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RNLI Serious Fun DVD

Many years ago I was asked to help make a video for the RNLI as part of their Serious Fun water sport safety DVD.  At the time I had a 23 foot Bayliner Trophy called Salar. I managed to find an old copy, here’s the Sea Angling chapter – click to play.


I think it is shocking that lifejackets are still sold without crotch straps and spray hoods. These are absolutely essential and if yours does not have these, then I strongly advise fitting them. If you need any evidence have a look at the following video, it is proof enough for me.

Drowning Doesn’t Look Like Drowning

Instinctive Drowning Response has been highlighted in a number of forums recently and it is definitely something we should all be aware of. It is covered more comprehensively in the US Coastguard publication “On Scene” Autumn 2006 issue. See Page 14.

Here is a report from a real helicopter rescue:

“We arrived on scene and all five of them were in the water; some clinging to debris, some not. As we hovered above the scene, two of the victims appeared to be looking up at us, treading water. I hurriedly changed into my wetsuit when I heard the pilot say, “They don’t look like they are in any immediate danger. They can wait for the boat.” I said, “No Sir, they look like they are drowning! “

Characteristics of the Instinctive Drowning Response:

  1. Except in rare circumstances, drowning people are physiologically unable to call out for help. The respiratory system was designed for breathing. Speech is the secondary, or overlaid, function. Breathing must be fulfilled, before speech occurs.
  2. Drowning people’s mouths alternately sink below and reappear above the surface of the water. The mouths of drowning people are not above the surface of the water long enough for them to exhale, inhale, and call out for help. When the drowning people’s mouths are above the surface, they exhale and inhale quickly as their mouths start to sink below the surface of the water.
  3. Drowning people cannot wave for help. Nature instinctively forces them to extend their arms laterally and press down on the water’s surface. Pressing down on the surface of the water, permits drowning people to leverage their bodies so they can lift their mouths out of the water to breathe.
  4. Throughout the Instinctive Drowning Response, drowning people cannot voluntarily control their arm movements. Physiologically, drowning people who are struggling on the surface of the water cannot stop drowning and perform voluntary movements such as waving for help, moving toward a rescuer, or reaching out for a piece of rescue equipment.
  5. From beginning to end of the Instinctive Drowning Response people’s bodies remain upright in the water, with no evidence of a supporting kick. Unless rescued by a trained lifeguard, these drowning people can only struggle on the surface of the water from 20 to 60 seconds before submersion occurs.

Emergency Sunburn Treatment

If you are far out in the Channel suffering from a touch of sunburn and you have no sunburn lotion, there are alternatives. Most greasy substances will provide the protection the skin needs to help it to start the healing process. If you have some petroleum jelly in the toolbox you used for the battery connections, you can use it on the sunburned area.  Failing that, have a look in the lunchbox. Mayonnaise will work too. It might be worth nicking a sachet or two from the pub and keeping them in the first aid box.

Weever Stings

Weevers are the only fish commonly caught in UK waters that have stinging spines. They frequent shallow, sandy bottoms and are often caught by anglers targeting flatfish. A sting is very painful, but not life threatening unless there are other complications. One way to prevent the poison spreading and causing increased pain is to apply the hottest water the patient can stand on the place of the sting. This causes the poison to gel and prevents it from spreading within the body. Beach Life Guards carry thermos flasks of hot water for this purpose.