Mark, John, Adrian, Anton and Alistair did their boat handling theory at the end of last year. After unfortunate weather and clashing calendars it's taken a while to coordinate the practical. But it was worth the wait!
The bleary eyed prospective boat handlers met on the car park at Knott End at 0800 and were soon joined by Thomas another student, the training team from Chorley BSAC with their boat Chocolate Orange and Dave from Phoenix Scuba with their boat, the imaginatively named Phoenix Diver.
A very thorough boat walkabout was conducted by Sean before Dave highlighted the differences between Chocolate Orange and Phoenix Diver. After putting on drysuits the boats were then launched in turn.
Mark, John and Alistair were with Stuart and Dave on Phoenix Diver which has a somewhat quieter four stroke engine while Adrian and Anton joined Thomas being taught by Sean and Mick on Chocolate Orange.
The morning consisted of learning how to control the boat by doing turns and figure of eights before approaching buoys and boats for mooring practice and trying not to hit them.
Lunch was taken on the sands at Fleetwood across the river from Knott End as it has easy access to the chippy and everyone could learn about approaching and leaving a shelving shore too.
After lunch things got rather more fun as more speed was introduced into the exercises. The first exercise was turning around in a confined space which is basically a three point turn in a RIB. Next we went further offshore to practice man overboard drills which means hurtling along and then quickly turning to rescue the buoy that's just been thrown overboard without running it over.
After a few more practices it was time to get the boats out of the water and head home after a debrief from Sean.
Many thanks to Sean, Mick and Stuart from Chorley BSAC as well as Dave from Phoenix Scuba for providing training and boats. A good day was had by all.