Keeping it real – Coastguard training exercise

On the evening of 27th June 2016, I found myself on a yacht with Anjuli with blood all over my face and my head in bandages. Apparently I’d fallen down the companionway and hit my head. I couldn’t remember any of it and I was incoherent.

That was the scenario reported to the Wellington Coastguard, during a search and rescue exercise on Wellington Harbour on a cold dark Monday night. Anjuli did a fantastic job of putting out the distress call in near hysterics then bloodying me up good in the galley, while hubby Ollie got the yacht in position then hid out of sight incase needed to look after the yacht later.

Nigel, bloodied and bandaged

The mainly women crew of the Coastguard boat, Spirit of Wellington, maintained radio contact as they approached our approximate position searching for the yacht. As soon as they arrived, Anjulie turned on some oscar-award winning acting and for the Coastguard crew, what they thought would be a boring exercise suddenly got real – not only was the yacht very real, so was the distraught wife and the injured husband. Some difficult decisions needed to be made quickly.

The decision was made to move Anjuli and myself onto Spirit of Wellington then off to a waiting ambulance at high speed, leaving one crew member behind to look after the yacht.

After fading in and out of consciousness and both of us being well looked after, I was ‘helped into the waiting ambulance’ (dropped on the jetty), then they were off again to locate the yacht and either tow or escort it back to the safety of Seaview Marina.

A great exercise and a lot of fun being one of the victims. Thanks to Anjuli and Ollie for lending their yacht, acting skills and sense of humour and thanks to the crew of Spirit of Wellington for doing a great job.