Friday, 26 January 2007

Testing Testing

The pressure of being tested by an assessor is certainly intense. Almost enough to reduce grown men to quivering wrecks. Thankfully our crew tend to be pretty well prepared and ready for examination. As a result they invariably pass well. In the photo Craig and Matt are being assessed on rigging up an alongside tow using the slipway to simulate the vessel. This works and works well. It's a simple manoeuvre but one which tests seamanship skill (which I believe are the basis upon which all other knowledge is built). Our assessor on this evening was brutally thorough and this is a change from previous assessors.

The Competency based system which we run is a relatively new development. In essence the RNLI has identified key knowledge and tasks which competent crew in different positions should be expected to know. Each crewmember then receives a personalised 'taskbook' based on their position in the boat. Then, over a period of time they must get themselves qualified in each of these tasks and get a 'green light'. Once this has happened they are then safe for a while until 3 (sometimes more) years have elapsed when they must be re-assessed in each skill or task.

I guess in a way this sounds complicated, however, it works. What it means is that to progress in the crew, a recruit must be competent and able to perform tasks as demanded of them. This then allows the Coxswain to have complete faith in his crew and that they can achieve what is required as and when. A lot is asked of lifeboat crews, they are expected to be good at what they do and demonstrably competent, CoBT achieves this.

I've got bills to pay and children who need clothes
I know there's fish out there but where God only knows
They say these waters aren't what they used to be
But I've got people back on land who count on me

So if you see my Downeaster Alexa
And if you work with the rod and the reel
Tell my wife I am trolling Atlantis
And I still have my hands on the wheel

(Billy Joel)

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