Much of Monday was spent in the “classroom” marquee going through and discussing Leadership, Leadership styles and Qualities. There was some great content to take onboard and to put into practice. For instance, BCU Sea kayak leaders all know about the pneumonic C.L.A.P, which stands for Communication, Line of Sight, Avoidance and Position. Well something I had not really considered before was that the communication starts well before you ever get a group on the water and is often before ever meeting a group. Communication starts with you initial email/correspondence, it is about you gathering data on the group, filling in forms (in case of death! I joke!) etc.. All of these actions establish you as the leader, if properly executed right from the start.
Then when you have met your group obviously the normal beach brief with signals etc… But how you brief the group introduced me to another pneumonic S.H.E.E.T.S. This stands for Safety and signals, Humans, Equipment, Environment, Time and Safety and Signals again, once more for re-enforcement. At each letter of C.L.A.P. we were delving deeper and deeper into what do these letters actually mean in far greater detail than I have ever heard before. Great stuff!
I’d better mention another pneumonic S.A.F.E.R which is all about following a process when an incident does occur. It stands for Stop, Assess, Formulate (I have to admit I was thinking “Foto”), Execute and Review. I won’t divulge any more on this except to say get yourself on one of Sea Kayaking Cornwall’s Incident management courses. In fact it was last weekend whilst play-boating at Holme Pierrepont White Water Course in Nottingham I saw every reason why S.A.F.E.R is something we could all put into practice. When a friend took a bad swim it was mayhem with everyone trying to jump in and help but actually proving more of a hindrance. ie Getting on the wrong side of the loose boat when others were trying to push it ashore/empty it and also swamping the poor swimmer. I think the swimmer ended up more battered and bruised from everyone jumping in and bashing him, before he was able to climb his way out of the ditch.
Later on we all headed for Maenporth Beach to practice rescues. Another subject covered in great detail back in the classroom. All in all it was great fun, but near to the end of the session I started feeling sick again…
Back at the van I sorted out my kit and basically went to bed. I managed to force some food into me, but I really didn’t feel like eating. I had a rough night despite the comfort of my Murvi van.
One thing I was disappointed in was the number of people on the course. I think there were around 22 paddlers plus additional coaches. Having additional coaches helped a great deal, but it was not what I was anticipating or expected when I signed up. I think I was expecting a group size of 4-6! I guess the lesson is to not book on symposium week (something else I had not realised when I booked).
Here are some pictures of the rescue session below: