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Safety demonstration day for the ARC+ Crews

Following a fun night recreating the disco decade at the 1970’s Costume Party last night, attention turned today for ARC+ participants to focus on the serious safety aspects of the ocean crossing ahead. Safety at sea has been at the heart of the ARC since it’s creation and the Thursday morning before departure is dedicated to showcasing some of the important rescue items and practices that it is hoped of course will not be needed on the voyage.

The day kicked off with a flare demonstration from Hamble School of Yachting’s Senior Instructor Roger Seymour who leads the ARC+ Safety Inspection team in Las Palmas, assisted by his fellow inspectors and members of the yellow shirt team. Participants were shown how to set off a flare, were talked through the process and given important tips for firing flares in the event of an emergency at sea. As a participant remarked watching on from the eastern wall of Las Palmas Marina, ‘We hope we never need to use them but it’s so helpful to see someone talk through how they work.

For employing the use of flares, Roger explained that “It is recommended that you familiarise yourself with the instructions before needing them in an emergency situation.” However reading through the instructions can only explain so much and for over a hundred participants watching the safety team setting them off, the demonstration certainly brings the experience to life in a way the instructions don’t quite manage.

Following the flare talk crews were treated to a live demonstration of a helicopter rescue at sea from Salvamento Maritimo Air-Sea Search and Rescue with the help of Helia2 who kindly volunteered their boat for the rescue. Many more spectators from across the marina joined participants on the wall to watch the replicated rescue unfold. The kids club also joined in watching at a safe distance from the water in RIBs.

It was spectacular to see the helicopter rescue team in action and experiencing the noise and downdraft brought home how scary it could be in an emergency. As one of the crew on Hermia II summarised, ‘It was good, very cool and makes you realize the complexity and skill of the helicopter crew and this was in flat conditions imagine with the swell and rough seas.’

Annie from on board Maroro remarked, ‘That was so exciting, it made the hairs on my arms stand up.’

After the helicopter and crew had departed, the team moved to the swimming pool at Club Varadero in the marina to round off the morning of safety demonstrations with a liferaft launch. Participants experienced first-hand how to launch a liferaft at sea and adults and kids jumped in to practice basic sea survival techniques. Everyone had the opportunity to get in the pool and experience getting into and out of a life raft and swimming in a ‘crocodile’ formation in life jackets.


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