In January of this year I enrolled in a Safety at Sea Seminar sponsored by the Storm Trysail Foundation. I was informed about this program by a fellow sailor and thought it would be a good way to increase my credentials as a charter captain. Over the last two months I have been receiving loads of articles and videos relating to this program - I am certainly getting my moneys worth! Most importantly, I have come to realize how important this information is to my safety and the safety of my customers. Although primarily designed for those who race offshore it is extremely valuable to those of us who cruise coastal waters.
Topics within the overall curriculum include weather, heavy weather sailing, fires, and most other events that can occur on board that require immediate action. There are videos on demasting, taking on water, capsizing, helicopter rescue and so much more.
Actual hands-on training will take place on Saturday April 18th at SUNY Maritime Academy and although I feel prepared thanks to the precourse materials provided only time will tell.
I will continue this blog after the program concludes on April 18th - hopefully ISAS Certified.
It has been a year since the Safety at Sea Seminar and I am just now getting a chance to continue the story of my experience at SUNY Maritime. I cannot say enough about this program. Although designed for those involved in offshore racing I highly recommend it to all sailors. I know from experience what a short sail from Montauk to Block Island can turn out to be in one is not prepared or the unpredicted storms all of a sudden become a reality. How many of you have tried to swim in foul weather gear? Do you wear your self-inflating vest? Have you ever experienced it going off in water? Then there is fighting on board fires. Ever put out a burning fuel oil fire using a CO2 extinguisher ( careful it sprays the flames and oil if not done properly).
The program goes on to cover life raft deployment, entering the liferaft and spending some time huddled together in a covered raft (now I know why to take seasick medication). Man overboard drills on a vessel, deployment of pyrotechnics, and more. What a valuable program to any boater.
I would like to see just parts of this program offered at local boat club and marinas - it would go a long way in preventing injury and loss of life. It is one thing to talk about it, another to participate in actual hands-on training.