BAY COUNTY, FLA. - The Panama City dive team is participating in special training.
Divers are rehearsing drills and practicing how to respond to coastal threats. It's a joint effort called Black Drum exercise.
It's normally quiet at the St. Andrew's marina, but this week, multiple agencies from all over Bay County are calling it their training ground. Bay County sheriff's deputies, state wildlife officers and members of the U.S. coast guard are among the members of 8-agencies participating in a special training.
Local, state and federal agencies all joined forces to improve their responses to underwater threats. A cause important to officials here in Bay County.
"The Sheriff's main mission is to make sure the waterways of Bay County are safe, we're also there for any recovery of any boating accidents, swimming accidents, and evidence recovery in any of the waterways of Bay County," said Bay Co. Sheriff's Office Sergeant, Andrew Husar.
Organizers staged 4 drills. A pier sweep, body recovery, technology statement and salvage. All of which are important to know when responding to emergencies in the water. This training can help solve the worst issue agencies face.
"The biggest obstacle we run into is communication. That is 100% what we're resolving with this interagency training. Just familiarization with the people doing the work," said Panama City Fire Captain, Jerome Fleeman.
With all hands on deck, the training doesn't just teach improving skills but also strengthens alliances. "A lot of those relationships get built ahead of time and that way, things are a lot smoother when there's a problem," said U.S. Coast Guard Chief Diver, David Partin.
Roughly 40 to 50 divers, participated in the multi-day annual training. Training that's been taking place for 4 years now.
Wednesday's training will be taking place around pieces of the old Hathaway bridge that are submerged in the Gulf.
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