September 6, 2017
Whale and dolphin rescues rehearsed in Burnham training exercise

At first glance you'd be forgiven for thinking a rescue of a whale or dolphin was underway on Burnham-On-Sea beach this week.

In fact, a unique mammal rescue training exercise has been held in the town involving experts from British Divers Marine Life Rescue (BDMLR) and 20 local volunteers.

The group teamed up with Burnham's BARB Search & Rescue to hold a day-long Marine Mammal Medics training session following several real-life strandings of dolphins and porpoises in Burnham-On-Sea, Berrow and Brean during recent years.

"The day provided a detailed look at how marine life can be helped," said Gavin Parsons, director of BDMLR.

"It included sessions on marine mammal biology and the identification of whales, dolphins, porpoise and seals, before moving on to physiology, first aid and rescue techniques plus health and safety."

"During the afternoon practical session, which was held at the water's edge, the volunteers rehearsed rescues of seals, dolphins and whales."

"Trainees refloated a two tonne life-sized model of a Pilot Whale. The inflatable models were filled with water and are very life-like."

He added: "We did get several passers-by coming over to us to ask if it was genuine and whether any help was needed! Overall, this was a valuable training session to equip local people with essential skills to deal with marine mammals."


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