Overboard drills and other stunts: HMCS Brandon’s family day sail

Petty Officer Second Class (PO2) Lance Ingeberg with his 14-year-old daughter as she looks through HCMS Saskatoon’s big eyes during a family day sail.

Overboard drills and other stunts: HMCS Brandon’s family day sail

By Kateryna Bandura,
The Lookout

Surrounded by 30 civilians on the deck of HMCS Brandon, Petty Officer Second Class (PO2) Lance Ingeberg explained the person overboard exercise unfolding in the water before them.

“The fleet standard is five minutes, from the second the alarm is raised to the person recovered safely in the Zodiac,” he said. 

The recovery drill on April 22 was one of many to showcase the ship and crew’s capabilities to family and friends who were along with them for a day sail.  

“I’m really happy to have my daughter along,” says PO2 Ingeberg. It has been almost a decade since the 14 year old sailed with her father. 

A day sail program was created so visitors got to see some of what the crew does, explains PO2 Robin Moncrief, Brandon’s acting Coxswain.

“For the kids, it’s great to see where mom or dad goes for three or four months, get a feel for where they live. They get to see the spaces where their families or friends work, which is really cool, especially for families that haven’t been on board before,” she says. 

She joined in 2008 and has been posted on all the West Coast Kingston class ships since 2011. She has been posted to Brandon since 2018 and is one a few sailors who’ve sailed only on the Maritime Coastal Defence Vessels (MCDV). 

To showcase the ship’s ability to maneuver, Lt(N) Sam Coffey, Operations Officer, took control of the ship to conduct a full-stern reverse thrust, weaving, and sharp turns that demonstrated their unique thrusters. 

“Fun thing about Maritime Coastal Defence Vessels is they have thrusters, as opposed to a rudder, that can rotate the ship 360 degrees. The bonus of having this system is it makes the ship overall very maneuverable,” says Lt(N) Coffey. 

He says showing off the ship to the public, family members, and friends is great exposure to navy life, especially since COVID has hindered activities such as this day sail for a few years.

“When we go away, there’s a lot of what we call maritime blindness, where people don’t really see what the navy is doing,” he says. “So this at least gives them some exposure to what our life is like while we’re away.”

Visitors also learned some unexpected things about the ship as well.

“Having read a lot of historical fiction and watched a lot of movie-type programming, I find the bridge a whole lot less noisy than expected,” says Walter McInnis. “Everybody’s quiet, focused, relaxed. That’s not what I was expecting.”

His daughter PO1 Colleen McInnis sailed with PO2 Moncrief in 2012 for two years and they have been friends ever since. He owns a fishing boat and often sails in the area; he says seeing what happens on the ship was eye opening.

“Seeing all the different components required to make a ship like this work, just incredible. There’s a lot of technology and machinery and these people have to know a lot of things to keep this thing going.”Brandon is due for a refit this fall. The ship’s company will transfer over to another MCDV.