In the early years of the 1970’s to the 80’s the Personal Water Craft water safety crew coined a few terms I will share with you:
1. A Moment for Safety will Save a Lifetime of Regret – ‘Brian Bendix’
2. Nobody Dies – USJSBA/IJSBA Course Marshals – ‘Brad Southworth, Ronny Kling, Steve Strickland, Willy’
These men paid attention and were not concerned about safety, they planned for it with strategy. They had much less then you do today for assets. You may not have been born in 1974, so learn to respect those who handed the baton into your lane.
The 1934 expedition is where Ang Tsering Sherpa and Pasang Painter Sherpa became mountaineers and were no longer just Porters. They became lifesavers.
Ask yourself this: How would you manage the death of your Crew while you were navigating on the water? What would you do next?
The names of the dead Sherpas are not mentioned in history like the leads and nations who funded those climbs.
The Germans did not share the details of what happened those 7 days of survival on the mountain. The Sherpa voices were private and reserved, their version reserved in the faded distance.
Many climbers died from decisions that were made before they stepped foot on the mountain. The same parallel happens in the Rescue Water Craft community. Some of this was economic, poor planning, bad weather or an incomplete team.
Likewise, Coxswains and Crew have died because their training was not secure for safety. How would you value their sacrifice?
The storm they encountered on Nanga Parbat that began on July 7, 1934 at the Silver Saddle shares with us valuable lessons of leadership, organization, training and what training produces; safety.
The vetting system of a Rescue Water Craft team is critical. The knowledge base and equipment must be reliant and the equipment ready for the field.
Many Rescue Water Craft programs have insufficient equipment and are ill prepared to succeed in 2019. Even though we began our Rescue Water Craft outreach in 1974 in the USA.
I have witnessed Rescue Water Craft programs where the Crew Members are treated as a second-class citizen. Sometimes they are referred to as ‘rescue swimmers’ but in our maritime culture they are Crew members. This is dangerous.
Why is it dangerous you may wonder? If a Rescue Water Craft Coxswain is injured, knocked off the RWC or has died, the Crew person must take their position and do so with competence.
And during the struggle they may need to recover or rescue their teammate or survivors in the water and finish the recovery to the end point of transfer.
Crew must possess the same skills and knowledge base as the Coxswain. This is a close quarter boat for persons on board, everyone is part of the stability or instability of the craft underway to some extent.
Those not in the lead may not give credit to those in the flanks.
1. Prepare an effective vetting program for all participants, ensure their physical and mental strength is adequate
2. Monitor Weather and water conditions underway
3. Prepare properly Personal Protective Equipment
4. Inspect and maintain the vessel according to the manufacturer specifications
5. Train like your life and others depend upon it
6. Assess and remedy any necessary corrections that are discovered
7. Investigate mishaps and revise training or program management immediately
8. Clearly define your area of operation, seasonally, daily or with disasters in mind. Set limits.
9. Proper budget needed to maintain a marine unit
A Rescue Water Craft is a boat. It is not a cheap excuse to rescue or a shortcut.
It is not an inexpensive boat. It is a high-performance craft that requires proper funds, professional maintenance (monthly and annual) necessary to maintain a sufficient program for each craft.
If you or your organization is not treating your RWC program like a boat marine unit, close it down immediately. Do not proceed! Get off the boat and restructure your maritime program.
That mountain is waiting for the storm to show you where your problems are and it may very well take life. At that point you cannot afford the program you should have put in place before tragedy strikes.
My friend Lee Selman sent me this book ‘Tigers of the Snow’, written by Jonathan Neale.
The perspective of culture, lifesaving and information is a must read.
You will discover how the narrative of truth can become a Long Life (Tse Tso), or lead to certain death by personal volition.
We choose. Choose this book and gain insight into training, communication, planning and strategy and why it must be purposeful:
TIGERS OF THE SNOW
While you are at it, look up the history of the Sherpas and their contributions. We honor those pioneers and preserve their history. All lifesavers are unique souls who would give their life for others. This crosses all disciplines and mediums, earth, sky or water.
Things are getting better. People are humbling themselves to address the problems they have occurred. These assessments are working. Encourage one another to continue to foster developing our Rescue Water Craft culture.
Do not remain silent when a mishap occurs, dig in, expose the problems and save the life of yourself or a teammate.
That is the answer.
Posted: August 13, 2019
Content Creator of Rescue Water Craft and Personal Water Craft boating international education standards: Shawn Alladio is the world’s foremost authority and leading subject matter expert. She cares most about her community and the culture surrounding the safety of event service providers and Rescue Water Craft operators, working hard and dedicated towards protecting their reputation, distributing safety information and continuing to train these amazing individuals to the highest standards of care.
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Use at your own risk. Please take a qualified Rescue Water Craft training course and maintain proper records and respect all the PWC, RWC, PPE, and gear OEM manufacturer warning labels and cautions.