Sailing is an adventure that connects us with our fellow Trekrs and with some of the most powerful elements of nature. While the water, wind and sunshine can make for an exhilarating experience, we must always keep safety top of mind.
Since the maritime industry is global, nearly forty years ago, the International Maritime Organization met to establish minimum standards for training and certification that all member countries must adhere to. 158 countries commit to these standards, known as International Convention on Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping for Seafarers, or STCW for short.
What does that mean for Trekr Adventures and our customers? It means that a group of us spent a week at the Maritime Professional Training School in Fort Lauderdale with a diverse group of folks to meet the requirements set forth in STCW. Over the course of the week, we had classes, exams and practical training in a number of areas.
First up, we studied personal survival techniques in the case of an emergency on board a vessel. Then we hit the pool to put our classroom lessons to the test. We practiced jumping off of a sinking boat, towing others to safety, deploying a life raft, activating emergency beacons and how to survive at sea until rescued.
Then we learned about personal safety and social responsibility in the maritime industry. A big emphasis was on protecting the environment from the result of commercial maritime activities.
Next up, we spent a day getting trained in CPR and First Aid. The training is about recognizing the signs of a medical event and taking initial steps to improve the chances of survival of the victim until medical professionals can step in to provide a higher level of care.
Finally, we were trained in basic firefighting. This was the coolest, yet potentially most dangerous part of the week. An entire day was spent learning about different kinds of fires, how they start, how they spread and the different approaches for controlling them and extinguishing them.
On the second day of basic firefighting training, we went to a training facility for local firefighters in the Fort Lauderdale area. After some demonstrations, we suited up in full “bunker gear”. That includes every piece of gear that firemen wear, including a mask and air tank. We practiced using a water hose and then undertook several scenarios that firefighters encounter. That included fighting overdraft, boundary cooling, search and rescue, grease fires and more.
It was a busy week with lots of material covered and tests to pass. The instructors were true professionals with years of experience to impart to an eager audience. We also came away with a newfound understanding of and respect for the work done by first responders.
One of the highlights of the week was making new friends. Whether they were new to the yachting industry or have been involved for a long time, it was great to connect with other like-minded folks and share in the experiences of the week.
Team Trekr came away from the experience with a sense of purpose. While we remain committed to our core mission of connecting like-minded people with amazing travel experiences, we are better prepared to do that knowing that a high level of service includes being prepared to keep our customers safe in any situation.