You do the training, but you hope you'll never have to use it. The twin incidents which are in most cases likely to cause the death of a sailor - a knock by the boom which renders you unconscious and at the same time sends you overboard, were experienced in real life this week, but another sailor's quick thinking and life-saving training saved the life of the victim.
British medical student Stewart Brown, aged 21, was the hero after his quick-thinking and training helped him save the life of his 27-year-old friend, Dave Smith, who is still in hospital with a fractured skull.
Stewart, who is currently a third year medical student, said: 'While sailing we were performing a manoeuvre that involved us moving from one side of the river to the other.
'The metal boom at the bottom of the sail came across at about 100mph and while we ducked, Dave didn’t and it hit him on the side of his head.
'It left a big dent in the boom, knocked Dave out and the force of the impact sent him a couple of feet away from the boat.'
Stewart, a lifelong member of Budworth Sailing Club, dived in after him and, remembering his training, pulled him onto his chest so his face was out of the water.
Fortunately, a rescue helicopter and doctors were at a fun day half a mile away at the time of the incident on Sunday.
Stewart, who was trained by The Lifesaving Society and has a Duke of Edinburgh gold medal, said: 'His family are very thankful. 'It would be impossible to say if someone else had been in my position what would have happened. He was face down in the water for 30 seconds and it’s been estimated the time overboard to the shore was 15 minutes so we made the best out of a very bad situation.'