Summer School

Applications for 2022 Summer School are closed and the course is fully subscribed, however if you would like us to notify you when the application for next years’ summer school is open – please do sign up to our newsletter.

More about Summer School…

The course is generously supported by UWC Atlantic and Reardon Smith and subsidised by Atlantic Pacific, enabling those that are wanting to volunteer in search and rescue to apply.

During a 10 day course, participants will learn skills in Search & Rescue on the water, Search & Rescue theory on land and an introduction to maritime skills. We will also be delivering our incredibly comprehensive Casualty Care course with a certification on successful completion and we will be delivering our Psychological First Aid course, along with a series of lectures delivered by industry experts and experienced Search & Rescue operatives.

The course is a fully residential and participants will be accommodated in the grounds of the United World College of the Atlantic, situated in the incredible setting of St. Donat’s Castle and on the stunning South Wales coastline.

Each of the training days will involve 3 sessions that will take place on the sea, at the seafront and in the classroom and at the end of the course you will have been provided with the introductory skills to becoming a SAR operative.

The Summer School includes the following training:

SAR Fundamentals

  • Basic seagoing with SAR skills
  • SAR Theory
  • Coordinating SAR exercises

Casualty Care

  • Detailed training in providing aid to injured and drowned casualties
  • An internationally recognised qualification that is accepted by relevant SAR organisations

Psychological First Aid

  • Learning to provide support to casualties experiencing psychological distress
  • Understanding the demands and pressure experienced by SAR operatives

Evening Lecture Series

  • Lectures delivered by experts in the field

Boat Maintenance and Problem Solving

  • How to repair and maintain SAR equipment in the field
  • Introduction to AP’s boatbuilding programme

This year’s Summer School will take place from the 12th to 22nd of July.
Full board, all-inclusive and course: £550

Transport to and from UWC Atlantic is not included.

Frequently Asked Questions

I have considerable experience but haven't got an RYA Level 2 Powerboating licence, am I still able to indicate my skill level is Helm on the application form?

Yes, we would advise gaining your RYA 2 if possible before the Summer School as it could be a prerequisite in the future for volunteering but it is not necessary to attend the Summer School at Helm skill level.

I have limited experience but I have my powerboat licence -- should I indicate my skill to be Deckhand or Helm level?

We would advise indicating Deckhand level on the application form, but using the personal statement to describe your previous experience at sea.

What should I bring? What kit will be provided?

All of the PPE that you require for summer school is provided by us. We send you a comprehensive welcome pack which outlines things that you need to bring – which included things like a towel, suncream, warm and wet weather (the Welsh summer weather is hard to predict). If you have your own wetsuit that you want to wear instead of ours – then that is fine too.

Am I fit enough to go on the Course?

Necessary strength is needed to get into a boat safely. This is equatable to getting out of a swimming pool without using the steps, and the technique can be practiced in the same way.

What kind of skills and qualifications will I gain?

You will receive a certificate of completion of the AP Summer School, as well as an AP Casualty Care certification providing you meet the assessment criteria.

What's the best way to get there?

We will supply you with comprehensive directions to get to UWC Atlantic College by public transport. If you are driving, free parking is available at the College and it is easy to find using online maps or Satnav.

Do I need to be a strong swimmer? How much time will be spent in the water?

While being a strong swimmer is a benefit, applicants only have to be comfortable being in the water for launching and landing vessels off the slipway. We would recommend that you are able to swim 50 metres without stopping.

What is the food and accommodation like? Will I be sharing a room?

You will be in a four person dormitory which is not the RITZ but perfectly nice. We place a lot of emphasis on teamwork and the environment is similar to that of a rescue mission or volunteer situation. The catered food in the castle is usually varied enough to meet everyone’s expectations. There are tea and coffee facilities in the participant house.


Will there be opportunities to volunteer on missions at sea when I complete the course?

We cannot guarantee a fast track to a mission, however we are recognised and held in high esteem by other NGOs currently active in humanitarian crises. We believe that if you wish to volunteer, it is worthwhile obtaining skills to ensure that you can do the job well. We will monitor everyone’s performance during the Course and, if desired, advise how participants can improve their skills in the future.

How much future commitment does the charity hope for from people who come on the summer school?

There are no specific stipulations for future involvement with AP or any NGOs on completion of the Course. However, we are a growing organisation and have lots of volunteers. We will be selecting people who we feel are committed to our mission, and while this often means volunteering using the training they have experienced, AP benefits immeasurably from the hard work of skilled people in many different areas in order to operate as a charity.

Who is the typical AP summer school student?

You are!

What would a typical day look like? Will I have evenings free?

The Summer School is full-time and there is rarely a moment doing nothing. Sessions begin at 9am and we are active, usually, until 8pm. The course is intense and we cover a lot of ground: much of the day is spent doing physical activities and this is often followed by evening lectures. You will need to get sleep every night — though previous participants have always found time to socialise with like-minded individuals in the evenings!

What will it be like staying at UWC Atlantic College?

You will be staying on a stunning 350-acre campus (which includes a medieval castle where meals are served) with families and other guests of Atlantic College. Whilst we want you to enjoy your experience, we ask that you show respect and consideration for those that live on campus. This will include abiding by the College’s smoking policy and only using designated smoking areas.

What kind of food do they serve at AC?

The canteen provides a wide range of food and if you have any dietary requirements, then please advise us what they are so they can be accommodated for in advance. Atlantic College is an international school with students from many different cultures and therefore they are very experienced in providing a suitable range of food.

If I attended a previous Summer School, haven't I already done the Cas Care Course?

Yes.  If you have already completed casualty care on previous courses, you will be given the option to resit it again, for the purposes of revision and/or recertification.

This is worthwhile doing because the Atlantic Pacific Cas Care Cards have been revised so we will be delivering a new version of the course, which now contains extra parts of the syllabus.

Apart from graduates of 2019’s Summer School, previous participants will not have covered the new content of the course.


If I previously attended the Summer School, can I return in 2022?

While we are hugely grateful to a loyal contingency of AP crew who wish to return, even the next year, to the Summer School, we would prefer those who have not attended before in order to increase accessibility to the training. We are also hoping to organise more events of training sessions for previous graduates in the coming years.

Statements from Participants

We had a great time learning the essential skills for volunteering in search and rescue environments. The sessions were intensive, and we spent our days in practical sessions on the water and learning theory, then in the evening we had interesting lectures on boat design and PTSD. After our evening sessions were over, we usually then went to the local pub, or stayed in the halls chatting and enjoying new friends, unwinding ready for the next intensive day. It was full on and tiring, but very useful and enjoyable. My top tips are: bring sunscreen, be prepared for an intense time with your days and nights full of learning, and try to get as much sleep as possible.

Previous Participant Advice

Llantwit is about 2.5 mile walk from the College, so it was great to catch a lift into town to stock up on things that you won’t get at AC, like chocolate snacks to keep you going, alcoholic beverages for after evening lectures, and conditioner for my salty hair.

For seagoing, our group always went 15 minutes before the session started so that we were ready to start, in our wetsuits and PPE right at the beginning of the session so that we could get the full use of the session on the water!

I found it super useful to bring a little notebook and pen with me so that I could take notes on the more complicated things. It really helped me after the course.

The first aid course is amazing, and I feel confident not just when I am volunteering in Greece, but also everyday to jump into action to help where it is needed. I use the Casualty Care Cards that we trained with all the time… I would recommend keeping them on you in everyday life!

The dorms are great, but very basic so make sure you bring ALL your washing/cosmetics/towels… I would recommend bringing two big towels — one for use at the seafront when you come out of the sea and change from your wetsuit into dry clothes and one when you have a shower back at the dorms. It allows the other to dry fully. Also, loose clothing is best when changing in and out of your wetsuit. I always took a dress that I could slip on and off and was always the first to change! Flipflops are also great when you have salty, wet feet after a sea session.

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