British Divers Marine Life Rescue
British Divers Marine Life Rescue (photo: Steve Marsh)
British Divers Marine Rescue


2007-09-09 10:17:04

Two medics, a boat and a gull?

On Saturday 8th & Sunday 9th September, Gary Bolton & I went to Blythe Park at Wilsthorpe to take our Power Boat Level 2 Course. We were blessed with good weather & it was great to be out on the water in a powerboat again. We were even visited by an inquisitive Common Seal who came to check out the boat! We spent two days being tested on man overboard drills, emergency stops & u-turns and once these were perfected we headed into Bridlington Harbour to practice manoeuvring in small spaces & other boat handling skills.

Whilst sitting in the Harbour I noticed a juvenile Herring Gull dive (I know I should have been paying more attention to my instructor!) When it returned to the surface it kept jerking its head in an unusual way. At first I thought it was just the way that the gull was feeding but after a minute I realised that there was something not quite right. I apologised to the instructor for interrupting him & asked if he minded if we took the boat over to take a closer look. I took the driving seat & Gary got himself at the bow of the boat. Once we were along side the bird Gary scoped it out of the water & the true horror of what had happened was revealed. The gull had a fishing hook through its beak & wedged into its nostril which was, in turn, attached to a length of fishing line & yet another fishing hook was through the gulls webbing on its foot. Every time the gull pulled his head up its leg was jerked forward & every time it tried to push away with its leg its head was forced under the water! If only people realised the damage that litter can have in the marine environment! Gary held the bird still & I cut the fishing line. Next I got some pliers to cut the fishing hook & then carefully removed the hook the same way it went in to limit the damage. Both hooks removed we checked the bird over & were pleased to see that there were no visible signs of any trauma. Happy that the gull was fine we released it back into the water. After a quick swim round the boat it shook its head & swam off & we returned to our reversing assessment.

So the end of the weekend found 2 medics, tired but happy at being able to save a Herring Gull whilst passing their Power Boat 2 exam! Maybe a bird rescue could be an additional feature in the Powerboat curriculum!

Tracy Guild
MMM Filey