What Does BZ Mean?

Bravo Zulu when conveyed by flaghoist, morse code, or voice comms at the end of a mission means Well Done. It was introduced between allied forces in World War II.

This blog is a BZ to you.





The D4H Gathering 2023: British Virgin Islands

Each year, D4H hosts its annual company gathering, bringing together our globally distributed team for a week-long event. The gathering also involves a visit to one of our customers, offering us a firsthand look at the crucial work they undertake. In 2023, we traveled to the British Virgin Islands to visit the Virgin Islands Search and Rescue (VISAR), a D4H customer of nearly a decade. During the gathering, we held a joint training exercise at sea which gave us a firsthand glance into our customers' operations and showcased how D4H contributes to their incredible work. The exercise was a great success due to the exceptional teamwork demonstrated by the VISAR staff.

The D4H Gathering

Each year, our global team convenes at various locations worldwide for the gathering,—an occasion to come together, enjoy each other's company, learn about one another, and visit one of our customers. This visit provides us with insights into the vital and life-saving work they undertake with the support of D4H.

D4H team gathering

The Gathering 2023

In November 2023 our team traveled from all over the world, meeting in the British Virgin Islands in the Caribbean, home to one of our almost decade-long customers, the Virgin Island Search and Rescue (VISAR).

The British Virgin Islands comprise four main islands and many smaller islands also, the D4H team stayed on yachts for five nights, sailing around and visiting as many islands as possible. The picturesque setting provided a beautiful backdrop for team-building activities.

D4H yacht

Virgin Islands Search and Rescue (VISAR) and D4H

Our annual gathering is about building bonds with our team and the people we serve. As a team, witnessing firsthand the real-life missions accomplished by our customers is imperative. This experience propels us forward and deepens our understanding of the value inherent in our work.

The D4H and VISAR team

The VISAR team is a fully volunteer-run organization that was established in 1988. They are highly trained and dedicated individuals to VISAR’s mission of “Saving Lives at Sea". VISAR operates as an authorized Non-Profit Organization (NPO), following the blueprint of the Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI), which stands as the world's oldest lifeboat service. The team at VISAR operates 365 days a year 24 hours a day working alongside the police, ambulance, and coastguard services for the British Virgin Islands.

VISAR rescue boat

In recent years, the British Virgin Islands have experienced a surge in popularity among tourists, emerging as a sought-after destination for yachting holidays, increasing demand for VISAR's services. VISAR became a user of D4H in 2014, and since then they have launched their rescue vessels 400 times and spent 500 hours on rescue missions. They use the full range of D4H products to enhance and facilitate their rescue missions.; Personnel & Training, Equipment Management, Incident Reporting and Incident Management.

The At-Sea Exercise with VISAR

The customer visit with VISAR provided us with valuable insights into real-life customer scenarios on the ground (and sea!). Understanding their work from a first-hand perspective enables our team to grasp the purpose behind our work and find ways to enhance our approach. It gave our team valuable in-person interaction with a customer, creating an opportunity for open dialogue, question-and-answer sessions, and a deeper mutual understanding.

D4H customer meeting

To showcase the capabilities of VISAR's dedicated team, they graciously arranged an at-sea exercise for D4H to witness and participate in. This exercise scenario was an emergency-at-sea on one of the D4H yachts while moored at Cooper's Island in the BVI. Cooper's Island is a favored yachting destination, with over a hundred yachts busy at anchor on this particular evening. The D4H team simulated a pre-planned fictitious gas explosion aboard our yacht, alerting VISAR headquarters, and subsequently awaited a rescue operation by their team.

VISAR rescue boat at d

Within only a few minutes the VISAR rescue boat quickly approached the D4H yacht. To challenge VISAR's skills we had three D4H team members act out different injuries with two out of the three being able to speak English. In the simulated gas explosion scenario, one of the casualties presented with a simulated broken leg, the second individual had simulated burns on her hands, and the third person had simulated burns on his eyes—each posing distinct challenges for the VISAR team to address. The VISAR team quickly got to work, taking control of the situation, giving their orders, and setting about to assist the injured parties.

VISAR exercise helping injured man

In an incident such as this one the goal for the VISAR team is to get the injured people off their yacht and to land to be safely transported to hospital. It was a fantastic opportunity for our team at D4H to witness first-hand just how highly trained and skilled the team are at VISAR.

VISAR exercise at sea

Following the successful conclusion of the exercise, the D4H and VISAR teams convened for a post-exercise debrief, analyzing the strengths and strategies employed. They delved into how D4H could be effectively utilized in similar incidents. After completing a rescue mission, the team returns home to document incident details in the D4H incident reporting system.

We have put together a short video of the exercise that can be watched our Youtube channel here. We can't thank the VISAR team enough for hosting us during our annual gathering in 2023, and for allowing us to participate in a training exercise, it was an incredible and beneficial experience for our team.

D4H logo on the beach

Interested in hosting a D4H Gathering? Please get in touch! We’d love to hear from you.


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