Sea Safety, Sea Survival and Basic First Aid

This weekend we spent 3 days from 9-6 at Hamble School of Yachting, completing what we consider to be essential courses for the ARC. Our small class of 4 were all ARC entrants which enabled us to have relevant discussions about what we may encounter. One of them, Peter, took the photo. below:

A Flare Which Worked!

They were the most productive 3 days we have spent in a long time and we picked up facts which were not only the opposite of what we believed we should do but which will remain embedded in our brains for good! Some of the photos were a little gory but the practical experience of letting off flares, cutting through rigging and using fire extinguishers was very useful. Using the device for getting a man-overboard back on deck horizontal was interesting too as with a 6 block and pulley I could easily lift someone several stones heavier than me without needing a winch. We will definitely be making up one of those and purchasing the sling for getting the casualty into.

The pool session was a real eye-opener and very tiring. I actually liked being in the raft but it was in a flat calm pool and we were only inside for a few minutes. We learnt to right an upturned raft and the drill for surviving inside it in the hope we will never need to.

A few of the main points:
Flares – always have flares from different batches as the first 6 we let off all failed. Perhaps swop half your batch with a friend so you both have different batches. Advised not to look at the burning flare as your vision may be damaged.
Powder Fire Extinguishers make a real mess, so a foam one would be cleaner. Also having a CO2 one is yet another option depending on the type of fire.
Crotch straps – absolutely vital. The lifejackets supplied for the pool session rode up constantly, throughout the swimming exercises we were pulling them down so we could breathe. Nightmare.
It is impossible to get into a liferaft on your own. Even the stongest, fittest man had to be shoved by his behind to get in and then struggled to pull the rest in over the inflated chambers. Again the lifejackets got in the way. Hauling people up with the lifejacket straps again pulled it up over their heads, so crotch straps are vital.
Fish and Turtles – unless you have plenty of water, do not eat flesh as it takes too much water to digest it. Stick to cereals and sugars.
First Aid – most injuries and ailments needed hospital care afterwards, so prevention has to be paramount as there won’t be any hospitals for some time.
Bodies – on that subject only a Dr or paramedic can certify someone is dead so you can’t throw someone out of the raft if you think they are dead. Have to wait until it becomes obvious (ie the smell).
CPR has changed again since I last did my First Aid course and the 2 rescue breaths followed by 15 chest compressions and so on has gone. Now go straight into 30 compressions at 100 per minute, followed by 2 breaths.

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