Sunday, February 28, 2010

Safety at sea

I attended the Safety at Sea seminar that was held in Seattle over the weekend of February 27th and 28th.  The seminar is held every two years, timed to coincide with the years the Vic-Maui race is held.  The seminar is a requirement for racers who want to race in offshore category races.  Its packed full of information and there were a number of cruisers who attended as well.  There were 110 people on the first day and roughly 85 for the second.

The first day's curriculum was:

  • Introduction.  Discussion of accidents by type on the water and types of accidents
  • Hypothermia, sea sickness and injury prevention
  • Man overboard and development of the life sling
  • Weather essentials
  • Storm sails (by Carol Hasse)
  • Damage control and jury rigging (by Brian Toss)
  • A coast guard helicopter demonstration of a rescue.  A real helicopter, fake victim, real rescue swimmer jumping off the helicopter for the rescue
  • Search and rescue, life rafts
  • A flare demo.  SOLAS flares rock, the normal recreational flares don't
  • Lifejackets, harnesses, tethers
  • Giving assistance to other craft
  • Marine communications
  • Care and maintenance of safety gear
All of the speakers were very knowledgeable and could have spoken on their topics for much longer than the time they were allotted.  It was an interesting day.

The second day included a pool session where you practiced getting into a life raft and other fun stuff all with full foul weather gear on and your life jacket.  Unfortunately I was only an observer during this session as it was full, so I didn't earn my ISAF certification for the session.  No offshore racing for me this year!  Offshore cruising is allowed :-)

The second day sessions had four streams, with three or four sessions happening at once (depending on the overlap with the pool sessions.)  Some of the sessions were duplicated so you could make sure you could see one where others were only held once - you had to make choices for what you saw.  The sessions I saw were:

  • Sail maintenance and repair, Carol Hasse
  • When a storm strokes a fleet: learning lessons, Dr Paul Miller
  • Cruisers round table
  • Installation and tuning tips, Brian Toss
  • Fire extinguisher demo
  • Pool observer
It was a pretty worthwhile weekend, lots of good information was passed along and I have many notes and links to follow up on to explore the topics and related material in more detail

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