The Finnish Border Guard hosted Arctic states’ Coast Guard Trainers in Oulu, Finland on 29–31 January 2019. The objective of the course was to increase knowledge and share best practices related to practical level individual skills coast guards need when operating in Arctic conditions.
With temperatures of up to -20 degrees centigrade and a snow cover of some 50 centimeters, Oulu truly offered a perfect environment for training Arctic coast guard skills. As a matter of fact, the low temperatures, heavy snowfall and wind conditions in the Bay of Bothnia outside Oulu create a perfect “Arctic simulator” for training in extreme winter conditions.
The course program of the Arctic Train the Trainers course consisted of both theory and practical exercises. Course participants had the honor of learning new skills from a real Arctic expert, as Polar Explorer Kari Poppis Suomela led parts of the course program related to surviving in cold climate, such as outdoor camping skills, meal preparation in Arctic conditions and reducing the risk of hypothermia. Poppis is one of only twelve people in the world who have skied to both the North Pole and the South Pole unassisted. He has also taken part in numerous other expeditions, and therefore knows firsthand what it takes to survive and operate in extremely harsh winter conditions.
The course program also included training of snowmobile search patterns on an ice covered sea area and ice rescue training. The Arctic Train the Trainers course was a first step in the development of practical level coast guard training cooperation within the Arctic Coast Guard Forum framework.
Take a closer look at some of the highlights of the course: video