While the Cool Route does not extend into the frozen zones of the Arctic, a report produced in 2014, by Cork Institute of Technology colleague, Professor John Barrett, co-financed under the Northern Periphery and Arctic Programme’s Small Craft Emergency Response and Survival Training for Arctic Conditions (SMACS) Project, provides a very valuable addition to the Cool Route shared knowledge base. (http://www.northernperiphery.eu/en/projects/show/&tid=106)
The SMACS project was led by Professor Barrett at the Nimbus Research Center, at Cork Institute of Technology and included the training schools of the Icelandic, Norwegian and Swedish lifeboat services, and Chalmers University in Sweden. In total, over 600 people and groups were engaged from 10 different countries. These personnel included individuals, SAR services, Coastguards, Navies, maritime associations, public agencies and mariners involved in sailing the Arctic.
As noted in SMACS- Climate change is making ever larger areas of the Arctic maritime region accessible for small craft in the fishing, tourism and leisure sectors. However, the Arctic still remains a hazardous region for inadequately prepared mariners.
Climate change is altering weather and ice patterns and creating new dangers for all mariners in the region. Growing large vessel activity in the tourism, cargo, mining and oil exploration sectors presents additional hazards to the safe navigation of small craft.
There is therefore an urgent need for safety and emergency response training for Arctic mariners. However, while such training is regulated and widely available for large vessel crew, this is not the situation for small craft mariners who find it more difficult to access Arctic-specific training.
SMACS delivered its objective to develop survival training for skippers and crews of small craft entering the Arctic. The training modules are due to go back on line soon.
The Cool Route is pleased to acknowledge this excellent work and thanks Professor Barrett and his colleagues for their kind permission to add the SMACS training programme to the Cool Route knowledge base. The extensive training tool, which provides links to practical video demonstrations and other referenced resources, is available for download here