Wednesday, 31 March 2010

Safety training at Sea

Hi all

Today I got to participate in safety training on a 20 meter long research vessel called the R/V Fulmar.

The R/V Fulmar is used by the Sanctuary for oceanic research off of the Californian Coast. It is not just any boat; from this boat, scientists can SCUBA dive to research shallow water habitats, and operate remotely operated vehicles with underwater cameras in water too deep to dive. The boat also serves to teach people about the ocean and it responds to emergencies out at sea. To work on the R/V Fulmar, everyone needs to go through safety training each year.

Here I am waiting to board the R/V Fulmar in Monterey Bay. Whenever I am near or on a boat, I always wear my orange life jacket! (Notice the sea lions in the water behind me.)

In training, we prepared for worst-case scenarios out at sea, such as a sinking ship or what to do in case of a fire. If you had to go into the ocean, you would need protection against the cold (water is 17 C.), and you would need to stay afloat until help arrived. This is what immersion suits are for.

Here I am in a toasty warm immersion suit that only took me 30 seconds to get into! Can you guess why the suit is bright orange? You certainly wouldn’t miss me if I was bobbing around in ocean

Here I am with the Captain of the R/V Fulmar in the wheel house. The captain of a ship has to go through a lot of training and have many hours of practice in order to get his (or her) license. He must be able to steer the boat in any conditions, as well as help the research team and assist in emergencies at sea.
Just like a map on land helps people find their way, charts are used to navigate at sea. This can bge more difficult than on land as their may be no point of reference to know where you are and there definitely aren’t any road signs. Here I am next to a chart which can be put into a computer. The captain will use this chart to plot his direction and to stay on –course (even without roads or road signs).

Here I am next to another computerized navigation system. This information helps the captain plot his course and tells how deep the water is so the boat doesn’t run into anything underneath it. I hadn’t really thought before about all things you need to keep a boat and everyo0ne on board safe. I think you must be very clever to be a captain because there is so much you need to know and do. Whew! It makes my head spin just thinking about it.

I think I need to tap a nap

Bye for now Ed

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