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When operating a commercial yacht such as Bella of London, the Maritime and Coastguard Association’s (MCA’a) codes of practice for small commercial vessels requires crew to have a commercial endorsement to work on board British flagged vessels when in UK waters and in International waters of more than 12 miles offshore.  This legislation protects passengers who are actively sailing or just relaxing on board and ensures a level of certification and training for the crew that look after them.

Just recently, Bella regular, Ken, completed his 5 yearly certification STCW 95 at the Warsash Maritime academy to update his Yachtmaster commercial endorsement. For customer safety the course covers a number of relevant modules as follows:

  • First Aid
  • Fire prevention and firefighting
  • Personal Safety and Social Responsibilities
  • Personal Survival Techniques
  • Proficiency in Security Awareness

The courses are challenging and aimed at stimulating real life scenarios, for instance the firefighting course has participants doing a casualty search and rescue, in a three story simulation of a ship filled with smoke.  It teaches how to search and recover casualties up and down hatches in zero visibility with breathing apparatus. 

Firefighting in the simulator complex had a ceiling heat of 100 + C in zero visibility smoke filled cabins was used as exercises to quickly find and safely extinguish fires of different sorts, be they solids, liquids, gas, fat fires or special categories.

The sea survival module used a special swimming pool with windows blacked out and had hoses recreating wave’s disrupting the participants when entering the water from a height, grouping up, righting and boarding a life raft.

The first aid course covered all the major problems that are found at sea and trained how best to deal with them.

After successfully completing the course Ken reported back “Whilst the courses were very practical to mirror real life experience there is also a lot of theory that is taught, from selecting the correct extinguisher for a specific fire, to what to look for in a patient that is suffering exposure and how to assist.  It was a very useful week, if not scary with some of the firefighting, but all do-able and gave great experience.”

The Warsash Maritime Academy is a long established merchant navy training facility near Fareham that covers the full range of courses from crew to masters of large cargo or cruise liners.

A big thank you to Ken for sharing his experience with us. 

Posted 16th March @ 10:05

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