Volvo Ocean Race Sea Survival Training 2017
Ocean Safety have just completed the Sea Survival training for all the crews and onboard reporters (OBR) taking part in this year’s Volvo Ocean Race. The race organisers have worked with Ocean Safety for the last 5 races and the training has been developed around the World Sailing Appendix G training syllabus to ensure the crews all have an understanding of survival skills and this is coupled with only using the equipment that has been supplied by Ocean Safety to the fleet of VOR65’s. The advanced Sea Survival techniques were explained and taught at the South Shields Maritime College where the training team was able to take advantage of the excellent environmental swimming pool and fire fighting facilities the college is able to provide.
The time spent in the pool gave the crews the opportunity to see, for the first time, the new Ocean SOLAS Ultralite liferaft which has been developed specifically for this event and practice various ‘in water’ exercises. The fire fighting training allowed the teams to understand the need for speed when tackling a fire on board and most were surprised at the small amount of time each fire extinguisher lasted (a 2kg dry powder extinguisher lasts approx. 10 seconds!!)
Ocean Safety’s Training Manager, Steve Bockett, commented, “The facilities and staff at the college in South Shields are excellent. We are able to develop and run a course to give the sailors the best opportunity to understand and use the equipment we provide. The support from the team at the college allows us to use their first class facilities including full environmental pool, to put this learning into practical sessions. We very much appreciate all their help and commitment to this very important part of the crew training”.
Giving the teams and the OBR’s the chance to understand and handle the safety equipment on board is critical to their learning and understanding. Alistair Hackett, Ocean Safety’s General Manager continued “We hope that the techniques learnt and the equipment demonstrated isn’t used, however the teams must plan for all possible eventualities. Although we have trained some of the sailors before they are all sailing with different teams around them. The aim is to get them thinking about the kit they have seen, develop their own plans and actions for different scenarios and ensure they all know what to do. Liferafts have been deployed twice in the last 5 Volvo Ocean Races and so the crews must be prepared for this eventuality.”
Options for Man overboard, search patterns and abandonment were all discussed as well as swimming techniques and use of the Jonbuoy Recovery Module were practised in the pool session.
Ocean Safety will continue to support the Volvo Ocean Race around the world including carrying out full service and inspections on the equipment in Auckland when the yachts are half way around.