Fishing Vessel Drill Conductor Training Coming Up in January
AMSEA training is accepted to satisfy Coast Guard safety regulations.
Portions of Homer’s commercial fishing fleet are active pretty much any time of year, prosecuting fisheries in Cook Inlet and the Gulf of Alaska, places known for challenging currents and unpredictable weather conditions. In an effort to make boating safer, the Alaska Marine Safety Education Association offers a range of training programs for fishermen, which also satisfy federal safety requirements.
Ashley Green is the training coordinator for AMSEA at its headquarters in Sitka. She talked with KBBI’s Jay Barrett about a drill instructor training class for Homer coming up here in a couple weeks.
"Our courses are Coast Guard-accepted courses and they meet training requirements for commercial fishermen that fish and documented vessels that fish beyond the boundary line, which is generally three miles offshore. However, the content is good for really any especially commercial fishing mariner, but but anybody who's out on the water. So it could be applied to really any vessel. But this is geared towards commercial fishermen as it is a training requirement," Green said.
"And this is for folks on a vessel either the skipper, I guess or whoever he designates to be able to learn this information and pass it on to the rest of the crew, right?" Barrett asked.
"Yes it trains people who participate are trained to be able to conduct monthly safety drills, which is also a requirement on these vessels. They're required to have somebody on board or to be able to have documentation that monthly safety drills are being done. So when they get their dockside exams from the Coast Guard they're going to be looking to make sure that there's documentation that drills are happening and by who and that they are trained," Green said.
"The training covers quite a quite a few things that you know are really vital in case of an emergency working an EPIRB mayday calls, man overboard, firefighting and cold water survival skills. That's quite a wide range of things. How long is the course for?" Barrett asked.
"It's a 10-hour course it usually you get stretched out into 12 hours. If we end up doing a water drill, a water exercise where people will get in the water in their immersion suits to get that full effect of you know, how warm or cold it is. We generally do those in a pool setting to make it as safe as possible. But and then also, writing and getting into a life raft with the immersion suit on, which always seems to be people are bummed if we don't get to do a water exercise, but it gives you the best picture of really the things that you need to know and in an emergency situation, so they're not going into those emergency situations blind and having to make those split second decisions when your brain is on fire basically, in dealing with something that's very traumatic and potentially harmful to yourself or your crewmate," Green said.
"Let's see. How much does it cost?" Barrett asked.
"We've been having to charge due to the changes in funding. From our granters and also the Coast Guard, so we've been charging and trying to keep it still affordable for folks $125. And that goes towards basically a lot of these places that we try and have courses available and imports all around the Alaska but not not only just Alaska but all around the country and there's often travel involved. So paying the instructor and also making sure that they get there and have accommodations to be able to cover that when we used to get direct funding from the Coast Guard. We were able to provide the courses for free based off those scholarship between you know, having to pay for pools having to pay for lodging is not going down anytime soon, travel as well as just the the overall costs just to keep things going has been we haven't been able to subsidize it that much on rare occasions we can, but there's a lot involved," Green said.
AMSEA’s next Fishing Vessel Drill Conductor class in Homer will be on January 15th, from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. at the Best Western Bidarka Inn.
Interested mariners may register online at AMSEA.org or call (907) 747-3287.