Training is not security but responsibility of the training standards are.

Rescue Water Craft Coxswain qualifications must adhere to a strict vetting process. Even more so for Instructor Cadre.

No argument has the strength to contaminate this.

In our Rescue Water Craft community, Coxswains and Crew have killed themselves because of a lack of effective vetting. This transforms into service-related performance and execution once training is completed, the enforcement of standards begins.

How many people should be sacrificed for this to mean something else?

If a program manager or instructor permits an incompetent or marginal Coxswain or Crew to move further, they have blood on their hands.


The burden of instructing is a conscious filled with the horrors of death and intricate methods of preventing the possibilities.

We are not alone. Every action has this human weakness. When negligence is permitted and ignored so that someone is sacrificed to prove it. Those lessons are not learned, they are given as an invitation to seep into the grossest form of performance. Yes, they are preventable and should not be permitted to become a mishap at any time.

The accountability requires a strong woman or man to tell people what they need to hear and respect, abide by and enforce. It is not the dead who can defend themselves, but it is the guilt and shame of a lifetime that follows in the wake of the living.

Sir Edmund Hillary’s wife and daughter were in an aircraft crash piloted by a man named Peter Shand. Fact-checking on performance, remedial action, dismissal, certificates verification. Even Hillary's wife wrote in her journal that she was concerned of Shand's recklessness, there were warnings that everyone avoided.

When was the last time your agency verified a qualification? Never? Or only after an accident?

Peter Shand, and the four people on board the plane he piloted lost their lives. And from their death aircraft safety emerges. Is that good enough or is there something humanly preventable that could minimize that risk? Why are we reactive when we pronounce the word preventative all the time?

We talk a lot about risk management you know. It is a catch phrase of a conglomeration of warnings, but is it respected?

Leadership matters at the helm. If people are not willing to think for themselves and realize their potential is reckless, cause harm or they have a petty attitude, a leader needs to step in and enforce their charge.

Counseling, corrective measures and if all fails and the character behavior of the individual cannot soar, they must be dismissed.

Everyone wants to be something, but not everyone is willing to pay the price to get there.


Forty years later, an unexpected letter to Peter Hillary filled in some back history:

Dear Mr. Hillary

… Peter Shand's father bought him a small plane when he was still a teenager. He told me he taught himself to fly but had a few lessons at a flight school in order to obtain his pilot's license. He clocked up a considerable number of hours flying this plane.

In about 1969 Peter came to Africa. He met with three pilots where I was living and heard about a job. He was a very outgoing person but very disorganized. He wasn't able to get the job as a pilot as he didn't have the correct license so he had to sort this out which he said would need flying lessons and take about 6 months and a lot of money.

Within a month he was back with a license – he had changed his log book to show he had night flying experience and other requirements.

I flew extensively to remote airstrips with Peter and ex-Air Force pilots and the difference was profound. Other pilots carried a proper case for documents and wore a uniform – white shirt / tie / cap – Peter was disheveled, a typical bush pilot. However, that was not my main concern. All other pilots took care before takeoff, checking everything. I asked Peter many times why he never did this and he said 'they still think they're in the Air Force'. Peter was always in a hurry.

Two events led to Peter being told that his contract would not be renewed. He had a side business buying goats in remote places and flying them back on return journeys. This later led to his plane failing an inspection – the urine from the goats had damaged the rear control cables.

A more serious matter and one I had warned him about was that at remote air strips he would leave the engine running while loading passengers and freight. The inevitable happened when someone walked into the propeller killing him instantly.

When he was put on suspension, he looked for another job and was accepted by Royal Nepal Airways. The moment I heard on the BBC that a plane carrying Edmund Hillary's wife had crashed in Nepal I knew it was Peter. Years later I learnt he had not done his pre-flight checks.

Mr. Hillary, I was in a position to have stopped Peter flying on a commercial basis. This has been on my mind for over 40 years.
Please accept my apology.

I was very young at that time.



Posted: September 2, 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.

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