HotRIBS - The online RIB Magazine
[ article ]
  # 003
Lift for Life
by Alan Thurwell

It is important to have an idea of what to expect should you ever be in a position of having to operate with a helicopter for a casualty evacuation.

If you know what to expect the helicopter pilot’s job is that much easier and the casualty is evacuated much more quickly.

The following tips are those for rescues involving rigid hull inflatable boats or inflatable boats, typically the type used by Divers and RIBsters.

To successfully and safely lift a person from a RIB that is heeling, rolling and yawing can best be described as a team effort. The skipper should position the crew to keep them all within visual range. Be aware of the wind direction.

Prior to the arrival of the helicopter:

01. Ensure all loose items on the boat are secured.

02. Remove hats and baseball caps etc. Losing a hat whilst the helicopter is directly overhead is an unnecessary distraction for everyone in the RIB, and can be sucked up into the aircraft's engines.

03. Remember that when the helicopter is overhead the sea will flatten, that the downdraft will be severe and it is virtually impossible to talk.

04. Consider routine hand signal drills with your RIB crews in the event of a needed helicopter lift. Ensure your crew takes direction from the skipper.