Location: West End, Tortola

It’s hard to believe the 2nd session is over already. What an amazing group to be a part of and we have been very lucky to be their instructors. Let us take you through a little story about the end of their rescue course.

For those who don’t know, the rescue program culminates with what we call rescue scenarios, where the whole group works as a team to deal with a complicated staged situation. To paint a picture, we had a group of divemaster trainees come to the surface and scream for help 30ft off the bow, while the shipmates were just waking up at 6:45 am. The shock on their faces at this point was highly entertaining. Using all their training the group immediately mobilized and began putting their “Stop, Think, Act” rescue plan into place. Nelson was the first to realize a situation was developing and he immediately began calling to the other shipmates to wake up and prepare for rescue.

Megan, Nelson & Ben Chipman sprung to action and were our first responders and rescue ready, meaning that they donned fins, masks, and snorkels and went to help our panicked dive masters. Whilst this was going on, Alina, started taking important notes and information that could be passed onto Emergency services if necessary. While the 3 rescuers calmed down our panicked divers, they began asking them important questions and soon discovered that they were missing two dive buddies underwater. This mobilized Genevieve, Ben, Sarah and Phil who all expertly assembled their diving gear with great accuracy and speed, ready to enter the water to search for the missing divers. Ben M was also in the water helping calm down panicked divers and help remove their equipment safety and organize the stern of the catamaran.

The rescue teams then began checking for breathing and responsiveness for the divers after they were found and bought up to the surface. After discovering they were not breathing both teams shouted for Emergency services to be called and to get the emergency Oxygen ready. They then proceeded to tow their victims to the stern of the catamaran and deliver vital rescue breaths, while efficiently removing their weights and equipment.

Meanwhile, on board the vessel Eleanor and Justin were using softer psychological techniques to calm down and obtain more vital information from our panicked instructors. This was an amazing effort, as the dive masters were going for Oscar-winning performances.

One of the key skills the shipmates have learned is to set up and use emergency oxygen in a variety of different ways. Evan expertly set up the oxygen units ready for the unresponsive divers as they were brought aboard. Evan, Sarah, Phil, Elina, Phil, and Eleanor performed heroic efforts in delivering textbook quality CPR with the help of the oxygen provided for a number of minutes, while the rest of the team continued to calm down our panicked divers and ensure all equipment was stowed away safely. All the while Alina was taking important factual notes for when medical services arrived.

This is where we cut the scene and the gave the shipmates a debriefing on what was a fantastic team effort utilizing all the skills and experiences they had developed over the 3 weeks. Great work team.

As fairly experienced instructors, we are rarely shocked by students, but we were amazed by how well they performed on the day under pressure. They were a pleasure to teach and they should all be extremely proud of what they have achieved.