First Aid and Radio Operators Course

As provided by Australian Underwater Federation. First Aid and Radio Operators Course

The crew at the Radio Operators and First Aid Course. Chandler November 2014


Last Saturday was pretty full on, Turbo and myself interviewed a popular North American Spearo for our Podcast. The interview was at 4:30AM which was super early but we ended up having a great time. We followed that up with a big breakfast and contemplated the reality of sitting in the First Aid and Radio Operators Course classroom all day. We were both apprehensive about the commitment we had made to do the first aid and radio operators course as free Saturdays are few and far between. We were also both wondering if it was going to be like the 25 other first aid courses we all seem to have to do these days. We were in for a shock.

AUFQ Shoutout

The Australian Underwater Federation Queensland (AUFQ) had organised this highly subsidised First Aid and Radio Operators Course care of Judy Breeze and Mark Grandfils from the Tweed Spearfishing Club (thanks for that Mark). We turned up at the Chandler Complex on time (a first for turbo who has a nickname not indicative of much apart from his meager breathhold) and were met by quite a diverse group. We had an underwater hockey player, 2 SCUBA instructors, 2 freedivers, and 5 spearo’s plus an instructor who has spent a lot of time in the water and above it. Anthony (Tony) Little from Workplace First Aid Training on the Gold Coast is an ex ambo, avid mariner, keen scuba diver and he also enjoys a bit of spearfishing. He was our instructor for both radio and first aid and brings a wealth of knowledge to both. Despite bureaucratic requirements he is able to keep the training hands on and extremely pragmatic.

Anthony Little demonstrating technique before Turbo takes over. Mark Grandfils watches on.

Here is a quick summary of the First Aid and Radio operator course

First Aid Course – 3 simple points

1. When you have an unconscious person and they are not breathing, immediately begin chest compressions. Hopefully you have had training but if not do it anyway. Dont worry about checking for pulse – just get into it ASAP


CPR First Aid Course. First Aid and Radio Operators Course

2. Compressions are more important than the breaths that you might give an unconscious person. If you are doing the compressions right, their lungs will be taking in more oxygenated air anyway.  Preferably maintain a 30 compressions – 2 breaths but if you cant do that keep the compressions going. Chest compression are top priority.

Turbo takes over with only 3 or 4 red flashes from the dummy. First Aid and Radio Operators Course

Turbo takes over with only 3 or 4 red flashes from the dummy.

3. You get buggered fast, keeping someone alive is hard work! A team effort is best, although in an emergency you dont get to choose.


Turbo giving that dummy his best. First Aid and Radio Operators Course

Turbo giving that dummy his best

Radio Operator Course 3 Simple Takeaways

1. Channel 16 is the emergency channel with 67 the supplementary – do not talk fishing on these channels.

2. Radio Calls, Key terms

  • Mayday – Means Emergency, repeats 3 times at beginning of broadcast. Standby to record details
  • Pan Pan – Signifies that there is an urgency. No one is in immediate danger
  • Seelonce – French term that we use for silence.
  • Sécurité — Maritime safety call. Repeated three times. Has priority over routine calls.

3. Radio’s come in at various price points for a reason. Digital Selective Calling (DSC) is a great feature when used in combination with Automatic ID System (AIS) and your Global Positioning System (GPS). DSC allows boats to communicate to other boats across 2-way radios without anyone able to listen in. You need to ensure that you know your mates AIS and he knows yours then you can communicate privately on channel 70, which is a dedicated digital only channel. Also if your radio(with DSC) is hooked into your GPS people can see where your boat is at anytime, anywhere in the world. You can view all boats that are equipped here or here at vesselfinder.com

(I think I got all that right)

I want to add some emphasis to these final points – bear with me;

Two essential points for spearo’s boats, because shit happens

[Tweet “1. First Aid Kit needs to be stocked, accessible and everyone on board needs to know how to get to it.”]

[Tweet “2. Radio’s are there for a reason, use them especially to sign in and out of Coastguard or Marine Rescue centres.”]

If you have some stories of your own or points to add please leave some comments.

To find out about Tony’s Course’s, his mobile phone number is 0418737831 or you can email him at wftqld@bogpond.com. Anthony Little is located in Helensvale and travels up and down the coast teaching first aid and radio courses – highly recommend!

This spearfishing guide post contains links to many of our best articles – check it out

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