During a recent Level 3 Sea Kayak Instructor training course I got the opportunity to visit Valentia Marine Radio Rescue Station. For sea goers Valentia is well known, as it is one of only three coast guard communication stations in Ireland and it is a referenced location used during weather forecasts for the south and west coast of Ireland. For those unfamiliar, it is a small island off Co.Kerry on the south,west coast of Ireland.
The visit was a very informative experience and a great opportunity to learn first hand about the work the staff do and how we can interact with the coast guard as sea kayakers. Below is some useful advice they had for us.
Words of advice from the Coast Guard staff:
1. Carry a VHF. Don't be afraid of it!, learn to use it and contact the CG with occasional training calls.
2. Carry a Personal Location Beacon (PLB).
3. Carry a smartphone. It is now possible for the CG to send a text message to your smartphone that when opened will give them your exact coordinates. This was demonstrated for us and it works in a matter of seconds. A brilliant tool for search and rescue as long as you stay at the location.
4. Carry flares.
5. Leave a TR (trip/transit report) with the Coast Guard. Remember to close the TR when you are finished. They won't go looking for you but it's good practice to close TR's and they will know the area to search if they need to.
6. If in difficulty or feel that a situation is slipping out of control raise the alarm early. A rescue can be stood down if the situation improves but if it worsens everyone involved will be in more danger.
Thank you to the staff of Valentia Island CG station for their time and to Jon Hynes for organising the visit.
Kayak instructor, athlete, business owner and outdoor enthusiast from the west coast of Ireland.
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