What a busy time we had on Sunday morning, having got up early (or it seemed like it after putting the clocks forward the night before!) When we arrived for coffee, representatives from the RNLI had already set up live VHF radios in the Upper Deck, together with a large assortment of equipment for summoning help at sea. Judy Walker welcomed 19 members, including 5 who had not been to any previous meetings of the Yachtie Ladies. She introduced Brian Masters with his colleagues Paul and Sam from the RNLI, and also Hazel Wright, a CYC member and previously an A&E nurse, who had come to discuss First Aid. We then split into two groups: one with the RNLI and one with Hazel, before changing over. Everyone had the opportunity to use the VHF radio, speaking to the “coastguard” (Sam) to call for help. At the same time, Paul showed us various flares, EPIRBS, and many other items to help in an emergency. We discussed the merits of these, and the problems of disposing of out of date flares. We had the chance to practise throwing a throwing line on the balcony. He also inspected some of our lifejackets and showed us how to check these ourselves. Meanwhile Hazel gave us an excellent presentation on First Aid at Sea. She showed us the contents of her first aid box and many items we might find useful including: steristrips, burns gel, duoderm dressings, laxatives, and pills and potions to combat seasickness. In recent research the American Navy has shown that just one per cent of the population does not get motion sickness at all. Ten per cent rarely have a problem, and the rest of us have a chance of getting sick every time we board a boat, no matter how stable it may be! Time whizzed by and most agreed it would be useful to have further practical sessions like this again. We all appreciated that this morning was extremely useful but was no substitute for taking a recognised RYA course. Judy had circulated a survey to find out what the ladies would like in future. Many wanted to take a VHF course, and RYA first aid course, and some a Sea Survival course, so we will be making enquiries to see what can be arranged. Some have already signed up for time on the water with Ian Culley to practise MOB and boat handling. A BIG Thank You to Brian and his team, and Hazel for giving us the benefit of their experience. Both have offered to come back again to give us more practise.
– by Helen Jupp