A friend and I had a chat about why we blog and for me, it’s being able to share interesting, exciting and different parts of my life with friends, family and strangers. So with that in mind, here is a little piece on Saturday’s gentle reminder.
We had the pleasure of hosting the Reach for a Dream kids on Saturday morning at our station at the V&A Waterfront where we treated them to a ride on the boat and some examples of our rescue techniques like high speed bail offs and swimmer recovery onto the waverider. It was extremely heart warming to see the boys loving every minute of it. We then moved the boat around to our Boat Show mooring so the public could tour our rescue vessel and learn more about the NSRI. The day was going pretty well and we were chilling on the boat and catching up as a crew together with work and life when we got the call.
Now we’ve dealt with capsized vessels before but on a very small scale, meaning around 5 people in the water, which is still crazy to deal with but when you are confronted with a tourist boat capsized and x (well over the double digits) number of casualties in the water, an upturned boat and x amount of casualties stuck inside, it becomes a lot more complicated. Obviously I can’t go into detail about what happened, how we got x number of casualties out and the any other important information as an investigation is in progress but I can share a few things I’ve learned.
What I can say:
- Saturday re-affirmed why I’m at NSRI and why I’m still passionate about being a volunteer crew.
- It showed that training and mock exercises with other stations pay off when the time comes.
- It showed that humans have a strong will to live e.g. people were trapped in a tiny air pocket for 3 hours in bitterly cold water and quite rubbish conditions. They held on to the hope that they knew their rescuers were right outside, by knocking on the hull to communicate with them.
- It showed how well people can work together, with one goal in mind.
- You go through many emotions during a rescue: happiness, frustration, worry and many more but knowing that you’re trained to deal with these situations make it much easier to cope, react and to execute your required task or role.
- The community support was amazing. Stepping onto the shore after we transferred the last casualty over to the paramedics, I walked onto the quayside and immediately had a medic / disaster management volunteer hand me a blanket. After meeting up with 2 of our crewmen, they showed me to the coffee stand set up by a community group. It was amazing to see everything come into place and work so well together and we were all beyond grateful to all the volunteers who were there. Something as simple as a cup of coffee and a biscuit waiting for you after a callout can make a difference.
- After a full 13 hours on the water, the big boat returned at 22:30 where trainees arrived to come help the crew who had been on the capsize callout, plus help out with the small boat callout that had also happened. The boat was cleaned, washed and ready for the next call.
- The support and thank you messages from public makes a difference to the volunteers who have to be at the base at 06:00 the following day.
There is a lot more but these have stuck with me the most. Thought I’d share
Life is short. Live it fully, follow your passion, pursue your dreams, treat everyone the way you want to be treated, love unconditionally, be grateful for what you have, laugh, smile and eat cupcakes.