A bit past due but better late then never. The STCW ’95 as it’s referred to is the Standards of Training, Certification and Watchingkeeping. When I decided to try out this hair brain scheme of boat working everyone said it was the minimum requirement for all yachties. The class aka certification does expire in five years but I put renewal off. Time, Expense, Bah Humbug were my excuses. Heck I think if I could manage five days off in a row the last thing I would want to do is spend $1000 renewing a damn certification.
I kept trying to determine what the consequences of not completing the course would be, a question, which no one of any authority would answer. Grr!! So here I went again back to school to learn the very basics of Firefighting, rescue methods and Social Responsibility. CPR/First Aide is also required but as time was short that section would come later in the year. Thursday and Friday were spent with Firefighters, Thursday in the classroom and Friday ‘in the field.’ The first class time around, it was November in San Diego, feel the cool despite attempting to put out the staged raging fire. Second time, it is Sept in Fort Lauderdale feel the burn, literally. And as there were 31 participants, divided into three groups it took until 1330 (that’s military speak for 1.30 p), for my group to move through a storage container where a small fire had burned for approximately four hours with each group spraying and steaming, repeat. First you climb a ladder to the top of the container, fully kitted out in helmet, mesh head covering, gas mask, jacket, pants, boats, none of it fits, all of it is heavy and holds the heat. Its 1.30 p, I’m drooling with no food in my system since 7 a, a physical collapse was inevitable. And due to a long history of loud music participation, I could not hear one word while down ‘fighting’ the fire. It was bewildering, threatening five minutes of ‘what the hell?’ Yes, I passed but I also almost passed out and threatened to throw up all over the firefighters, most of whom were rather good looking, do they come that way or is it just the uniform? Note to self in five years when I have to do this again, San Diego in November is a much better option for the firefighting portion.