As part of the STCW-compliant training company’s growth plan, Q3 Marine Training Solutions’ new lifeboat facility north of Seattle has developed and is now offering an exportable component: freefall lifeboat training.
Freefall lifeboats provide a means of escape in an emergency, the Anacortes, Wash.-based company says, but their operation is vastly different from more conventional lifeboats.
Q3’s freefall training programs are conducted on board utilizing the ship’s freefall lifeboat. Designated crew receive training on how to take charge of the boat in a freefall launch, as well as pre- and post- launch procedures, boat handling and maneuvering. Personnel who may be passengers in a freefall boat also receive realistic training.
“When training has been completed and a freefall launch experienced, the ship’s crew quickly develops a confidence in the freefall concept,” says Capt. Patrick Boyle of Q3 in a company press release.
New lifeboat technology works well when the crew has been trained in its use, Q3 says. Familiarity with the equipment requires that everyone is aware of how to safely deploy and use the lifeboat. Varying the roles during the lifeboat drill is good training, Q3 notes, and allows for the possibility that, in a real emergency, the designated crew may not be available to launch the freefall lifeboat.
Training would be a lot simpler if there was a common specification for lifeboats, Q3 says, but mariners often have to familiarize themselves with different lifeboats and release hooks on every ship on which they serve. Q3 says its freefall lifeboat training ensures the seafarers competency while satisfying the STCW and SOLAS training requirements.