11:30am Wednesday 15th February 2012
By Rene Gerryts
THE first graduates from Lyme’s new fishing college are now qualified for a life on the high seas.
The 15 students of the Fishing and Boatman’s College were presented with their certificates by Lyme Regis Mayor Sally Holman on Monday as part of the college’s official opening ceremony, also attended by Deputy Lord Lieutenant of Dorset Mrs Minnie Churchill.
Coun Holman said the college in the Cobb Centre was a real feather in the cap for Lyme Regis and something for everyone to be proud of.
She said: “All the people on the course were very impressed with the way it was set up and run. The emphasis on all the requirements to have all the safety tickets is important and means they are going to be in a good position for getting jobs.
“It was fantastic to see these kind of courses being established in Lyme in that Cobb building – it is an ideal centre.
“The whole organisation and the appreciation from those doing the course was just immense.
“Let’s hope the funding will be there to run more similar courses so more guys will be safer at sea.”
The candidates, who ranged in age from 15 to 50 came from Weymouth, Bridport, West Bay, Lyme Regis and Bridgwater.
All passed the three-week basic seamanship course learning about safety, gear and catch handling, net-mending, rope work, stability, navigation and boat-handling.
The course introduces ways of making static gear that go back hundreds of years for responsible fishing.
Students also learn about legislation, quotas and funding.
The final week is spent on mandatory safety courses in sea survival, fire-fighting, first aid and health and safety.
After the course graduates get help to find berths on fishing vessels.
The course was funded by European money and organised by Stephen Postles.
He said: “We will be running more courses, and hope to have a programme for the rest of the year.
“There are a lot of feed-offs from the fishing industry. We are training people not just to go out to sea but also to work in related businesses – the processing side, working in fish hatcheries; we run filleting courses and we have a sea food restaurant to teach people how to cook fish. We also want the Cobb Centre to be available to other people and organisations.”
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