“What We Learned!”
1. Our new PFDs when tightly fitted work better than our old ones did.
2. You don’t swim with a PFD on, you scull: keep your arms closer to your body.
3. Our emergency kits are good, but the small ones are all we need for on the water.
4. Our flashlights need to be checked for batteries.
5. Our horns are great: 3 blasts, 3 seconds each is the International Code for “I need help.”
6. Our whistles can be heard further away than voices.
7. We don’t need to take a ladder on the boat because without practice in summer waters, we most likely all go over should we try to use it.
8. We NEED to know the number on the boat at EACH practice – some teams don’t.
9. If we did get totally swamped or dumped and are forced to LEAVE the boat, we must GET OUT OF ITS WAY and then RETURN to it and account for all.
10. There will be no time to think or plan in the confusion, shock, darkness at the time, so plan now and you will know what to do. (See our Team Manual under safety for more.)
11. Never try to rescue anyone in the water unless ABSOLUTELY NECESSARY.
12. If a single woman falls over, call her to the boat.
13. If need be, throw out a rope with a PFD attached. Ropes are in the safety kits.
14. Get her to scull to the middle of the boat and tow her to shore, a wharf, a dyke, whatever is closest. She can get into the boat more safely there.
15. In the rare event that she is overboard and drifts away from the boat, we move the boat towards her.
16. We practiced approaching a person feet first, keeping two body lengths away, sticking one knee up ready to kick, then backing up: talk to her, try to calm her down. Get her to scull towards you as you back up towards the boat. Stay apart from her so she won’t try to use you as an extra floatation device. THIS SHOULD ONLY BE ATTEMPTED BY ONE OR TWO VERY STRONG SWIMMERS.
17. It is possible that a strong swimmer or two could tow an unconscious woman to the boat or to shore or wharf and get her on her side once there.
Our two non-swimmers attending were brave and were right out there with the rest of us. They even had a little race afterwards. We all had fun and I think everyone learned at least one new thing.
Maria Hindmarch and Jo-ann Hilton