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Reader Story: Marine College

by Francois, Dieppe, France

Many years ago, I attended a marine college to qualify for working on ships. Besides an intense academic curriculum, they also were keen on getting us physically fit for life at sea.

Every weekday morning before breakfast we had swim training in the pool, which I really enjoyed. We were told to always swim in seaman's rain suits which felt good and comfortable in the water, but were hard to swim in.

pool swimming in clothes
After the shower we put our swimsuits on.
pool swimming in clothes
Looking cool in the pool.


Morning swims include endurance and strength training for about 40 minutes, like lane swimming, rescue towing, sit-ups and push-ups.

pool swimming in clothes
These swimsuits get you fit.
pool swimming in clothes
Swimming takes effort.
pool swimming in clothes
Hood up reduces drag.


Safety Training

Three times a week we practiced various aspects of sea survival and safety training in the pool. This was good fun, but tough. We had to wear the usual rain suits on top of two layers of clothing, plus boots. Practice included life rafts, clothes inflation for buoyancy, jumping from heights, and swimming underwater.

pool swimming in clothes
Safety training with boots.
pool swimming in clothes
Using boots as floats.
pool swimming in clothes
Boot as buoyancy aid
pool swimming in clothes
Trousers as buoyancy aid
pool swimming in clothes
Trouser inflation
pool swimming in clothes
Floating is always fun.
pool swimming in clothes
Rescue training
pool swimming in clothes
Wading boots
Swimming in clothes has always been part of my fitness training since college. My training continues with a few friends in a local pool to stay fit for life at sea.

Most of us now work for the ferry company, so we come home every day and meet for swim training.