Arrived and settled in at the accommodation in Cowes, Isle of Wight. I am here to complete my STCW 95 course with Flyingfish in order to get the qualifications to work on sailing/motor yachts.
There is a diverse team of people attending the course. I am loving listening to the elaborate stories from those who already have experience living at Sea...Antarctic/Arctic Adventurers, Cruise Ship Crew, Ship deliverers.
So far we have completed our Basic Fire Fighting which involved training with Firefighters. We learnt the theory behind what causes most fires and how to respond in the appropriate way, using the correct emergency equipment - this was important as, if, for example, the wrong fire extinguisher was used on the wrong 'type' of fire, the fire conditions could dramatically change and could cause the fire to instantly become explosive. Fully kitted up with gas masks and oxygen tanks, on what was a very very hot day, we entered in teams into burning metal 'houses'.
Sea survival was next...and owwwh did the guy with the fire hose enjoy shooting cold water at us. He said he was "trying to make it as realistic as possible." Floating in life jackets and drowning in boiler suits basically summaries this section on the course. We finished the day with a few belly flops off the diving board.
First Aid was instructed by Andy, a paramedic from St Johns Ambulance. He rightly told us how to make sure you approach a situation/emergency in a way that you cannot be berated for anything - in other words avoid being sued or discriminated by the patient. Its always very eye opening and interesting to listen to past experiences from those who work for the emergency services.
Richard, the firefighter, told us that a cat stuck up a tree should be left for 10 hours before calling the fire services.. if it hasnt come down by then, one of the team takes the 'old lady' inside for a cupper whilst the rest of the team blast it out of the tree with the firing hose...apparently that does the trick!
Those of us who stayed after Basic Training completed our Power Boat II qualification. It was like learning to drive a car in the sense that you don't start learning until you have passed. We practised our boat handeling, your choice of manover depended on the direction of the elements. It was always much easier to go against the Wind and Tide where possible as this gave you more time to adjust the angle of the engine. It was choppy but a good laugh to do the high speed section battling the waves.
VHF Radio and Radar were both intense days. Radar was quiet a in-depth subject. There were other sections of the course we went over, such as boat maintanence, how a boat is made, GPR and life on a Superyacht.
It was a great course and one I would highly recommend. There were many hilarious evenings BBQing on the beach, nights in the local bars...our local pub being The Anchor and delicious meals with the 'team'.
Four days until Antibes...I've got some serious packing to do!