Sea Safety Expo

Sea Safety Expo

Sea Safety Expo at RFBYC   by Bernie Kaaks


Royal Freshwater Bay Yacht Club’s second Sea Safety Expo attracted nearly 200 boating people from all over the metropolitan area, taking part in flare demonstrations, listening to expert speakers on a variety of topics, and watching a Police Helicopter team winching volunteers from the Swan River.

Dr Helga Weaving began the day with a session on first aid and medical kits for ocean voyages, based on her own experience in endurance style yacht races which included Sydney to Hobart and Fremantle to Bali races. Her practical advice about separating everyday needs from emergency treatments, to dealing with major trauma and injections, gave everyone a fresh perspective on the treatment of illness and injury at sea.

Don Punch talked about voyage planning and the importance of knowing a boat’s location, with some helpful tips on how to easily transfer GPS information to paper charts.

Yachting champion and sail maker Paul Eldrid, who co-owns General Lee with Scott Disley, winner of the recent Bali race and last season’s Siska Trophy talked about the management aspect of sailing long races, covering topics as diverse as the selection and deployment of storm sails, on-deck safety and clothing options, cooking and nutrition on racing yachts and even the importance of hygiene.  It became very clear as his talk unfolded, that General Lee’s success is the result of detailed planning, sound preparation, good communication, dedication and discipline. Every aspect of General Lee’s Fremantle to Bali campaign was put under the microscope before the race began, thus eliminating unwelcome surprises. The entire crew was in tune with the game plan so the yacht had a team which fully understood their respective responsibilities.

Matt Moore finished the theory sessions with practical demonstrations of PFD’s, EPIRB’s, and the inflation of a 10 man life raft.

Following a lunch break, two intrepid volunteers were unceremoniously dumped into the Swan River from an inflatable dinghy, along with the winch man from the Police rescue team, which had earlier the in the day been called to an emergency in Margaret River, but was able to hurry back to Jandakot and refuel in order to keep their appointment at Keanes Point.

The bright blue and white police helicopter was called to the site and within moments, appeared overhead, lowering a cable on its approach. Guided by the winch man, the volunteers were winched into the helicopter one at a time, and then whisked off for a safe landing on the lawn in front of the dinghy shed. Despite the breezy conditions, the retrieval demonstration was perfect, a great reflection on the skill levels of the WA police helicopter team based at Jandakot Airport.

Not to be outdone, the Water Police also brought their latest all-purpose patrol vessel, Cygnet V, and made it available for viewing.  The gadgetry on this boat is a real eye-opener. Large high resolution video screens give the latest information from its chart plotters, on-board monitors and engine management systems. In addition to the traditional battery of radios and mobile phone systems is a forward looking infra-red camera. There are back up systems for all features.

Given the appalling weather conditions on the day before the expo, organiser Manfred Speicher was very relieved that Sunday was mild and mainly sunny. It was a bonus for those who attended – a mixed bunch including power boat owners, cruising yachties and racing sailors.  All would have gained a great deal from their day, hopefully contributing to a safer experience when they make their dream voyage or take on their next big yacht race.




For further information, contact Bernie Kaaks – 0412 532 211

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