IMRF delivers tailored training to boost maritime SAR capabilities across Africa

The International Maritime Rescue Federation has held a basic rescue boat operating course, in conjunction with the RNLI, specifically tailored and structured for maritime SAR (search and rescue) professionals from Africa.

The teaching is designed to be a ‘train the trainer’ course, so the participants will return home and share the learnings with their organisations and colleagues.

Eleven SAR professionals from across Africa attended the course which was co-hosted by the IMRF and the RNLI, and ran from 14-18 October at the RNLI training college in Poole. The attendees represented maritime SAR organisations in Ghana, Senegal, Nigeria, South Africa, Tanzania, and Morocco.

Theresa Crossley, CEO IMRF said: „Every year the IMRF organises a programme of maritime SAR capacity building events across Africa in conjunction with the International Maritime Organisation and our members.  These events focus on giving the participants the skills and knowledge they need to build capacity at home in their own countries.

„This is the first time we have run this course to focus on Africa and we’re deeply grateful to the RNLI for sharing its facilities, knowledge and skills for this ongoing project.  This kind of training has proved very effective, creating a ripple effect of knowledge which is then applied in practical situations locally and regionally.“

David Whiddon, International Programmes Manager, RNLI added: „It’s been a real pleasure to spend time with the search and rescue professionals from across Africa this week. The RNLI’s maritime lifesaving expertise has been built up over 195 years and we are proud to help others in the international lifesaving community to improve their services and tackle drowning.“

The course has been developed to teach the students the best SAR techniques and rescue boat handling operations in challenging conditions, all based on the IMASAR Manual Volume III. The International Aeronautical and Maritime Search and Rescue (IAMSAR) Manual is the UN’s international guide for maritime and aviation search and rescue worldwide.

Several of the participants are already IMRF trainers responsible for training in their respective organisations.  A shortage of lack appropriate materials can be an issue in different places around the world, as a result the course has been designed to include a training manual and set of training cards, to help with the dissemination of information.

The training has been a mix of theory based learning and practical exercise, on the sea and in a simulator. It has included personal protective equipment, key water safety messages, personal recovery, human factors in conjunction with weather and tides, seamanship, navigation, towing and slow speed manoeuvres.

The training resources developed for the course are recommended as best practice materials for any organisation introducing training in basic rescue boat SAR operations.  They will be available for any IMRF member wanting to undertake similar training for its crew or organisation.