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Mastering Safety on a Sea Survival Course

6 Feb 2024
Sea survival courses prepare students with the skills and hands-on training to manage emergencies at sea. These courses are a mandated requirement for some, and others sensibly decide they want the skills and training provided on a sea survival course. Yachtsmen, crews, skippers, and power boaters of all types. 

Participants will acquire proficiency in utilizing life rafts and their contents, mastering survival techniques, understanding lifejackets, delving into the medical aspects of sea survival, and honing search and rescue techniques. Elevate your expertise to confidently navigate challenging situations, ensuring a secure and well-prepared maritime experience. 

Devin, Whiskey Soul Sailing, participated in the Sail Canada Offshore Safety at Sea course and shares his experiences with Spinlock.

"After completing my Intermediate Cruising certification and getting my first few experiences planning and doing sailing trips in the inshore waters bounded between Vancouver Island and the BC mainland - I was keen to continue through the Sail Canada course progression working towards the goal of learning about offshore sailing.

In this area, this course is a real hot ticket because it’s required to participate in the annual Victoria, BC to Maui Race and registered racers are given priority over the limited spots in the class. The course is organized and run by incredible instructors and racers with years of offshore sailing experience to draw from and no shortage of firsthand stories to share. 

The course started in a classroom and went through all kinds of valuable information before going offshore to ensure the safety of your crew and ship. We also went through best practices for lots of different emergency scenarios and practiced a few in groups.

The next segment of the course was the practical component - and it was an amazing experience getting to try on survival suits, light flares, and practice techniques for cutting away rigging in event of dismasting, among other useful things we got to try. It really does make a huge difference getting a little hands-on experience with many of these pieces of equipment that you’ll depend on in critical scenarios, but that are often impossible, illegal, or impractical to try on your own. 

Lastly, we headed to the pool to practice some safety skills and emergency protocols in the water. We were encouraged to wear our own actual foul weather gear and lifejackets so we could feel what it’s like to swim and move around in them when they’re soaked, which again was an important experience. 

I hadn’t yet invested in dedicated sailing foul weather gear and was reluctant to take my good ski/rain gear in a chlorine pool, so donned a classic yellow Canadian Tire rainsuit. The instructors let me rent an inflatable lifejacket for the course, and this really helped inform my choice to buy a 170N Spinlock lifejacket afterwards, having been really impressed with the fit, comfort, integrated deck harness, and safety features.

Climbing into a life raft in wet gear was a bit of an unanticipated difficulty, and was great to practice so you know you can do it. Turning over an inverted raft was tough too - which led me to get a self-righting one, so I’ll hopefully never have to do that while hypothetically injured or in crazy wind or waves!
Lastly, came across this hilarious swimming technique called “the crocodile” while flipping through the course book - apparently, it’s very difficult to achieve in waves!
Overall - incredible course. Can’t recommend it enough for anyone with offshore sailing aspirations! Big thanks to the organizers and would highly recommend testing your equipment, all of it, in a pool like this!"

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