amazing instructors with a ton of knowledge and skill to pass along."
The nine-day training starts in the classroom, followed by working in a pool environment, before actually starting on-the-water drills, focusing on water safety fundamentals. "What makes this academy challenging is, they're going to get to understand their own threat response, front and center," says Massey, "They're going to get to live it. And how are they responding, not only to the pressure, but under threat, when they've got to keep their own head above the water? It can be very scary. So, we want to develop a comfort level where they can do self rescue, and then help other people." She tells KBND News, "They're not only learning about how to keep boaters and other water recreationists safe around the water, it also involves their own safety, having to jump into the water in full utility gear, are they comfortable in a life jacket, and how calm are they able to be under pressure? Those are the kinds of things that are really fine-tuned during this academy, because if a student isn't comfortable in the water themselves, they're not going to be very effective helping others."
The Marine Training Academy wraps up just in time for National Safe Boating Week, which runs May 18-24.