The Marine Animal Rescue Team Goes Off Road

Hi all,

Ever wonder how our Rescue team gets to some of these remote locations where injured marine mammals and sea turtles often strand? Carefully! Okay, it's not quite that easy. We have a giant 4x4 that we use to drive down the beach or over rough terrain to reach the animals. In our department we spend a significant amount of time training to make sure we are safe, the animals are safe and that we take great care in preserving the beaches and other sensitive habitats that we travel over. Recently, we decided we wanted more training in off road driving using our winch and self-recovery.

So we enrolled in a training course with Bruce Elfstrom through his company called Overland Experts. Bruce is the leading expert on 4x4 instruction, he is a certified Land Rover instructor and holds multiple other related certifications.

Bruce started our training with a dynamic interactive lecture of 4x4 systems. Using a model he built, Bruce taught us about differentials, power distribution, transmission, suspension, transfer case, beam axle versus independent suspension, tires, and more. We all really enjoyed this part and finally have a clear understanding of the systems and why they are important in different situations.

Now comes the fun part...Bruce and his staff took us out onto the course to put our new information into practice.

Bruce teaches us about beam axle suspension versus independent suspension and about the limited slip differential on the rear of our truck (in reality we learned that in the few seconds after the back right tire left the ground but Bruce also needed to teach about the capabilities of our truck).

Kerry takes our stranding truck to the top of the incline, however the descent on the other side is so steep that the truck never levels out. Kerry has to line her wheels, select her path and put the truck in 4 wheel low and take her foot off the break. Bruce taught us the engine breaking technique in the class room. Bruce also taught us to walk our route before driving it, a safe step that prepared us for each part of the course.

This was an amazing course. We came away with so much information and new driving skills - and this was just the first day! We are all looking forward to our next class, as long as we don't flip the stranding truck that is! Just kidding, we won't (my CFO could be reading this - shhh!). I'll report back after our second day of training with Overland Experts...


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