Sea Scout Keas Lily, Charlie, Oscar, Xavier and Max, with Waiheke Coastguard skipper David Black (left) and senior helmsman John Percy, learnt the value of good-fitting lifejackets. Photo Maria Heer

Sea Scouts Keas showed impressive safety knowledge during an educational trip with Waiheke Coastguard, says Waiheke High School sea sports academy tutor Maria Heer.
On board the vessel they quickly identified the 5-plus safety items needed in any boat.

They earned their Saving Lives at Sea stickers by naming VHF radio on Channel 16 as the best emergency ‘mayday’ communication; waterproofed cell phones and flares, oars, anchor, fire extinguisher, bailer and first aid were also listed.

Coastguard skipper David Black was impressed by how much the young children knew. “They could be fine Coastguard rescue volunteers one day,” he quipped.

The students then had a fun ride on the rescue vessel as senior helmsman John Percy expertly went around the empty buoys in Matiatia doing a figure-eight, sideways sweeps and spinning 720 degree turns that had them gripping their seats. This demonstrated how the vessel could safely manoeuvre around stricken vessels and if need be get close to people who need to be rescued from the sea.

The students also learnt about the value of a tight-fitting lifejacket. Too many children are lost to the depths when they wear loose vests which they can slide out of.

Sea Scout leader Darleen Hoff-Nielsen was thrilled with the fun learning opportunity. The Keas finished with big smiles and wide, alert eyes as they chanted ‘thankyou’. •

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