On iMessage a while ago:
Me: “Should we do a course in off-shore safety? There are free spaces on the 10th of March”
Esben (immediately): “Ok, I have booked it in my calendar”
Me: “So you think we should do it? My arm hurts just by the thought of it…”
Esben: “Yes, definitely, will be great!”
So I booked two spots for us, and we will be jumping into the water with life jackets, crawl into a liferaft and be airlifted out with a helicopter. In reality it all takes place in a pool, so I guess the helicopter is more like a pretend-helicopter. But still. A couple of years ago we visited Falck nutec in Esbjerg, where I guess the course is taking place. Back then we were having the yearly general assembly for Jensine, and got a tour of the facilities, including a demonstration of their wave, darkness and rain simulators. But I suppose it’s a good thing to do – you can probably never do too much safety education…
When we bought Chip-Chip, it came with a VHF radio, for which a certificate is required. No problem, I took that in 10th grade, about 20 years ago, and since all instruments on the boat were more than 20 years old, that certificate was fine for the radio. But then we wanted to upgrade to one with DSC capabilities (Means that it can send out automatic signals to nearby vessels in case of an emergency). And then I realized that I am old. My VHF-certificate should probably have been upgraded about 15 years ago. Since we’re in Germany, and I didn’t want to do the course in German, I did some googling and found a really nice online course, bought some used books and signed up for the exam in Denmark. On the day of the exam I drove up with both kids in tow since Esben was away. Luckily my mom had agreed to come and babysit while I did the test. The other people looked a bit puzzled at me; they had all spent many evenings together doing the course in a sailing club, but I was let in, and ten minutes later I had finished the test and was told that I had passed. Very nice. And I did learn a lot, not just about using the radio, the course also covers emergency communication like EPIRBs (a satellite signalling device for the boat) and SARTs (a radar signalling device) etc.
And as we have an agreement that both Esben and I need to be able to handle Chip-Chip, he took the same VHF exam when he was, for once, working in Denmark. But then there was the sailing itself. I think it’s safe to say that I’m not the greatest teacher, so Esben signed up for a one week sailing course in Svendborg – and not to be outdone, I signed up for the advanced course. We both had a good time, and Esben especially felt much more confident to take full charge of part of the night shifts on our summer holidays after having both theoretical and practical sail training from Ann and Niels in Svendborg.
Now, the only certificate we really need is the one that allows us to sail on the inner waterways of Europe. Some people argue that we do not have to take it since Denmark is not part of this agreement, but we still choose to do the course – it’s after all nice to know what the different signs along the way means. Plus it’s cheap and apparently quick to do online.
We could have taken many more courses, like meteorology, sailing in tidal seas etc., but I would say we’re good for now – we also need some time for other things after all.