Lifeboats Where There Are None: Day 6 – “That’s Show Business”

Navigation and Engine Repair. Two things I know nothing about; two things that instructors tried to teach me about today.

How is one suppose to develop any sort of grasp for how a boat engine works or how to navigate the worlds waters in an hour and a half? I think the answer is that they cannot; however, introducing ideas to us is the basic idea here, I think.

Our instructors here are brilliant. They’re volunteers and they’re passionate, but they teach like professionals and they recognize that everyone has different levels of understanding of all of this stuff. I did my best to keep myself focused on what was being taught, but these particular subject areas are not fortes of mine and I walked away only having learned that I have more to learn.

In the afternoon, my group was back on the water for our fourth session of seagoing. This proved to be my lowest day so far. I just really wasn’t “feeling” getting back into the boat. Prior to launch, some of the instructors showed us on land how to tow disabled boats at sea. This is something we may actually encounter when trying to assist refugees–disabled boats. The demonstration on the land was fine, but once we were on the water it was quite confusing. There are so many different places you have to tie ropes to. Some places need to hold tension and other places simply need to direct the boat.

During our actual execution process on the water, the “disabled boat” needs to be tied to the rescue boat. This requires the rescue boat to hover near the other boat for a long time while the ropes are getting sorted and passed from one boat to the other and then back again. While idling, the engine fumes really engulfed the surrounding air and the waves kept coming in hard. Each time the boat bobbed and each time I took in a breath, I felt a bit queasy, making it much more difficult to focus on the task at hand.

By the time it was all said and done, I was so relieved to be getting onto dry land and for the session to just be over. I really feel like I fell out of the rhythm this afternoon.

For our evening lecture, a lawyer from Bristol came to present “Seeking Asylum in the UK” to us. A fascinating talk with plenty of time for questions. It’s nice to have more information about where the people we would be plucking out of the waters would actually be going and experiencing once they’re on dry land in Europe.

My biggest takeaway is that the United Kingdom seems to be about as messed up as the rest of Europe. They don’t want to help the asylum seekers. In fact, they try to discourage and deter them.


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