October 2014 On The Great Barrier Reef

Safety Counts
Captain Trevor Jackson

I’m a late blooming father. At 48, I have two girls under five. They are the love of my life….precious beyond comprehension. They were with me in the car the other night, stuck at the traffic lights, when for reasons I can’t explain I began to think about the boat….and how we….no, I, have all those lives on my conscience when we are way out there. But then I thought “Hang on, it’s only 400 kilometres from Cairns”, not so far in the grand scheme of things, right?

Half an hour later I pulled into the driveway with a different perspective. On the way home we’d been past a car accident. An ambulance was there and I’m fairly sure that everyone involved was going to be alright…but then again….the ambulance can’t have been more than 10 minutes from the scene. As I pulled up at home I remember thinking “What happens when the issue is 4 or 5 hours away?” Well I will tell you what happens then ….air power.

Australia has an awesome emergency services system, second to none in the world…with helicopters, emergency doctors and elite paramedics…we are well and truly covered, right? Well for the most part we are…but what if we go really remote…what if we go…where the helicopter can’t reach…what then?

Well, if you are on a dive boat and you’re 400 kilometres from the nearest decent town then you had better hope your boats crew has its ‘shit’, well and truly together. On Spoilsport, in addition to our regular scheduled drills, every few months I like to run training weeks dedicated to specific emergency scenarios. One month might be ‘Lost Diver Week’, the next ‘Man Overboard Week’. On my last trip it was “Fire Week”.

Fire is about the worst thing that can happen on a boat and we take it very, very seriously. The crew were smashed through their paces, day after day, at the end of the trip I emailed Mike and said “I’m happy to say Spoilsport’s crew is the best drilled fire crew in the Queensland fleet”.

Like I said, I pulled into the driveway, I thought about the road accident, I thought about ‘Fire Week’ and I looked into the back seat to my daughters. I thought about the parents of the people we take to sea…crew and passengers….and I had a quiet confidence that everything would be alright. I’m a late blooming father ……..to me…..SAFETY COUNTS.

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