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Restart a Heart Week 2021

Premier Marinas invited Liz Baugh, founder of Red Square Medical to run a refresher course on CPR and defibrillators for all berth holders as part of the national Restart a Heart week. This campaign is to provide enough basic information to as many people as possible, so more by-standers in a cardiac arrest situation have the confidence to “have a go” and hopefully keep someone alive until Emergency Services arrive and take over.

I have attended a number of CPR courses and every time I learn something new, partly because there is always more to learn, and partly because medical recommendations are changing. Liz Baugh, formerly a RN Medic now runs a successful marine medical training consultancy, and she is a wonderful trainer herself. She kept us engaged, amused and informed.  This event was run virtually, and one of the challenges of this format is to find ways for people to practice rather than just watch. Liz asked us all to bring a pillow, an old pillowcase and a marker pen. We had to draw a head and torso on the pillowcase and that made a life-size dummy to practice on. A prize was awarded for the best drawing –  James and Ali were the winners with this cheeky lady, who doesn’t seem to be suffering too badly from the experience.

This illustrates a serious point actually – proportionally more men receive attempted resuscitation than women, due mainly to the reluctance to get personal with a woman’s chest area even in such a dire situation. Liz told us that there is legal protection for anyone trying to save a life or administer first aid. If anyone is afraid of American-style litigation, don’t listen to the scare stories and have a  go whoever they are.

Another useful explanation was the difference between a heart attack and a cardiac arrest. One may lead to the other but not necessarily, and there are other causes of cardiac arrest.

Think of your heart as an electric bilge pump, working hard to pump seawater out of a flooding boat. A heart attack is like a lump of seaweed getting jammed in the pump, or a pipe collapsing. The pump may still work but the seaweed is significantly reducing the efficiency of the pump and it needs urgent attention. A cardiac arrest is like an electrical failure that stops the pump. No water is being pumped and very quickly the boat will sink. A heart that stops is no longer supplying oxygenated blood to the brain, and without a blood supply the brain will soon die.  CPR is like turning the pump over manually to keep the water flowing – or blood, in the case of your heart “pump”. This won’t solve the problem long term but will buy time and keep the brain alive until help arrives.

One of the best short videos of CPR is the Vinnie Jones film from the British Heart Foundation: you can watch it here.

A defibrillator can re-start a stopped heart by administering an electric shock and “bump-starting” the electric motor that is the heart. Liz also demonstrated the use of a defibrillator with a film from Red Square Medical resources.

You can access this instructional video for free by registering here

This was a great initiative from Premier Marinas supported by Red Square Medical

The back of the flyer illustrated in our header image is a quick guide to the CPR process.

Doing something is always better than doing nothing.

SMAC Cod Open Competition 2021

Dates and details have been announced for the ever-popular annual Cod Open Competition which will be held on 14th November 2021. Reserve dates are 21st and 28th if the weather is too bad on the day.

First prize is a whopping £500 PLUS entry to the Sea Angling Classic 2022 competition worth £250. There is a cash second prize and a large prize table for runners up.

Prizes will be awarded for heaviest cod, and if there aren’t enough cod caught, we weigh in heaviest whiting.

Sign in at Southsea Marina office.

Enry fee £10 per angler.

Fishing from 08:00 to 16:00

Last weigh-in 17:30

Presentation of prizes in the Marina Bar 18:00

Any questions please contact Steve Kelly at Southsea Marina (details in the poster below).

National Coastwatch (NCI) Radio Check Calls

The National Coastwatch Institute (NCI) is a voluntary organisation which operates a visual and listening watchkeeping service all along the coast. In addition to their Coastguard liaison service they also help out by offering an alternative radio check on Channel 65 between the hours of 10am and 4pm. The Solent VHF frequencies can be exceptionally busy and if you want a radio check you can be overspoken or the Coastguard can simply be too busy.  As an alternative, switch to Channel 65 and call NCI for a radio check in the same way as you would the Coastguard:

NCI, NCI, NCI this is Rebel Runner, Rebel Runner, Rebel Runner. Radio Check please, Over.”

For local VHF Channels please refer to the relevant NCI page here

Key local VHF Channels are:

11 – Queens Harbour Master (Portsmouth)

68 – Langstone Harbour Master

80 – Southsea Marina

A lot of anglers use Channel 10 for chat. Although this is an inter-ship channel it is theoretically reserved for tugs and pilots, although I don’t ever remember hearing them on this channel.

Channel 68 for Langstone Harbour Board

Local Notice to Mariners 06 of 2021

Mariners are advised that VHF Channel 68 has been allocated for the conduct of port operations in Langstone Harbour. This channel may now be used for operational communications within Langstone Harbour, typically including the co-ordination of traffic movement under pilotage, co-ordination of workboat or diving operations and initial reports to Harbour Office (for example by visiting yachts requiring access to visitor’s moorings).

A listening watch on this frequency will be kept while the Harbour Office is staffed during normal office hours and at other times as required but will not constitute a Local Port Service. It is recommended that harbour users keep a watch on VHF Channel 68 while within Port limits for any safety or operational information broadcasts made by call sign Langstone Harbour Radio.

The use of low power settings on VHF equipment when calling is recommended in order to reduce interference with other Solent harbours using this frequency (Hamble, Yarmouth and Beaulieu).

Vessels operating in the approaches to Langstone Harbour are reminded of the requirement to listen to the Southampton Port or Queen’s Harbour Master, Portsmouth working frequencies. (Across the broader eastern Solent, VTS Southampton use Ch12 to control traffic. When approaching Portsmouth and certainly north of a line between Outer Spit Buoy (OSB) and Gilkicker Point listen to Ch 11 for QHM.)

Owners, Agents, Charterers, Marinas, Yacht Clubs and Recreational Sailing Organisations should ensure that the contents of this Notice are made known to the Masters or persons in charge of their vessels or craft.

Click here for other local Langstone Harbour Board notices

How to deal with fish-related injuries

From our guest contributor, ex-RN medic and founder of Red Square Medical, Liz Baugh

A life at sea has taught me a lot. Patience, resilience, friendship, confidence, suffering, fear, exhaustion, love, humility and many other things. And a life practicing medicine at sea has taught me one huge lesson:

Prior Preparation Prevents Poor Performance!

I started out in the Royal Navy as a medic working on the warships alongside the Royal Marines. I was on my own, medically speaking. Satphones were hideously expensive and only to be used in a dire emergency. In that situation I would have to ask the Captain to turn the ship around and get within helicopter range so that we fly the casualty off. Fast forward 22 years, now I work in the commercial, cruise and leisure sector and satphones are the norm onboard vessels of all types. Advice at your fingertips at an average cost of a £1 per minute. What’s not to love? In an emergency someone needs to be on that satphone, but more importantly, someone else needs to be assessing the casualty and administering potentially life-saving first aid or treatment to them.

Let me tell you a story. Picture this: West African coast, bobbing around in the Atlantic and some of the lads decide they want to do a bit of fishing off the back end of the ship. Sounds idyllic right? In theory it probably would have been, but warships are too high to do this sensibly so a small Rib was put in the water. The fishing was underway. One of the lads got a bite, but couldn’t reel it in. Another helped drag it in and leant down to scoop up their catch. Big mistake. Huge. He screamed and pulled out a heavily bleeding arm with a very nasty bite on it. The chaps immediately applied direct pressure – the correct first aid for a bleed – and the RIB was brought back alongside. My name was being shouted loudly – never a good sign. Bag in hand I rushed up to where the boat was being brought back inboard and readied myself for action.

The issue with an actual bite as opposed to a sting is that the force can cause underlying structural damage through crushing, puncturing and deep infection in closed spaces. It’s not simply a quick clean and dress – professional medical opinion should always be sought.

Another time I was on a fishing vessel in the Red Sea and one of the crew jumped in for a swim. Those of you familiar with the Red Sea will know the speed at which a jellyfish swarm can appear. Well, he was surrounded. It was a spectacular sight although it made my legs feel funny, I have a ridiculous phobia of jellyfish. Anyway, he was stung over and over until he looked like someone had taken to him with an old-fashioned cat o’ nine tails whip. Cue hauling him out of the swarm and me yet again poised for action. Luckily it was not a species that delivered potentially life-threatening stings otherwise we would have had a real problem on our hands. Again, a professional medical opinion should be sought if in any doubt.

Marine animal stings, bites and injuries are an occupational hazard when working at sea or enjoying some leisure time out on the water. Whether you are a part time sailor, a round-the-world sailor or a stand-up paddle boarder, you are at risk of injuries caused by marine creatures. I have compiled a list of my basic top tips for dealing with these injuries and a list of additional first aid kit that every watery person should consider carrying on their vessel.

Top tip: the priorities of basic first aid always apply, so Danger, Response, Airway, Breathing, Circulation (DRABC) all need to be assessed and any life-threatening issues. These are covered on the 1-day RYA First Aid course.

Jelly fish stings: these come from the tentacles which are covered in capsules containing nematocysts that fire their nasty sting into your skin on contact. First things first: get the casualty out of the water and do your DRABC. Then remove any remaining tentacles by either using tweezers to pluck them off the skin or something like a credit card to scrape them away. Next we need to neutralise any remaining nematocysts and we do this by irrigating with seawater, NOT freshwater as this can actually cause activation of the nematocysts. Mild pain relief and ice packs will also help.

Sea urchins: this happened to me when I was a bit younger. I had gone swimming off a boat in the South of France to harvest some sea urchins from a close by rock for lunch. I’m not sure if you have ever eaten them but when you open them up there is this delicious orangey coloured substance which is the only bit you eat. Rather disturbingly these are the sex organs, but they are super yummy. Anyway, sea urchins have a nasty habit of leaving their black spiky things in your hands and feet. They are usually deeply embedded which means they are a beautiful source of infection if not dealt with. The best plan is to remove all visible spines as soon as possible then soak the affected area in hot water between 40-46 degrees Celsius or as hot as you can bear for between 60-90 minutes. This should aid with pain relief (it really did for me). The casualty may need some other form of oral pain relief and a booster tetanus vaccine may be required so they really should consult with a minor injuries unit as soon as practical.

 Fishy stings such as Weever, Catfish, Stingrays: ouch! These things have venomous spines on their backs, tails or gills that most commonly sting when they are trodden on when paddling in shallow water. It really bloody hurts so the best thing to do is soak the affected area in hot but not scalding water (below 45 degrees Celsius). Monitor the area for any signs of infection, especially if you believe that there is still some of the spike stuck in the person.

Fish bites: these can be filthy so if you are unable to get the casualty to a minor injuries unit easily, it is well worth giving the wound a really thorough clean and lightly dress it to protect from other external sources of infection. Steristrips can be used for superficial skin closure but only if you are sure you can clean the wounds properly.

My real top tip here is to wear suitable water shoes at all times, even on board when you are fishing. More info on useful kit below…

What should you carry in your onboard first aid kit for these injuries?

I love kit! A decent first aid kit that meets the needs of what you are doing is crucial to a good response, so my first recommendation is that you go for something a little more robust than the average First Aid kit you’d find in an office. But thinking specifically about the above injuries my recommendations for additional items to top up your kit would be:

  • Instant heat and cold packs
  • Bite/sting reliever gel or cream
  • Gauze swabs
  • Forceps (you could just use tweezers if you already have them)
  • 0.9% saline solution 20mls for irrigation and cleaning (like the eye wash you would find in the workplace)
  • Steristrips
  • Antiseptic cream
  • Non adherent or low adherent dressings
  • Micropore tape

I do hope that this has been helpful. If you want to practice some basic first aid skills, we run a course especially for leisure sailors that is designed to complement the 1-day RYA First Aid course. It covers these sorts of injuries and plenty of practical hints and tips for enjoying time on the water.

Prior Preparation Prevents Poor Performance!


Liz Baugh
Lead Medical Consultant

Red Square Medical


Bass Fishing Limits 2021

The government has rolled over the 2020 bass rules into 2021 as we await the results of continued discussions over fisheries policies and EU trading rules.

Briefly, rules are different for North Atlantic (that’s us) and South Atlantic. In our waters, we can retain up to two bass per angler per day between 1st March and 30th November. The MLS of 42cm still applies. Outside these dates it is Catch and Release only.

This may change in April, so watch out for announcements in the press and updates here.

Information from the Southern IFCA here:


Red Diesel to remain available for pleasure boats

The Government announced in the March 2021 Budget that recreational boaters can continue to use red diesel beyond April 2022.

Last year, HM Treasury ran a Consultation to review the impact of a future requirement for leisure boaters to use white diesel from April 2022 alongside commercial vessels who would continue to use red diesel. This would obviously be impractical and I’m relieved to see common sense has prevailed and the present system of a proportional tax on red diesel will continue.

Southsea Coastal Scheme

The Southsea Coastal Scheme has now started and will be of interest to anyone passing on or by the seafront whether on land or sea. The existing sea defences which prevent Portsmouth from flooding are now very old and need to be brought up to date. There has been extensive planning of this work to ensure it enhances the visitor experience as well as protecting the island. It will eventually provide improved beach access but the work, costing over £100 million will inevitably cause some disruption.

There is an excellent and very informative website here – have a look at the 3D visualisations on the map too. There will be large barges, dredgers and cranes moving close to the shore, and I expect there will be a lot of sediment distubed in the construction process which may affect fishing. Best advice is: proceed with caution in the area and it’s probably best to avoid the immediate area for fishing if there are boat movements visible.

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