On 26 May, URG conducted its 2018 Boat and Diver Safety Day, the refresher training was conducted at the St George Motor Boat Club, and we had about 15 members in attendance.
There was no theory imparted on premises this time, every member of the Group was emailed a brief with Emergency and Normal procedures and the expectation was that people would read “the theory” in their own time – Safety day should be interactive and about practical procedures, drills and scenarios that could someday save your life and participants got exactly that!
The training was divided up into four sessions:
1. Equipment Familiarisation stations – several stations were set up and all attendants were ‘cycled’ through all the stations until competent:
Life jackets – every member had to demonstrate competency on how to put on the life jackets carried in our boat, our lifejackets are not as intuitive or as easy to don as most people think!
O2 – Everyone assembled and disassembled the O2 kit
Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacon (EPIRB) – everyone got an opportunity to handle and inspect the EPIRB up close and how to manage the EPIRB in an actual emergency, inclusive of understanding how to carry out the monthly functional test and how to activate the unit in an actual emergency
Fire Extinguisher – familiarisation and how to use the Fire Extinguisher carried onboard
First Aid – familiarisation with the contents of the First Aid carried onboard
Emergency equipment tub – All the contents were on display and all participants were encouraged to identify, handle and ask questions about the many items carried inside the ‘mysterious’ black tub inclusive of smoke and red flares, the “V Sheet”, tools, boat repair spares and other items.
2. Diver signals
This interactive session allowed participants to get a refresher on many diver signals (used both above and below the surface) and some of us learned a few new signals.
3. Emergency repairs at sea
This session was a demonstration by Michael, on techniques on what can be done to repair the boat at sea with emphasis on starting the engine and dealing with electrical failures.
4. Emergency Boat Scenarios
Three boat simulations were conducted on the boat (from the relative safety of our moored station), everyone had a go at being involved in the scenarios and observed their peers under simulated duress. The simulated scenarios were timed to determine how long it took the ‘crew and participants ‘to manage the scenarios. The good news is that everyone survived and learned from the experience – however the scenarios provided a serious reminder that going out to sea is risky, emergencies can develop very quickly and that nothing beats sound preparation and training! The scenarios were:
Boat on fire – the fire was not able to be controlled – occupants had to abandon ship.
Collision at sea – boat was sinking fast controlled – occupants had to abandon ship.
A diver pair emerges with a diving emergency – the injured diver with suspected DCI was brought on board and first aid & O2 was provided – the diver was managed until handed over to emergency services.
Last but not least a delicious lunch was shared at the Marina Café to ‘decompress’ and celebrate a good training session and outcome.
URG members who could not attend are encouraged to attend the next session – emergency training could save yours or someone else’s life someday!