Saturday, 29 August 2015

Marine Mammal Medic Training

Last weekend I undertook the British Divers Marine Life Rescue (BDMLR) Marine Mammal Medic training. The course began at 08:30am with some introductions to the charity and the work they do. They are a voluntary network of trained medics who respond to calls from the public about stranded, injured or sick marine mammals. The rescue teams are on call 24 hours a day, 365 days a year and are based across Scotland, England and Wales.

The BDMLR have equipment strategically placed around the country to assist with whale or dolphin strandings, oil spills, fishing gear entanglement and assist any marine mammal which may be in trouble. The aim of the course was to train new medics which would be able to respond to calls. The morning began with some theoretical classroom-based lectures. We discussed cetaceans and seals found in the UK and common issues which can affect each species. We then found out the best techniques to help them.
Lectures from the BDMLR Marine Mammal Medic Training (photo by Graeme Davison, BDMLR)
As the afternoon approached, we all climbed into our drysuits and headed out to the nearby beach. Here we tested our new knowledge on life-sized models of a pilot whale, dolphin and grey seal pup. In groups, we re-floated the pilot whale using the specialist whale pontoons produced by the BDMLR. We also floated the stranded dolphin using the techniques shown to us before practicing how to capture and safely transport a seal pup which may need rehabilitated.

Practicing how to refloat stranded cetaceans (photo by Graeme Davison, BDMLR)

If you find a live stranded marine mammal, please note the location, tidal state and any visible injuries- without getting too close. Then call the BDMLR on 01825 765546 during normal working hours or the out of hours number on 07787433412. 

The BDMLR are currently fundraising to replace their whale entanglement equipment which was broken whilst assisting a humpback whale off Iceland. Please give generously to allow the charity and their volunteers to help more whales and dolphins which may get into trouble. Thank you!


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