Mustang Sailing, one of the UK's top RYA recognised sailing schools, is showing its support for local National Coastwatch Institution (NCI) volunteers by offering free theory courses on VHF/DSC marine radio operation.
Since 2006, the East Sussex-based RYA practical and theory sailing course specialist has provided free VHF Radio training for local NCI volunteers. Following the recent announcement of further cuts to the safety at sea services, Mustang Sailing is urging more volunteers to take advantage of the course.
Principal at Mustang Sailing, Paul Stringer, said: "With the proposed closure of more than half of the UK's 18 24-hour coastguard centres and cancellation of the Emergency Towing Vessel service, the pressure on the NCI to recruit and train more volunteers to open more stations has significantly increased. I wanted to be able to reward their hard work with some of the valuable training they will inevitably need."
The free one day course on VHF/DSC marine radio operation will provide volunteers with an essential Short Range Certificate (SRC), the minimum qualification required by law to operate a VHF radio fitted with DSC, and enable them to achieve 'Declared Facility Status'. This is an essential part of allowing the charity organisation to communicate with sea going vessels, the HM Coastguard and RNLI and therefore play a full and active role in ensuring sea safety.
Over the past five years, many volunteers from NCI Newhaven have already completed a course courtesy of Mustang Sailing. Watchkeeper, Neil Tourle, said, "As we are a voluntary organisation with limited funds available, we really appreciate the help we get from people like Paul at Mustang Sailing. The free training he provides is more important than ever in the current climate and vital to NCI Newhaven's successful operation."
Since 1994, NCI has opened more than 40 fully operational stations, manned by over 1,700 volunteers, eight of which are located throughout the South East. NCI watchkeepers work closely with the HM Coastguard and RNLI and are trained to 'spot, plot and report' a casualty.