Some seafaring folk did not let a raging blizzard and 30 centimetres of snow prevent them holding their personal offshore safety course in Charlottetown over the weekend.
WaveSkills Sailing School on P.E.I. and Sea Survival of Halifax put on the two-day course with the goal to teach people what to do if they encounter problems while at sea.
The first day was in the classroom and the second day moved to the pool at the Charlottetown Hotel, where the approximate dozen participants received practical training using a rubber life raft and lifejackets.
Participants came from across the region and all had inshore and offshore sailing experience. The course prepared them for the challenges that can exist on the open water.
“People are being prepared to deal with unforeseen circumstances in the offshore environment … increasingly more people are going into the offshore environment for recreational purposes and they don’t have the benefit of professional offshore safety training,” said Eric Hill, Sail Canada and International Sailing Federation (ISAF), accredited sea survival instructor.
He said the main aspect of the training is the skills portion which included the manipulation and use of pyrotechnics as well as the inflation of a life raft and life jacket drills in the swimming pool.
The training was endorsed by Sail Canada “and leads to the award of an ISAF personal offshore safety certificate of competence and is valid for five years of offshore racing.”
“Part of this training is physically demanding and requires the ability to swim,” Hill explained.
“Participants are required to enter the water and swim with and without lifejackets, inflate, right and board life rafts and assist other participants in the water.”
The training also covered principles of survival, rough and severe weather strategies, abandoning ship procedures, pyrotechnics, search-and-rescue techniques, emergency communications and management of injury and illness, Hill said.