29 March 2009

Keep your hands away from the cleat!

No photos from our training on the water today, it was just too busy. The crew candidates did far better than I managed the first time out. Credit to the Academy cadre for really preparing folks for the on the water portion of our training.

I had a few notes for my crew today that I thought would be useful to share with everyone.

Couple of points to keep in mind:

- Keep your hands clear of the cleats. It takes practice but line handling where your hands don't approach the cleats is one of those things the QEs notice. See Earl's excellent example in a movie from last week.

- Associated with this, when the coxswain directs you to use a line that does not meet the needs of the situation bend another or ask for a new line. The coxswain will have dozens of things going through their head when line suitability issues emerge (e.g. docking, towing) so you may need to be particularly assertive.

- Now you've seen it done. Spend some time thinking about how these evolutions may work underway -- imagine the various evolutions, throw in some random occurrences and how you would respond. The best surgeons do surgery in their heads when out of the operating room (and likely in their dreams as well). The best operators have already imagined most of the situations they will face and gone over the options and response in their minds. Beyond these evolutions I'd challenge you to do the same kind of thinking about situations involving interactions with other crew members and your coxswain - build some situations where TCT is required. Build some situations where we are outside our capabilities and need to stand down or reorient so we can meet the objective safely.

- The stern tow is the one you need to do fast in our AOR, it is how we get people out of immediate danger -- like from out of the path of a tug. Whenever you get on a boat look to the stern tow gear, how are you going to lead it, is the bit or cleat you'll need clear, do I know what we'll be using as pendants (which become the #1 in a side tow) for skiff hook connections and for handing over a line, where is the heaving line, and do I remember how to bend the pendant to the tow line. Our side tows and other evolutions are more forgiving and you'll often have time to adjust. You all participated when we repositioned Ken's boat further aft in a side tow - we have the time to do this in most cases since we've already used the stern tow to get to a safe location with plenty of sea room.

- Have your quick release clove hitch for tying fenders worked out on rails, lifelines, hand rails, etc. It is the knot you will be tying to all sorts of different objects on different boats. If you only practice on a simulated rail in a horizontal position you may have difficulty on a vertical rail or a lifeline . When you are asked to move a fender the expectation is you'll have it done in under 15 seconds and be ready for the next tasking.

22 March 2009

Photos: Coxswain on the water training day

Flotilla Commander's Report for the April Division 7 Daymark

Here is what I've submitted for the Division newsletter, Daymark 7:
At our March meeting Ed Burns was presented the Auxiliary Commendation Medal for his work at Sector Portland by Captain (Select) Proctor. ASC Danny Dail and Deputy ASC Todd Mains also attended. Ed has been an outstanding ambassador for the Auxiliary at Sector. Bravo Zulu Ed!

We are having our usual busy first quarter with an ongoing BS&S class, multiple members in the crew/coxswain academy and planning for the boating season.

Under Doug Balkema's leadership we are working towards establishment of a detachment in Scappose. I'm excited to have the opportunity to reestablish a presence in the Scappose/St. Helen's area. We've got an outstanding set of members who live in the area to act as the core of the detachment.

We've had a number of new member leads from National and from member direct recruiting in the last few weeks. Thanks to all for your proactive approach towards recruiting and retention.
If you have anything you'd like to add to one of these reports, something that should be added on a regular basis or a topic you would like me to address please let me know.

Congratulations to Ed Burns: Auxiliary Commendation Medal

Presentation of the Auxiliary Commendation Medal to Ed Burns by Captain (Select) Proctor, Deputy Commander, Sector Portland.

13 March 2009

Who Takes Care of the Rescuer?

I thought I would share an article regarding Critical Incident Stress.

Although it is aimed at the Diver, it covers situations and emotions we may experience.

07 March 2009

8WR District Conference - by blog

Our shipmates in Flotilla 4, District 8 Western Rivers , are blogging and live blogging their District conference over the next few days.

Check out the Flotilla blog here

The live blog is on one of the member sites (likely because he has mobile access) here

Why does this matter?

  1. It is always great to see another Flotilla embrace the use of these new tools.
  2. The folks at Flotilla 4 may hear something, or have a different perspective, on the information that came out of NTrain that we've missed.
Bravo Zulu John Halbrook and the Flotilla 4, 8WR team. I'm stealing this idea for our next conference.

02 March 2009

Hello from Cirencester

I thought you'd enjoy this Royal Navy call to service from the Nelson Pub in Cirencester, UK.

No press gangs here today.

Thank you for your service, Daren

01 March 2009

Navrules: Canoes and Kayaks

One of the fairly regular questions we get is where Kayaks and Canoes fit into the Navigation Rules and the requirement to give way. The Navigation Center has some guidance. 

USCG Navigation Center: Navigation Rules FAQ 
13. Where do Kayaks and Canoes fit into the Navigation Rules? Neither the International nor Inland Navigation Rules address "kayaks" or "canoes" per se, except in regards to "vessels under oars" in Rule 25 regarding lights. One could infer that a "vessel under oars" should be treated as a "sailing vessel" since it is permitted to display the same lights as one, but, ultimately the issue of whom "gives way" would fall to what would be "required by the ordinary practice of seamen, or by the special circumstances of the case" (Rule 2).