Drill, baby, drill
November 13, 2012
About a week ago, the crew of the aptly named Guard, a Crowley Maritime escort/harbor tug in San Francisco, pulled a man
from the water outside the Golden Gate Bridge. According to Crowley’s press
release, Perry Overton, skipper of the Guard,
“noticed the man treading water a little more than a mile and a half from the
Overton and his crew approached the man, tossed him a life ring
while chief engineer Keith Madding donned a survival suit and got in the water
to assist the victim aboard. On the boat, the crew removed the hypothermic
man’s wet clothing and wrapped him in blankets until the Coast Guard arrived
and took over.
The Guard went on
to escort an incoming tanker, as scheduled.
Just another day at the office.
As a company, Crowley is crazy about safety. Every company
meeting, I’ve been told, begins with a “safety moment.” This even applies to
meetings at Jensen Maritime Consultants,
the naval architecture firm that is now a Crowley subsidiary. For boat crews,
the company mandates participation in the annual Crowley Safety Program that
“provides training in cold-water survival tactics, shipboard fire fighting,
medical incidents and other relevant topics [that] give the mariners the skills
and confidence they need to survive in emergency situations,” according to
Crowley. The Guard’s crew had also
trained in-water with survival suits for man-overboard and other water rescues.
The importance of safety drills was a topic that came up
several times at the Pacific Northwest Maritime Conference in Seattle in
September. Both table-top and onboard drills were applauded and endorsed. Julie
Keim, owner of Compass Courses, a
maritime training school in Edmonds, Wash., said that in addition to frequent
drills, doing a post-drill debrief can be just as useful.
still wondering why some guy was treading water in the 55° ocean outside Golden Gate, but
he probably wasn't doing a drill.