I have received a few questions by email about the course so have provided a generic answer here.
The course is on day 0900 to 1700 and run from our Southampton Centre (Kemps Quay Marina).
Unlike most other training courses that teach you how to avoid getting into trouble this courses assumes it as all gone wrong and you will have to abandon the boat or have ended up in the water for whatever reason.
As you can imagine a fair amount of time is spent looking at life rafts, how to inflate, climb in, recover from a capsize etc.
Another major area of the course is lifejackets. A lot of the questions that come up on this forum regarding the value of spray hoods, crotch straps etc are not only answered but also demonstrated. This section is eye opening even for experienced boat owners and I am afraid to say highlights deficiencies in many people personal life jackets.
Included in the pool session is a section on personal survival techniques (keeping warm in the water, swimming in lifejackets etc)
There are a number of other areas covered, which include hypothermia, cold-water shock, secondary drowning, distress signalling and preparation for going to see.
The course commences in one of our classrooms. We spend a couple of hours in the middle of the day in the pool and then return to the centre for a little more classroom work followed by a practical flare session. Every student over 18 has the chance to set of a distress flare.
Although classroom based there is no need for any written work. Included in the course fee is the RYA Sea Survival Course Notes.
For the pool session we can provide you with a life jacket or you can bring you own. For a lot of people seeing their own jacket fully inflated and swimming etc in it is valuable. (We can show you to inflate most brands without having to purchase a re arming kit)
You will need to bring a set of foul weather gear/oilskins or dry suit for the pool session.
Certification is also included. While most students are leisure users, the certificate is required to commercially endorse RYA Certificates of Competence. For the sailors among you it also forms half of the 2 day ISAF Course (required for offshore events such as the Fastnet).
So who is it aimed at? Well basically any one that goes to sea. To be completely honest, about half of our students are from the power fraternity and about half yacht sailors. If you only operate inshore and donít carry a life raft then should be aware that life rafts are part of the course. This course is aimed at boaters- where falling overboard is not part of the sport i.e. its for yacht sailors and RIB drivers etc as opposed to dinghy sailors, water skiers and PWC riders etc. While we have had some PWC riders on the course who have all said they enjoyed and benefited from it I donít target them as customers (as not all sections are relevant for them).
I can assure you that it is a fun and informative day and even the old hands who begrudgingly come along as their employer has sent them concede it is a good course and end up recommending it to others.
It is aimed at all levels and we don not have a minimum age. The course is however pitched at an adult level and parents should recognise that the theme is survival (how to avoid dying at sea). Realistically this would put the age at roughly teenagers ok, others probably a bit young. We leave this decision however to parents as every child is different and you know your kids maturity better than we do.
If anyone else has any questions post them here and I will do my best to answer.