US Navy Facilitates Kenyan Basic Sea Survival Instructor Course
Caleb Otino, a local member of the Kenyan Red Cross, said that many of his friends have perished in the Kenyan coastal waters while fishing. His reason behind the loss of life: lack of water survival training. Otino said he wanted to change this.
Otino and other Local Kenyans are recent graduates of the Basic Sea Survival Train-the-Trainer Course, a program facilitated by U.S. Navy Maritime Civil Affairs Team 112, Combined Joint Task Force - Horn of Africa, to help people better prepare themselves for survival at sea.
"We are working with local residents… who are going to be future trainers of the basic sea survival course," said U.S. Navy Lt. Cory Cole, MCAT 112 officer in charge, about the Kenyans who volunteered to participate.
Fishing and working on the water is their livelihood, according to MCAT 112. But, many of these fishermen don't have the skills necessary to respond to emergencies on the water.
During the four-day course, the Kenyans learned basic first aid, boat safety, different swim strokes, signaling, navigation and knot-tying. They also learned how to use ordinary objects, such as a pair of pants, for flotation devices.
"We have been waiting for such training," said Otino, who participated so he could have the skills to save lives during any emergencies on the water.
The first three days of the course involved learning all the material presented. On the final day, the students became the instructors and taught their classmates all of the skills needed to ensure safety and survival in the water.
This is MCAT 112 corpsman U.S. Navy Petty Officer 2nd Class Audrey Hababag's third graduating class within a month. "It's a big accomplishment - they're happy and I'm happy," said Hababag, adding how much he enjoyed the training.
One of the team's goals here was to work with people, help share skills and share knowledge that could save lives, said Cole. This coincides with one part of the CJTF-HOA mission statement, promoting regional stability, and will hopefully translate to better security in the area, said Cole.
"In the end, maritime security and stability are the goals that Kenya and the U.S. have in common," said Cole.
The MCAT along, with different organizations such as the Kenyan Wildlife and Forestry Services, District Fisheries Office, Kenyan Red Cross and Kenyan Maritime Authority, came together to build the program, said Cole. While the people who live and work on the water are the intended beneficiaries of the training, the hope is to bring the government of Kenya together with the people to own and build on the program.
Otino said that he and the other graduates will pass the information and the skills they learned to other Kenyans in the region to increase knowledge and awareness of the sea.
"Since we have attended and we have our certificate, we are going to help and train our brothers and sisters on the ground to have the same knowledge (as the graduates)," said Otino.