HAMPTON, Va. - News 3 got an inside look into how first responders in Hampton Roads prepare for the worst scenarios on the water.
All this week firefighters, police, and members of the Coast Guard from throughout the region gathered in Hampton to hone their maritime skills.
On Friday, 28 boats with almost 150 crew members simulated an emergency in the James River that involved a tour boat that caught fire and sank leaving 10 people stranded in the water.
News 3 rode along with a five man crew from the Virginia Beach Fire Department. They worked to navigate the water, to rescue two victims and to pull debris onto the boat.
But the week long training also included classroom sessions and practical and advanced simulations during the day and night, according to the website.
United States Coast Guard Sector Commander Capt. Rick Wester said, “That's what the forum is really for, to bring us all up to speed to make sure we’re all on the same page for search and rescue, oil spill response, and also law enforcement.”
The United States Coast Guard – Sector Hampton Roads – and The Port of Virginia Maritime Incident Response Team have organized this event for the past 11 years.
But this year they changed the name of the program to the "Steven Todd Dooley Search and Rescue Forum".
The former cop was shot and killed by his son along with several other family members.
He was a vital member of the Chesapeake Police Department who was a diver and part of many search and rescue efforts.
Virginia Port Authority Director, MIRT and Emergency Operations Bill Burket Jr. said, “We put this in his honor to make sure that his legacy lives on. We certainly wanted to do something for him so his family understood what he meant to us.”
They wanted to honor their friend who pasted away while training first responders on everything from boat handling to search and rescue missions.
“The safety and security of the Port of Virginia is really a team effort. It's the Coast Guard along with many other federal, state, and local partner helping to ensure the maritime safety and security,” said Wester.
“We really couldn't do our jobs effectively without all of their assistance.”
Click here to see more pictures and video of today's event.