News, events, trips and info for sea kayaking and canoeing in Shetland

Month: August 2010

Coastguard rescue

Excerpt from The Shetland Times “Views from the Scord” Column 27/08/10 (Mark Burgess)

Canoe Club in Vital Rescue Exercise


It's only make-up!!

Eight members of the Bridge End based Shetland Canoe Club had to be rescued from a west side beach on Sunday morning, after a dive vessel in the area exploded causing serious injury to members of the group, as well as to members of the boats crew and one fatality.
However, it wasn’t all bad, as the hypothermic and blast injured sea-kayakers enjoyed freshly made bacon rolls and cups of tea on the beach at Silwick while passing the time until rescue.
This catastrophic scenario, excluding the bacon rolls of course, was part of a Coastguard rescue exercise involving the local Coastguard cliff rescue teams, the Aith Lifeboat and the Anglian Prince, emergency tug vessel. The operation, entitled Exercise “Unni” was co-ordinated from the Coastguard base in Lerwick and involved members of several of the regional cliff rescue teams. The scenario was made all the more realistic with the addition of some shockingly realistic makeup provided by visiting makeup specialist Unni Gru, for whom the exercise was named.
The exercise began early on Sunday morning and had the sea kayaking group take up position on a beach unknown to the rescue services after reporting their intended outing, in keeping with the realism of the exercise. Concurrently the Anglian Prince took up position south of Westerwick to play the role of the vessel upon which a blast had taken place, with a member of the crew, a coastguard volunteer and Unni herself made up to simulate blast injuries and a dummy used to simulate a fatality. The kayak group had been near to the vessel when the blast took place, and aside from direct injuries, the group had theoretically spend time in the water, before making it to the shore. After radio communications from both the Anglian Prince and the kayakers the coastguard teams and lifeboat deployed and very soon found and rescued the stricken casualties, uplifting them in safe and professional manner soon after receiving the call. The addition of the make-up and victims exhibiting hypothermia and shock symptoms gave the coastguard volunteers and lifeboat crew a very realistic chance to utilise their first aid skills at sea and on the beach. Afterward those taking part were treated to some highly praised lunch in the Skeld hall and a de-brief at which John Webster of the Coastguard thanked all the volunteers for taking part, and Unni for her unique talent and input to the scenario. Apologies should probably go to anyone who met the volunteers in their scenario make-up on their way home on Sunday afternoon, it may have come as quite an unpleasant surprise to the unwitting bystander.

Foul weather frolics

Some intrepid members of the club were out in Busta Voe on Saturday 21 August – in force 8 / 9 winds!  They only went a wee bit out of the marina, and there was a rescue boat at hand.  All those who took part enjoyed it – though they were mostly thoroughly shattered to end up with.  The remit was ‘to practice rescues in tough conditions’ but they were mainly having fun with the challenge of going into the wind, and the thrill of surfing back with it – and we were glad of the rescue boat back-up (Thanks to Graham Nicol in a fast RIB) for peace of mind and safety.

Up the down escalator

Waves not swell! (L-R: Mark, Janine, Angus)



Janine gets some helping horsepower

Club Trip Tuesday 3rd August

The “trip” is an excursion back to the burn where Stromfirth loch empties into the sea. Organiser is Mave. A number of people had fun trying out some river skills when we went one Thursday. If you would like to go turn up at the burn – just North of the Whiteness shop – for 7pm. There will be 6 river boats available and we will take turns at negotiating the “river” while it runs.

If you want more information please contact Mave on 01595 692659 otherwise turn up for some fun.
Please park at the shop or in the spaces 100m North of the bridge. The residents of the nearest houses get upset if cars park near them.

Powered by WordPress & Theme by Anders Norén