August 2017, a friendship was made between the Maritime Skills Academy and Blind Sailing, when they kindly supported our team kits for the Blind Worlds. In January of this year, some of the winning team were invited to attend a four day course where they would learn key survival techniques that would aid and support Blind Sailing in terms of safety.
The team arrived in Dover early on Thursday evening – they had no idea what lay before them.
The days were packed with learning, but also testing each members own self belief and team spirit. The first few days were spent learning a mix of sea survival – both on land and in the pool. It is true to say that you may think you understand what to do in an emergency situation but when the pressure is on, adrenaline kicks in and everyone must pull together as a team. One minute, you are in a regular swimming pool and the next, it changes to a dark storm with thunder and lightening and heavy cold rain. The team had to pull together to ensure everyone was rescued in the life raft. The team also had the chance to jump from a platform at 3meters high into the water whilst wearing lifejacket. They also experienced what to do in the case of an upturned boat.
The final two days were spent living up to the childhood dreams of many of the team – pretending to be firefighters. Wearing protective clothing and with the assistance of a real fire engine, they learnt how to put out all types of fire – key to survival when onboard a vessel. This was all topped off by a first aid course. All this training have prepared the team to deal with emergencies with a calm head if it was ever needed (and we hope we never will need it!)
It is thanks to Dieter Jaenicke, chairman and founder of the Maritime Skills Academy, who gave this fantastic opportunity under trainer Darryl Cooper and his team. We are truly thankful for this once in a life time opportunity and the wonderful training that we have received.