Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 16 June 2019

The maritime rescuers on hand to save Dubai residents who get into hot water

Jet ski rescues and high-tech solutions – Dubai's Maritime Rescue Department is ready to protect the public from dangers at sea

Lt Col Ali Al Naqbi, right, head of Dubai Police's maritime rescue department, has dedicated his career to keeping people safe. Pawan Singh / The National 
Lt Col Ali Al Naqbi, right, head of Dubai Police's maritime rescue department, has dedicated his career to keeping people safe. Pawan Singh / The National 

From saving lives on a jet ski to keeping themselves rescue fit with pre-breakfast fitness sessions, Dubai police’s Maritime Rescue Department is on hand to protect the public from the dangers of the sea.

Having responded to 31 accidents so far this year, including two deaths and six injuries, Dubai’s rescue stations — including three in Jumeirah, two in Deirah and a bicycle patrol in Jumeirah beach residence — are fully equipped with a boat, car and jet ski, as well as a boat driver, assistant boat driver, four divers and a paramedic.

There is even accommodation in each station to help rescuers get the rest they need to be prepared for an emergency.

Common accidents include drowning and collisions between vessels, but the department’s responsibilities are not restricted to saving lives. They also patrol ports and beaches, place warning flags in case of rough sea conditions and accompany delegations.

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“We have to remain fit, therefore for all members of the rescue teams our daily breakfast is a 500 metre swim, immediately followed by a 1,500 metre run in no more than 24 minutes,” said Maj Ali Abdullah Al Naqbi, head of the department.

While rescuers from other institutions like Dubai Municipality are available for call out for a certain amount of time and up to a certain number of swimming lengths, Maritime Rescue Department workers work round the clock and go into the deep sea.

“We go as far as we have to in order to save lives, and we thank God that our skills and up-to-date equipment have helped increase the number of successful missions,” he said.

Dubai Municipality launched earlier this year the Flying Rescuer, a drone for beach rescue. Courtesy Dubai Municipality
Dubai Municipality launched earlier this year the Flying Rescuer, a drone for beach rescue. Courtesy Dubai Municipality

That equipment includes satellite technology, which is used to locate vessels that are too far out for the jet ski to reach before a patrol boat is dispatched.

Dubai police is the only force in the world that has a high-speed X Cat class rescue boat, which was a gift from Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed, Crown Prince of Dubai.

And earlier this year, the force unveiled the 'world's first' rescue drone.

The unmanned aerial vehicle called the Flying Rescuer drops lifebuoys into the sea to people who get into trouble in the water.

The teams are also highly trained, taking courses in advanced first aid, handling hazardous materials, advanced diving, handling fuel and gas container accidents, deep diving, underwater Navigation, crisis management and responding to cases of weapons of mass destruction.

Mr Al Naqbi said that there will soon be a female Maritime Rescue Patrol, too, consisting of 11 women who will be taking to the seas in the near future.

Updated: December 9, 2018 07:21 AM

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