Over the years I have thanked Crowley Maritime for their business but now we have another reason to thank them. On January 15, 2013 one of their crews rescued a man out of the water in Tampa Bay. Their web site has the full story which shows how important training is. Many in the marine safety industry feel that training is more important than equipment and my experience supports that feeling.
The problem is often where to get trained. You can pay to attend classes or safety at sea seminars which is the easiest solution. The Red Cross and local fire departments often provide first aid courses and sometimes provide the opportunity to train with fire extinguishers. Yacht Clubs have seminars as do boat shows. Finally if you own a life raft ask if your service facility provides training, especially hands on with your own raft.
Here at Westpac we do offer training for those who are having their life rafts serviced. We start by sinking your boat (mentally at least), go through deploying the raft, boarding, life on board and finally rescue. This normally takes around two (2) hours and customers leave with a thorough understanding of how their life raft works. Sometimes we wander into the subjects of EPIRB’s, crew overboard recovery, fire extinguishers or ditch kits. The breadth is controlled by our customer and the amount of time they wish to spend.