Training for sailing volunteers

Belfast Lough Sailability is hoping to increase the number of people it gets out on the water by training more volunteers.

Sunday, 7th December 2014, 1:32 pm
Belfast Lough Saillability volunteer Bill Foster giving first aid to BLS instructor Colin Craig. The course was held courtesy of Carrickfergus Marina (photo by Iain McAllister). INCT 49-707-CON SAIL

The action happens in the sheltered waters of Belfast Lough off Carrickfergus Marina on the group’s specialised fleet of boats.

The training is provided by qualified senior instructors Robbie Richardson, Colin De Fleury and Richard Robinson. The most recent programme was organised through the BLS RTC (recognised training centre) principal Jim Hetherington with the following becoming newly qualified instructors: Geraldine Duggan, Iain McAllister, Jenna Todd and Graham Moucka.

Help and support was also provided by disabled sailors Elizabeth Black, Kerry Mussen, Kevin and Marion Johnston and Jonny Gruhn, who are themselves in training for qualifications.

Participating in the Belfast Lough Sailability instructor course (photo by Jim Hetherington). INCT 49-708-CON SAIL

Elizabeth Black commented: “I would particularly like to thank the Belfast Lough Sailability instructors and sailors who so willingly give up so much of their time, when they could be enjoying their own sailing, to teach us to sail.”

Elizabeth, a wheelchair user, is an instructor in her own right and ran a Disability Awareness course for BLS and other local candidates last month ably assisted by Bill Foster.

BLS extended thanks to the Telecommunity Fund for grant aiding the training, Colin Craig, who ran a first aid course and all the instructors.

The charity also expressed appreciation of members of staff at the Department of Social Development who ran a coffee morning to help with funds. A cheque for over £1,300 was presented to BLS volunteers.

For more information on how to become a volunteer with Belfast Lough Sailability and information on Disability Awareness courses contact Gillian McAdam, honorary secretary, on 07599 689280, www.belfastloughsailability.com or [email protected]