Join Date: Feb 2004
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Yep, cannot agree strongly enough.
There is formal training, that is important. There is informal, ongoing training, that you make a part of shipboard routine and practice. And there is discussion and workshopping (usually done as fun "what if" discussions).
Only when all three are in place and part of the context is the very nifty and expensive safety gear likely to do you any good(or even get thought of, when something sufficiently serious hits the fan).
After several years of working rescues with our volunteer coast guard, and being in several entirely too REAL situations myself, it is truly astounding how many really well equiped sailors get into trouble because when they have been mentally battered about and thrown into a box where not much more than panic lives they just totally lose track of having the tools for self rescue close to hand or confidence in using them. They just want to be saved....because they have literally run out of "script" to follow.
Courses such as you describe provode additional scripts for situations most of us hope we never have to face.
I was going to write this rambling bit about the other day, where we took some new friends on board. I introduced my nearly three year old son and told them he was the boat's safety officer. I meant it. It's a good story, but I would mostly be telling it as a proud father rather than as especially pertinent to this topic....except for my point about ongoing informal training.
Lifejackets worn? Oh yeah...no one nags, pleads and guilt trips like a 2 1/2 year old to make you do the smart thing you know you should be doing anyway....