Silly me, I didn't think about anyone not knowing what a survival suit race would be or what it would be about. If you have ever watched the Deadliest Catch you have seen a survival suit. Bright red, looks like a giant rubber suit that covers you from head to toe and only your face is showing. It is a pain to get in but hey if will save your life it is well worth the effort to get in it.
Kodiak is a small town with a large fishing community. We are the second largest island in the U.S. Our island is the beginning of the Aleutian chain. Our fishing fleet can be exposed to some of the worst weather you have ever seen. It is a horrible fact that too many lives have been lost to the sea. Survival suits are one way that you have of trying to survive if you go down.
If a boat is sinking you put on your survival suit, life rafts are deployed and launched. Sounds like it should be easy to get in. Wrong... By the time the life raft has been launched it could be 100 yards away and the crewmembers of the boat are going to have to swim to the life raft. Our waters are cold even in the summer. Right now it is around 38 Fahrenheit, crab season the water is below freezing, and the wind has a habit of howling!
Every crewmember is required to get in their survival suit in a certain time to be able meet USCG regulations. Everyone practices, even the Coast Guard has survival suit training.
Ok so I have gone on about the survival suit so here is where the race comes in. During Crab Fest we have a race, a "friendly" competition to see what team can put on their suits, and swim to a life raft the fastest.
Each member of the team must:
Run down a ramp
Unpack and don a survival suit
Swim 100 yards of cold teeth chattering water
Get into a life raft
The team with the fastest time wins.