To end off our BST (Basic Safety Training) week, we needed to learn about ship safety. An entire day of in-class learning about safety drills and sinking ships (among other things), was followed by a half-day of classroom training and a half-day at the pool. We all brought swimsuits and towels, and spent about an hour driving to a pool big enough to fit us and our life raft.
Once again, we split into two teams to get things done faster. My team started out in life-jackets, and learned the "proper" way to jump off a boat (practicing from the 1 meter diving board), then swam across the pool. The hardest part was taking off the lifejackets and treading water for a full minute. You know you're out of shape when that leaves you mildly breathless and with a pulse of at least 120. (Especially after the instructor told us a story about his kids treading water for 7 hours before he made them stop and eat) The last task with that group was to climb into the life raft from the water.
Here's the life raft. It's made to fit 12 people plus emergency supplies. We all found it quite comfortable, but could see it being very close quarters if you were stuck in there for more than an hour or two.
Here's Evilin in a life jacket and Kari in a Gumby suit. That was what we learned to use next...
They're not officially called Gumby suits, it's just that they resemble the claymation character "Gumby." They're actually cold water immersion survival suits. As the second group to don the suits, we had to climb into wet suits, with puddles still inside. It was not easy, but we all managed to get them on within the 2 minute time limit. The suits are made of the same material as wet suits, so they're REALLY warm, and they really help you to float.
Here's a group in a train formation, paddling with their arms. It's actually quite comfortable and easy to float!
Here we had to step off the diving board in a suit. We then had to climb into the lifeboat with a suit on... really awkward! But made more possible by working as a team and pushing/pulling each other up.
And the finale... we each took a turn flipping the lifeboat without help. It was all about balance and body weight. All in all, a fun afternoon. And once we were done, we were all treated to a chinese buffet... which included Sushi, so it was really more of a Asian buffet. Not bad, as buffets go. We all enjoyed it.
As a side note, during class Toni and I had a running joke, of reasons why we might kick someone out of a life raft while waiting to be rescued.
1) If they did a #2 in the raft (that's just gross)
2) If they chundered (Aussie for vomiting) in the raft (which tends to start a chain reaction)
3) If they burned the life raft with a flare (though we did discuss fire dance with flares as an option until we realize just how flammable the life raft was! And how hot the flares can get.)