That was a sobering three days. Videos, images, discussions, demonstrations and hands-on learning about an array of medical and trauma scenarios that we might have to deal with aboard our boat in the middle of the Tasman.
Statistically, we're just as likely to be injured at home or in the city as we are at 161 degrees East, halfway between Australia and New Zealand, but on terra firma we're normally 45 minutes from getting to a hospital.
In the middle of the ditch we could be 45 hours from assistance and need to rely on our team mates to keep us patched up or alive.
That's why we made the decision at the beginning of the campaign to complete a comprehensive medical course, and I'm glad we did. Based on their previous experience with ocean rowing, Brent Palmer and his team at Westhaven-based Yacht Lifeline were the only choice.
The course was eye-opening, engaging and very practically based. From first aid basics, learning the ABCs (Airway, Breathing and Circulation), the recovery position to procedures; suturing, injections and dealing with burns – we crammed it all in.
Realistically, there's only so much you can learn in three days – especially when it comes to a wide-ranging field like emergency medicine with most of us starting off from scratch – but the Yacht Lifeline team did an excellent job of tailoring a course to our needs.
Our instructor took the time to understand our campaign. His maritime background and 30 years of medical training meant that we were able to discuss, practice and learn techniques that were directly relevant to solving medical issues on a small boat in the middle of a large sea.
Beyond the Tasman, this has really opened my eyes to the need for a greater understanding of first aid in general life.
If someone falls over in front of you in the middle of the street tomorrow, would you know how to check and open their airway, perform CPR or even treat an open wound to stem bleeding?
Imagine that person was your best friend or a member of your family and how some simple training could save their life until expert help arrives.
Don't delay, book your first aid course today.