Don’t be alarmed if you see volunteers rescuing a whale, a dolphin and a seal pup on the beach in front of the Northern Swimming Pool in Ramsey on Sunday afternoon – they’re not real! The whale does weigh two tonnes though!
A team from British Divers Marine Life Rescue, a charity that has over 3,000 trained marine mammal medics across the UK, will be teaching around 30 volunteers how to rescue marine mammals in the first course they’ve run on the Island. The course gives the trainee medics all the basic information they need to be able to assess the condition of animals on the beach, give them first aid, handle them safely and in the case of the whale and dolphin, refloat them.
The day-long course is being run in association with the Manx Wildlife Trust, with the Isle of Man Steam Packet Company having sponsored the team’s ferry crossings and the Manx Government’s DEFA sponsoring 15 places on the course for members of the coastguard, civil defence, RNLI and fisheries department.
Lara Howe, the Manx Wildlife Trust’s Marine Officer is looking forward to the day.
“We’ve had a really good response to the course and with around 30 people on it, so it should be a great day” she said. “It’s a bit different, but giving people the skills needed to look after our marine wildlife will be of real benefit and will complement the marine mammal strandings work the Trust does on behalf of DEFA.”
Isle of Man Steam Packet Company Chief Executive Mark Woodward added: “We are delighted to be able to support this valuable training day, which will help further protect the marine mammals around the Isle of Man’s coast. The Steam Packet Company is already a supporter of Manx Whale and Dolphin Watch, assisting with the group’s regular marine surveys, and fully recognises the importance of our marine wildlife, so we had no hesitation in adding our backing to this training visit.”
BDMLR’s Operations Manager Stephen Marsh, who will be leading the course, concluded: “We’ve wanted to come out and run a course for a long time as we knew there was a lot of interest on the Island, so we’re really grateful for the support we’ve had to get this one organised. The Isle of Man has some incredible marine wildlife so it’s great that we’re able to help local people contribute to its conservation in a practical way.”
The course is now fully booked, but it is hoped that further courses will be run in the future and more information can be found at www.bdmlr.org.uk.