Where is Lossiemouth you may well ask and the answer is three and a quarter hours from Perth. Up the A9 and turn right at Aviemore and keep right on until you reach the sea or to be precise the Moray Firth.
Today’s trip was all about training and practicing some of those drills we talk about a lot but never quite seem to get around to doing. Indeed why should we as they take up valuable diving time! However having embarked on the journey of being an instructor I thought it pertinent to be sure that my skills were up to date and to take the opportunity to give them a polish before trying to impart them to new trainees or other club instructors and so it was that I joined an SDC run by the BSAC North Scotland Region to get put through the my paces on a diver rescue course and hopefully come away with the BSAC Lifesaver Award.
Firstly I have to say that Lossiemouth is a long way north, I have driven to Ullapool as quickly but as it is a part of the country I have not visited since my school days the scenery was intoxicating, literally with all the now familiar distilleries passing by as if on an honor roll. I arrived at Lossiemouth a little late, due in part to the terrible weather and the amount of surface water on the roads and tentatively peaking over the marina sea wall I was greeted by large dirty brown waves, whose viscous curling lips dashed against the concrete, thundering spray across the car park. This is going to be interesting, though I, considering the subject of today’s course.
Venturing out into the open sea was not on and having gained permission from the harbor master we had to resort to using parts of the marina itself for our in-water practical sessions. These provided a refresher on BLS, O2 administration, snorkel rescues, victim recovery using ropes and buoyant aids, in water rescue breath during snorkel rescue and then again in full scuba equipment before putting it all together and including a CBL.
Was it worth while, an emphatic yes it was. Why ? Because while we think we know what we are doing it is only with practice that we can get it right under stress. For me several areas for improvement were identified and I’ll be practicing my basic skills with renewed enthusiasm. What was interesting in reflection was that what we do by instinct is different from what we do when remembering our training. The difference is a question of how often we practice.
If diving safety disciples can be considered in three parts, preventing accidents happening, secondly, reacting to events and rescuing divers when an accident has or is about to happen and then finally managing the situation to achieve the best possible outcome, this course covered the second element.
What did I take away ? Unfortunately rather too many things to admit to ! I will share the pain that not having prepared the O2 kit prior to an incident occurring proved to be and that for the tow and blow exercises I was lamentably far too unfit for comfort !
Oh the diving ! Yes, no well almost !