Today’s training session brought the base and boat crews the challenge of an exceptionally low tide and the need to launch both boats in order to practice towing and use of stretcher between the two boats.
This meant that Kev had to get both boats down to the sea in tandem, using the tractor. This kind of double launch is particular hazardous on the steep shingle ridge: it’s important to keep an eye on the front, to avoid jack-knifing the boat / tractor combination because if this happened, the rear would also jack-knife.
And that’s without the hazards associated with moving vehicles on the beach generally, and the additional problems of a low tide launch in the Pett beach area: submerged hazards, sinking sand and slippery rocks and timbers.
Oh and did we mention that on a bright, sunny Sunday in July the beach is already starting to get busy with swimmers, sunbathers, walkers and dog walkers?
Thankfully, Kev’s not only up to the challenge but also extremely skilled in manoeuvring the tractor safely.
Once safely launched, the two crews practised boat towing between both boats – it’s particularly important that the crew of the smaller Tornado practice handling and controlling the towing of a larger boat, in case they need to take this action in a rescue situation. In this instance, although the term used is ‘towing’ technically the smaller vessel is actually using a controlled ‘push’ to manoeuvre the large boat to safety.
The crews also took the opportunity to practice stretcher handling between the two boats. This particular activity is an extension of recent casualty retrieval training, as managing a casualty safely is of paramount importance:
- To prevent further injury
- To ensure the casualty is comfortable (as possible) during transfer to the ambulance.
- To ensure that crew are well practised in casualty retrieval.
There are limited photographs of the crews actually training today as they were necessarily a long way from shore (and the paddling photographer) with such a low tide!