Wednesday marked the end of the final exercise of naval conscripts' basic training, in which future sailors of the Estonian Navy spent more than 24 hours aboard life rafts in the water at Miinisadam Naval Base.
The exercise began with an emergency situation on Tuesday, when conscripts had to abandon ship before swimming together to two life rafts on the water, the Headquarters of the Estonian Defense Forces (EDF) described in a press release.
Upon reaching the rafts, the conscripts had to apply all the skills they had learned over the previous four weeks, including pumping water out of the rafts, assigning lookouts and drying their clothes.
"24 hours is a long time, and that time should be used as reasonably as possible — not just waiting for rescuers to arrive," said SCPO Tanel Võrk, director of the training course. "It is incredibly important to make oneself as visible as possible to other ships and aircraft using supplies on the raft and previously acquired skills. As it eventually starts to get cold and uncomfortable on the raft, it's also important to remember supporting your comrades when the going gets tough."
24 hours after the exercise began, a rescue squad from the Police and Border Guard Board (PPA) arrived with a helicopter to evacuate the conscripts from the rafts and bring them back to shore.
A total of 31 conscripts participated in the final exercise, all of whom passed.
Naval basic training is organized by the Naval Training Establishment. The four-week training is four weeks long and begins immediately after the conclusion of the EDF's own basic training.
Editor: Aili Vahtla