The desire of the volunteer lifeguards of Virtsu to acquire a rescue aid from thin ice ended with the invention of the “Virtsu seal”, ie a boat with wheels.
The weather conditions in Estonia have changed to such an extent that weak ice is becoming one of the most important sources of danger. Ice may not reach a safe diameter (10cm) in the long run, but attracts children and brave people.
Professional rescuers use a rescue board or a Hanseatic board to rescue a person sunk through the ice. In winter conditions, the victim can be pulled to the table and immediately started with warm-up or other assistance.
“Hansa table is expensive and not the most convenient for volunteers. For years, I have been looking for a suitable tool for safe operation on thin ice. It should be light, compact, with good load-bearing capacity and stability, and easily portable on thin ice, ”said Tauno Tähe, head of Virtsu’s sea rescue team.
The star found the blank offered by Marine24 or Sportyak 245 boat, which is many times cheaper than the Hanseatic table. With the help of Janno Aser, the leader of the West Estonian Voluntary Reserve Rescue Group, he welded thicker legs to the boat and started the experiments.
By now, the tool has passed several tests and received the nickname “Virtsu seals” from satisfied volunteers.
“It can carry up to 400 kg, it can be dragged on ice and also used as a sled, there is room for a person to lie down, so a subcooled person can be packed there and transported safely over a long distance,” Tähe explained.
Due to the bottom of the catamaran type, the “Virtsu seal” suffers from being supported on board, the floats act as sled legs. An engine can be attached to it in case you need to cross wider ice cracks or evacuate people from a moving ice bank.
“So far, tests during exercises have shown that the boat can be used very well as an aid on thin ice, even a boat full of water can carry four people on the water,” Tähe added.
According to Tähe, the capacity of Virtsu volunteer lifeguards has significantly increased last year: “Wouldn’t this tool do anything if the lifeguards did not have proper dry suits? Fortunately, we were able to acquire them through the county support round of community security. ”
Photos: Rescue Association
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