September 2017 on the Great Barrier Reef

Safety Counts
Captain Trevor Jackson

I’m a late blooming father. At 51, I have three kids under 7!!! 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 I’m responsible for all those lives on my conscience when we are way out there. But then I thought…hang on, its 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 driven past a car accident. An ambulance was there and I’m fairly sure that everyone involved was going to be alright. But the ambulance couldn’t have been more than 10 minutes from the scene. As I pulled up at home I remember thinking “What happens when the incident is 4 or 5 hours away from emergency care?”. Well I will tell you what happens in that scenario… 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?

If you are on a dive boat and you’re 400 kilometres from the nearest decent-sized town then you had better hope your boats crew has its ‘shit’, well and truly together. On Spoilsport, every few months we run training weeks dedicated to specific emergency scenarios. One week it might be ” Lost Diver Week”, the next might be ‘Man Overboard Week”. On my last expedition 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 and at the end of the week I emailed Mike and said “I’m happy to say Spoilsports’ crew is the best drilled fire crew in the Queensland fleet”.

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

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