Captain Duncan Garner: Do you want to live or die?   Date: Thursday 16 October, 2014
Captain Duncan Garner: Do you want to live or die?



Summary:  I did my Coastguard Day Skipper course over the weekend. Im yet to find out if I passed, but, fingers crossed, I should. Hopefully!

I did my Coastguard Day Skipper course over the weekend. Im yet to find out if I passed, but, fingers crossed, I should. Hopefully!

Man, it was intense. So much information, over both days! Ive had my little boat for two years and now Im doing the course. Yes, of course, I did it around the wrong way; I was stupid. I took my life into my own, inexperienced hands. But I seriously recommend a course like this. How much do you value your life? If you want to survive at sea do this course.

Our instructor Steve knew everything. Hed been around the world many times on boats. So what did I learn? Everything.

I learnt about what you must check before you go boating.

I learnt what the boat must have on board.

I learnt about skipper responsibility.

I learnt about what the various lifejackets do.

I learnt about the rules of the roads port vs. starboard and who gives way to who.

I learnt to read charts.

I learnt about mayday calls and pan pan calls.

I learnt about launching and retrieving.

I learnt about fires, anchors, ropes, knots, freeboard, symbols, maps, charts, the rules of the road who gives way, sterns, hulls, wakes, secondary propulsion, wind, tides, neap tides, spring tides and everything in between.

I learnt about all the markings at sea and what they mean.

Basically, I realised how little I knew, yet Ive been out at sea a number of times on my vulnerable little 12-foot boat. I put my hand up today and admit I was dumb and I got it wrong. This weekend, however, I learned enough to be risk adverse, to be prepared and to hopefully stay alive.

We watched dozens and dozens of boaties launching and setting off without lifejackets this past weekend. My instructor says he sees it all the time, but watching a busy boat ramp over an entire weekend, I was gobsmacked at how complacent we are.

I recommend everyone who is considering owning a boat even if its just a dingy - do a course like this. I feel like I could take a boat to Fiji, with what I learned at the weekend.

Well, not quite, but I realised how little I knew and how much there is to learn.

The simple question you must ask yourself is this: do you want to die or live?

Duncan Garner hosts RadioLIVE Drive - weekdays from 3pmtext

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