New boat driving course takes place on the Lynher

The first of a new twin-engine outboard motor course has taken place at HMS Raleigh for Royal Navy bomb disposal divers.

Four divers took part in the pilot course to teach them how to drive and handle the boat.  The course was delivered by instructors at the Royal Navy School of Seamanship School on the River Lynher.

Chief Petty Officer Chris Pye, Chief Instructor at the school, said:  “The principles of driving this type of boat in comparison to water-jets are very different.  If you were to bring those principles to an outboard course, you would crash the boat.

"We are teaching all types of port handling principles, so weather, tide, navigation, man-over-board drills, bringing the boats alongside and confined turns.  Basically everything they need to know to operate the boat safely.”

Previously training was carried out at RYA training centres, but the decision was taken to bring the training in-house.  CPO Pye explained:  “As the lead school for boat operations in the Navy, we took the course on.

"We designed the course, which was a long process. It took about eight months from concept to reality. We now have six courses programmed; three before Christmas and three in the New Year.

"We’ve left this one as the pilot course so as we go through the week we can make adjustments to learning specifications and assessments if we need to.”

We are teaching all types of port handling principles, so weather, tide, navigation, man-over-board drills, bringing the boats alongside and confined turns.

Chief Petty Officer Chris Pye

The boat used for training is an Arctic 22, which in its previous life was used by the Ministry of Defence Police.  Royal Navy divers use Delta seven metre dive rigid inflatable boats (RIBs) with twin out-board engines for bomb disposal operations at sea.

A larger boat than the Artic 22, the Delta is more powerful and spacious, with the ability to carry all the kit the divers need.  It has good stability for work in open water and is a larger platform which makes the team visible to other water traffic.

Diver Andy Waller said: “There’s a good approach to this training.  We are all qualified boat handlers already, so this is a familiarisation acquaint on an additional piece of kit. I’ve not done a huge amount of navigation training recently, so it’s been good to brush up on the skills I haven’t used for a while.”

Divers are assigned to two Area Diving Squadrons.  One of their roles is to provide aid to civil authorities in the form of high readiness teams of bomb disposal experts capable of dealing with ordnance found on land or at sea, some of which dates back to the Second World War.