Organised by Dart Sailability’s Safety Officer, Tim Trent, Richard Eggleton at Dart RNLI & Dave Scotson.
Dart Sailability took part in joint training exercise today (Sunday 4th June) involving Dart RNLI and National Coast Watch Froward Point.
The exercise was organised by Dart Sailability’s Safety Officer, Tim Trent liaising with Richard Eggleton at Dart RNLI and Dave Scotson, volunteer watch keeper at NCI - Froward Point
Dart Sailability’s vessel Farries Flyer, designed and built to accommodate severely disabled sailors, was used for the operation with Tim Trent at the Helm. The vessel, based on an aluminium landing craft design, has specially designed dual control, side loading and a hydraulic ramp at the front to provide access. The Farries Flyer can accommodate up to 12 sailors including four in wheelchairs.
Chris Tracey from Dart Lifeboat joined the crew of seven plus skipper aboard the Farries Flyer, which included three disabled sailors, two of which were wheelchair users. Chris conducted the operation aboard the Farries Flyer.
The purpose of the exercise was to simulate a Man over Board (MoB) scenario using dummies known as a “Dead Fred” dropped into the water from the Farries Flyer to simulate a MoB. After two “Dead Fred’s” were dropped into water the Farries Flyer stooped engines to simulate engine failure and further complicate the training exercise. A simulated May Day call was made advising of two disabled MoBs and an engine failure on the Farries Flyer.
The Froward Point watch keepers were, as expected, well within their capabilities spotting and managing the position of the two MoBs and the pseudo stricken vessel and reporting the respective positions to the Dart lifeboat crew.
Dart RNLI, exuded quiet competence. Once they had rescued the two Dead Fred’s the Class D lifeboat came alongside the Farries Flyer and explained with precision the rescue plan, how they were going to tow, and what was required of the Skipper of the Farries Flyer.
A debrief with the Dart Lifeboat crew was an excellent and unexpected bonus. Dart Sailability is gratified to Dart RNLI for taking the extra time and trouble to come aboard to learn about the considerations required in retrieving a disabled person from the water. In return, Dart Sailability learned a lot about the procedures of Dart RNLI.
The exercise was a great success and all everyone involved learned a great deal. Dart Sailabilty is hoping to build upon the relationship with Dart RNLI and Froward Point to further improve safety and awareness for disabled sailors on the River Dart.