I spent last week with my head in books and desperately trying to remember numbers and procedures.

From Sunday through to Sunday ran the Global Maritime Distress and Safety System (GMDSS) course. While there was some technical content the course is really focused on the procedure you should carry out when in a spot of bother at sea. The main aim is to deliver the required information for rescue quickly but calmly, to the right people.

The first hurdle is to memorise and recall the various set frequencies for distress alerting and radiotelegraphy from MF through to VHF. 

Then there are the specific procedures that come with each type of event; be it distress where immediate assistance is required, urgency where assistance is needed in time, or safety to warn other mariners of meteorological or navigational dangers. Finally, there are the radios and satellite equipment to learn.

Luckily with plenty of help from the lecturers and classmates I managed to commit what I needed to memory and pass the written paper, radio exam, and practical scenario.

The first course of many to come, next week I’ll be getting to grips with the BAS IT systems.