Lifeboat navigation and radar skills work

RNLI TRAINING: Gwil Hooson-Owen, left, Jason Colley of Ramsey lifeboat crew earnestly studying in the classroom as part of a two week training programme to sharpen their navigational and radar skills

RNLI TRAINING: Gwil Hooson-Owen, left, Jason Colley of Ramsey lifeboat crew earnestly studying in the classroom as part of a two week training programme to sharpen their navigational and radar skills

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RAMSEY RNLI lifeboat crew has successfully navigated their way through a two week training course.

Almost every night, they sharpened their navigational and radar skills.

The training included an exercise at sea where they could demonstrate their proficiency.

The course was expertly taught by Peter White, who has been an RNLI Mobile Training Unit instructor for the last five years, having previously served in the Royal Navy for 26 years.

The RNLI places considerable emphasis on training and acknowledges that its crew members are volunteers. Mobile training units provide professional and specialist training with minimal disruption to work and family commitments.

As part of the course, training simulators replicated equipment on board the lifeboat. This enabled recent crew members to receive the training they require to confidently and effectively carry out the work of saving lives at sea, and allow for more experienced crew to keep their skills up to date.

Classroom training was facilitated by the Isle of Man Harbours Division who, for the duration of the course, permitted use of the Ramsey Harbour Keeper’s office.

During training, ‘students’ sat at navigation stations with simulated on-screen views, as if in the wheelhouse at sea. Real-time navigation and radar exercises were carried out using plotting and radar equipment that functioned in the same way as that on the lifeboat. In addition to replicating radar and navigation systems on the lifeboat, the training also follows the Royal Yachting Association syllabus.

Instructor, Peter White was able to change sea and weather conditions and even bring about heavy fog. Vessels appeared on the radar and were replicated in a wheelhouse view which changed according to the speed of the lifeboat.

During these classroom sessions crew members were trained to locate and identify simulated casualties. In the second week they were able to demonstrate the skills they had acquired in exercises afloat. At the end of the two weeks, competency certificates were presented.

Wayne Hargrave, lifeboat training co-ordinator for Ramsey, said: ‘The volunteer ethos is incredibly strong here at Ramsey, as indeed it is throughout the RNLI. Over the past two weeks our crew, after long days at work, have willingly given their time to do this training. They have worked extremely hard and even did their homework!’

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