So it's your duty day and you're in the rescue boat - here are some hints and tips. Your club handbook gives you lots of detail, also please make sure you have read the pages on 'outboard engines' and 'how to use the radios'.
Before You Start
Rig up the rescue boat with all the gear:
There should be two people to crew the boat, dressed warmly and suitably to get in the water if necessary. On warmer days, take a bottle of water with you.
Check that the engine starts; ask for help if you don't know how to use an outboard. It's not difficult.
Techniques for Rescuers
People before boats!!
Keep a look out - don't get so engrossed in your conversation that you aren't looking.
If you see someone capsized or in other trouble, get over there at full speed. When you get near them, slow right down and check to see if the crew have their heads above the water and are safe. If all is well and they are just dealing with a normal capsize, keep at a safe distance and let them get on with it, keeping an eye on both this crew and others on the water. Your help invalidates their race so if they're quite happy, you just need to provide moral support.
If there's a problem, get them into the rescue boat - if matters are serious, forget the dinghy, it's insured and replaceable if you can't anchor it. Cold wet people may not listen to reason, so be assertive.
Where to be
make sure you aren't in the way - keep clear of the start line and the 'run-up' area'. Once the race has started, position yourself where you can see the fleet comfortably. If there is more than one rescue boat, stay separate from each other unless necessary; be where the other boat isn't. Keep clear of marks, but on a windy day the gybe mark is where it will all happen so you may want to be near that.
Everyone should know the basics of first aid - if you don't, go and get trained. The main things are to maintain Airway, to maintain Breathing and to maintain Circulation - or as my first aid instructor told me, keep air going in, stop red stuff coming out and dial 999 for a large vehicle with a flashing light.
If you need to call an ambulance, the address details for the club are by the phone. Send one person to the road gate and one to the bottom of the steps to direct the crew when they arrive. Note that anyone who has been unconscious, however briefly, must go to hospital - both partial drowning and concussion can cause later collapse in someone who seemed fine earlier on.
There are wall-mounted and portable first aid kits in the committee room, plus stretchers and blankets. Please let the Rear Commodore House know if anything needs replacing.
Further reading in the RYA Safety Boat handbook, and we run training courses at a very cheap price; so get trained!