Sea Cadets assist Military Police in rescue of civilian sailboat off RMC

Acting Sub-Lieut. Alec Murdock, Cadet CPO2 Bennett Bezugley, Cadet PO2 Arden Craig, Master Cpl. Andrew La Plante, and Cpl. Richard Thomas at the Frontenac Boat Shed in front of a Safety Rescue Workboat they used to rescue a civilian sailboat that was stuck on a rocky shoreline of the Cataraqui River off Point Frederick at Royal Military College (RMC) in Kingston. Photo by Civilian Instructor Rebecca Frederick.

Last week, three members of Trenton Cadet Training Centre’s Kingston Sailing Site assisted the Military Police in rescuing a civilian sailboat that was stuck on a rocky shoreline of the Cataraqui River off Point Frederick near the Royal Military College. 

According to a release from the Royal Military College of Canada (RMC), at around 4 p.m. on Tuesday, Jul. 11, 2023, Master Cpl. Andrew La Plante and Cpl. Richard Thomas of 2 MP Regiment Detachment Kingston arrived at the training centre’s Frontenac Boat Shed and requested assistance with an on-water rescue, including the use of a Safety Rescue Workboat (SRW), a boat driver, and a crew. 

Acting Sub-Lieut. (A/Sub-Lieut.) Alec Murdock volunteered as the coxswain and selected two sea cadets, Chief Petty Officer Second Class (CPO2) Bennett Bezugley and Petty Officer Second Class (PO2) Arden Craig, alongside Master Cpl. La Plante, to save a civilian sailboat stuck on the rocky shoreline off Point Frederick at RMC. The four quickly took to the water and began towards the location of the civilian sailing vessel, according to a press release from the College.

“Citizenship and community involvement is a big part of what the Cadet Program is about,” Acting Sug-Lieut. Murdock, Assistant Boats Officer, said in a statement at the time. “Usually, that means we’ll clean up a park or something, but today, it meant using all the training and skills that we get in this program and applying it.” 

According to information provided by Civilian Instructor Rebecca Frederick, on approach, the crew slowed their speed to assess any hazards, comply with posted limits, and ensure their wake didn’t worsen the position of the grounded sailboat.

A/Sub-Lieut. Alec Murdock, Cadet CPO2 Bennett Bezugley, Cadet PO2 Arden Craig, and Master Corp. Andrew La Plante come to the aid of a civilian sailboat that was stuck on a rocky shoreline of the Cataraqui River. Photo by Cpl. Richard Thomas.

Once the rescue crew was close enough, CPO2 Bezugley and PO2 Craig reportedly worked together to determine the best course of action, demonstrating teamwork, professionalism, and problem-solving skills, Frederick shared. Putting much of their sail and seamanship knowledge into practice, the pair were eager to help ensure the rescue was completed safely and efficiently, according to the release.

“We concluded that a tow from the aft would work best. By connecting a towline to our aft bollard, I heaved the line to the sailor, and he (Bezugley) proceeded to tie it to his mast,” PO2 Craig said.

This allowed A/Sub-Lieut. Murdock to power forward and pull the sailboat free, Frederick noted. The crew then prepared both vessels for a longer tow across the river. The rescue boat successfully brought the sailing vessel to a dock on the opposite shoreline, which was sheltered from the waves and wind. They confirmed that the sailing vessel was able to operate under its own power safely and returned to Frontenac Boat Shed.

“All of the skill sets I’ve had in the sea cadet program definitely helped with this. If it weren’t for the sea cadet program, I would have had no idea how to properly tie off the line or how to heave the line over to him,” PO2 Craig continued. “All the skills I used in that situation were thanks to the sea cadet program.”

The crew was excited to have successfully rescued the sailboat and happy to discover the use of their sailing and seamanship skills in the real world, according to Frederick, and were especially proud to have used their skills for good in the community.

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