Sunday, February 21, 2016

CAPTAIN’S LOG – 21 February 2016

We entered the Cape Cod Canal this morning at 0700 under the guidance of our marine pilot, Captain Dale Harper (MMA ’02) of Northeast Marine Pilots.  As we entered the canal the well-wishing family and friends were stoically waiting on the Scusett Beach breakwater, then all along the canal.

With decks decorated with hundreds of cadets in their black uniforms, we meandered through, alternating between half and slow ahead, until we met our McAllister tugs near the railroad bridge. All the way through I was allowing the whip’s whistle to be sounded – usually by cadets on bridge watch, but also by employees that normally are nowhere near the bridge in their normal duties. The whistle is fun, and it elicits great excitement by folks along the canal – I am sure they all think the blast is for each of them – but from our perspective, up there 65 feet in the air, we can see a lot more people to welcome.

We slipped into our berth about 15 minutes before the scheduled time – I don’t think the cadets or parents were upset by that. Captain Howard McVay (MMA ’78) did the docking, assisted by two McAllister tugs. The docking was very smooth, and we had the gangway down well before all the lines were run and on the bitts. We allowed the five cadets that had won “first off” privileges down, soon followed by thongs of cadets and crew.

So, I have to admit that this is my last docking from an annual SeaTerm – I know I’ve a few more over the summer, but the excitement of the sea term completion is hard to replicate when we come in from Boston or the OMC. It was fun – and highlighted by having my four grandchildren come aboard to hang out while I finished my last duties.

So, my congratulations to the 588 cadets that finished the sea term – I know they learned a great deal, and had an experience they will never forget. And for the 102 members of the crew – thank you! Everybody knows that the Captain gets a lot of back slaps, but it is the crew that make the voyage a success.

FTV Welcome Home

After many briefings and ceremonies on the Helo Deck
Countless  Safety drills and training sessions 

Navigating rough seas, winds, and weather

Orders From the Captain

Classes and Exams
Said Goodbye to some Friends
Did some Real Time Science

Had some Great Adventures in four Ports

We Wrapped Things Up

and Headed Home

We're Back
Our First Glimpse of Home

This morning at 8:30 AM the Crew of the Kennedy arrived back at Campus amid cheering from countless family and friends. Welcome Back.

Moving through the Canal

The Gangway is in Place, and here we come.

Saturday, February 20, 2016

CAPTAIN’S LOG – 20 February 2016

We are anchored in Cape Cod Bay – going FWE at 0942.  The weather is dreary and cold, but nothing like yesterday – or last year when we were practically iced in.  We are looking forward to this weak front pushing through today, and seeing a bright day, warm temperatures and light breezes tomorrow.

We should be alongside by 0830 in the morning, and will try to get the gangway down as soon as possible – but please understand that we must get the ship into position, get a few lines run and tight before we let the tugboats go. Once that is done we can comfortably allow personnel to depart the vessel safely, probably around 0930.  I know that it is to be a warm day, but seeking shelter from the cold in the Dining Hall and Bresnahan Hall will help.

Tomorrow is the great exodus from the ship – cadets still have to return for work on Monday and Tuesday – but tomorrow they move gear off.  This allows us to properly clean the berthing compartments before the final inspections.  This is also the one day of the year when cadets elect to not take their families and friends on a tour – but if they want to – the ship is open for cadet escorted tours.

I’ll look forward to waving hello and blasting the whistle in the morning to family and friends – especially the brave souls that trek out onto Scusett Beach breakwater.  Those are dedicated folks!



Every Sea Term we select exceptional cadets for the Annual Master’s Awards. These cadets will be recognized at Morning Formation on 8 April, and will be awarded a citation letter and uniform ribbon. We looked at all 582 cadets aboard this year, have selected 48, and of those, 12 are women. The various departments aboard were asked to select cadets that they have worked with that stand out among their peers, looking for those that made serious contributions to the ship such as putting more time and effort into the tasks they were assigned. This award is not based upon academic performance, but it doesn’t overlook poor behavior. I am very proud of these cadets - Bravo Zulu to you all!

First Class Cadets:

Wesley Brown – Brewster, MA; Martin Cam – Panama City, RP; Brandon Deal – Norton, MA; Nicholas Defuria – Succasunna, NJ; Dominque Dertien – Panama City, RP; Christopher Dwyer – North Reading, MA; Robert Escalante – Ludlow, MA; Jonathan Gardner – Marshfield, MA; Christopher Glass – Epping, NH; Mitchell Guzman – Mashpee, MA; Andrew Holmes – Marlborough, MA; Dillion Jones – Sagamore Beach, MA; James Klose – Elliott City, MD; Matthew Kupiec – Bellingham, MA; Bryce McAndrew – East Greenwich, RI; Thaddeus Montoya – Auburn, ME; Bradley Skeffington – Salem, MA; Todd Solari – Sandwich, MA;

Third Class Cadets:

Steven Anderson – Crownsville, MD; Meghan Brain – Hanson, MA; Patrick Buell - Duxbury, MA; Brianna Caissie – Webster, MA; Alexander Carser – Avon by the Sea, NJ; Mara Footit - Wilbraham, MA; Jamie Hayes – Stonington, CT; Derek March – Groton, MA; Christopher Nowak – Middleton, MA; Justin Pollock – Marston Mills, MA; Joshua Rand – Sandwich, MA; Matthew Singleton – Islip, NY;

Fourth Class Cadets:

James Bouzan – Lakeville, MA; David Brain – Plymouth, MA; Caleb Brown – East Falmouth, MA; Luis Castro Loza – Ponce, PR; Jacqualyn Devore – Chesapeake, VA; Aaron Dixon – Boonton Township, NJ; Jacob Dubois – Shrewsbury, MA; Michael Fitzpatrick – Plymouth, MA; Catherine Haines – East Haddam, CT; Hannah Harm – Westford, MA; Timothy Hird-Devlin – Dorchester, MA; Sarah Karentz – Fort Lauderdale, FL; Brendan Kelly – Drexel Hill, PA; John Piehl – Andover, MA; Brianna Pingree – Mashpee, MA; Jeleni Rodriquez – Brandon, FL; Jules Schellenberg – Boston, MA; Madison Taylor – Longmeadow, MA.

FTV A Quick Look Back

Hello Everyone!

As sea term comes to an end I would like to make one last blog post to wrap everything up. It has been an incredible 52 days at sea, stopping in Panama City, Costa Rica, Aruba, and Key West. The ship went through the Panama Canal twice and even stopped off the coast of Haiti to drop off supplies and meet the ambassador.

We have done so much in these 52 days, whether it be training in class rooms, maintenance on deck and in the engine room, or standing watch. Everyone is coming back with more knowledge  than they had when they left Buzzards Bay 6 weeks ago. Some might think that SeaTerm is all fun and games, but if you have been following our voyage you can see it is most certainly not. All of the cadets,
faculty, and crew work extremely hard at what they do and I commend them for all of it.
Starting with our two week sail down to the coast of Puerto Rico where we did anchoring drills for several days for all of the senior marine transportation cadets to practice as well as all of the marine engineering cadets who assisted from the engine room practice this skill. While seniors were doing this sophomores and freshmen went about their average days, until our Sunday at sea came along and we got to have a little fun!
Boat Drills are practiced as part of the Cadets daily Routine 
We hauled our anchor that day and started making our way off the coast of Ile Vache, Haiti where we were able to meet a few other Mass Maritime cadets who had organized an outreach program where students donated goods. We loaded their skiffs with 16 pallets of humanitarian aid goods and we were even able to meet the US Ambassador to Haiti.
Night Passage through the Panama Canal
After Ile Vache we cruised farther south to go through the Panama Canal! A once in a life time experience for many. Through this 8 hour transit we ended up in the Pacific ocean to our first port of call Panama City.

The Bridge of the Americas Panama City
We spent three days in Panama City where cadets were able to venture through the old city, the new city, and even take part in an eco-boat tour of the canal. Once our three days was up we we headed through the Pacific to Punatrenas, Costa Rica! During the three days in Costa Rica cadets went white water rafting, zip lining, and hit some black sand beaches. Some even hiked in the rainforest to see waterfalls and sloths.
Zip Lining in Costa Rica
A week later we were in Aruba, by far one of my favorite ports. We were able to travel around the island by ATVs, UTVs, and mopeds. Students saw the tourist side and the national park side of
Aruba, where there were natural pools, the natural bridge, and so many more sites. We finished our port visit up on Sunday seeing the Carnival parade which everyone enjoyed.
Aruba Natural Bridge

From Aruba we headed towards home with a stop in Key West Florida. It was the first time the Kennedy has stopped in Key West, but by the success of the visit it probably won't be the last.  On Key West mopeds again were popular, as well as shopping. There were many sites to see like the farthest point south in the Continental US buoy and the Hemingway house and the butterfly conservatory.
Key West a Cadet Port favorite
During this last week the cadets had their final exams day which went well for all of the cadets and leaving everyone happy it is over with. Now we are back to Massachusetts, docked off the coast and watching the weather to avoid storms which we have been lucky to have avoided so far.

Today is what we call Field Day, although not as fun as it sounds because we spend one day of cleaning the ship. We will remain anchored here off the coast of Cape Cod waiting until the pilot ship joins us around 0630 Sunday morning to complete our return to Taylor's point. You will be able to see us manning the rails at the canal entrance around 0730,and then docking at MMA at 0836.    

Once again thank you everyone for reading the blog on the 2016 SeaTerm. I really enjoyed writing for everyone at home and I hope you enjoyed it! For the last time or should I say . . .

Until Next time,

Our cadets are preparing their futures in STEM Careers, if you have become interested in STEM studies try these:

Choosing a STEM Career

Friday, February 19, 2016

CAPTAIN’S LOG – 19 February 2016

We are almost to Cape Cod bay, probably no more than 75 miles as the crow flies – but we still have 260 miles to go around Cape Cod.  But there is no stress with the ship’s ride, or impending bad weather.  Right now it is a balmy 35 degrees, northerly force 4 wind, and clear skies.  Throughout the entire voyage north we have enjoyed pretty good weather – maybe my prediction about three NOAA
weather folks was off – maybe it was that we would get “three times as good a weather”. Perhaps.

I expect that tomorrow I will be announcing the annual Master’s Award recipients – I know the nominations are in, but a cross check of their overall behavior, something some departments do not note, has to be done before we make the selections.

I usually take moment to thank people or organizations that generously gave us help, or services during the sea term.  This year I want to start with the Panama Alumni Club.  They were instrumental in helping to establish the Bushy Panama Student Scholarship, but they also hosted an afternoon reception where all the ship’s officers were invited. We enjoyed great company, good food and drink, and the opportunity to watch our beloved Patriots slip out of the Super Bowl. But we had fun, thank you all for being our amigos!

During the voyage we were assigned Rob Niemeyer for NOAA as our on board meteorologist. Rob did so much more that interpret weather reports. He spends countless hours working with the deck cadets in preparing VOS weather reports that are transmitted back to shore side forecasters. Rob the VOS was joined by Rusty Albaral and Bob Schwartz this last leg – thanks to the NOAA hierarchy for allocated these men to the ship – we really appreciate it.

In Buzzards Bay we recognize Northeast Marine Pilots for their services in and out, McAllister towing for the push here and the pull there in docking and undocking.  The Maritime Administration for dedicated response as ship owner to both machinery and operational issues, especially Marine Surveyor Jeff Brown.

The whole gang of maritime employees – from Annie in shore-side administration, to Billy and Chuck for help before sailing, and support after. Tom and Doug Bardwell of Bardwell Electronics for last minute efforts to make use electronically seaworthy.  The group of officers from the Cape Cod Field Office of the US Coast Guard Prevention Branch and the American Bureau of Shipping for a commitment to make sure we are ready for sea.  John Dauly and Russell Stone of
Ocean Charting Services.  Donnie Spring at Sandwich Ship Supply for those last
minute deliveries of stuff we need.  They all make this trip go a little easier for the ship’s officers and crew – thank you.

FTV Pyrotechnics

We had a rather busy afternoon on the TS Kennedy. At around 1600 we did our boat drill for the week, which was an emergency muster drill. When the alarm sounded we all proceeded to our boat stations where a muster was taken. We then went to our pyrotechnics demonstration.

Smoke Flare
What are pyrotechnics? Pyrotechnics are different devices to use when someone is in distress. This could be a hand flare, parachute flare, smoke flare, or a line throwing device. There are others, but these are just a few that we have on our ship. At this demonstration we had displays of the pyrotechnics we have on board and a description on how to use all of them. For example, a smoke flare is a day signal only. It is good for search and rescue aircraft or vessels to locate you. A hand flare is good for 60 seconds and is visible for about 5 miles depending on the visibility that day. When it is opened and struck it gives off a bright red glowing light. Parachute flares are just like hand flares, but they shoot up where ever you point them. They will burn for 40 seconds and are visible for 30 miles on a good day. All of these pyrotechnics are critical to have on board big vessels. In our lifeboats and life rafts we have 2 smoke flares, 6 hand flares, and 4 parachute flares. In the pyrotechnic boxes we have on the ships bridge wing we have 12 parachute flares and 12 hand flares.
It is important to our training to have all of these pyrotechnics and know how to use them. For the demonstration we light off the flares that are expired so we do not go to use them in an emergency and it does not work. Safety First!

Until next time,
Flares get color from the elements they burn
Thank heavens for flares, which have saved countless lives at sea. They're fantastically simple signaling devices similar to fireworks, but they're designed to communicate a much more direct message in an emergency. Have you ever wondered what they're made of and how they work? Let's take a closer look!

A flare is a tube packed with explosive chemicals that burn very brightly or give off smoke, usually to attract attention in an emergency. The two main kinds are handheld flares (which operate on the ground) and rocket flares (which are fired into the air).

Flare guns fire cartridges packed with colorful chemicals.cartridge loaded with multiple layers of gunpowder (blue), a central fuse (yellow), various chemicals in between that burn to give the colors green (labeled D, bottom), white (F, center), and red (H, top), and some incombustible layers (F and G) in between that keep the signals separate.

What makes a flare fire red or orange? Just like a firework, it's the chemicals inside, which are chosen specifically so the flare burns brightly and with a specific color. The main ingredients of flares include strontium nitrate (which provides a bright red or orange-red flame), and magnesium (which burns very bright white light).

Chemical elements burn different flame colors because their electrons have different energy levels. T
Click here to Learn more:
Flame Tests
Flame Test Lab and the Electromagnetic Spectrum 
Properties of Elements- Virtual Lab

Thursday, February 18, 2016

FTV Machine and Tool Shops

Hello Everyone!

What if something breaks that is very important and we are 300 miles away from land? Well because we have engineers on board we are able to make, for the most part, anything we need. Say we have a pipe breaks down in the engine room and we do not have a spare. On the ship we have the ability to make what we need. We have the tools and the people that know how and what to make. On the ship we have two main rooms to make parts that we do not have. One is called the machine shop. The other is called the tool shop; this one is located in the engine room for quick repairs. The machine shop is where the larger tools are kept with some materials.

Our Cadets at school take a class called machine tool technology to become familiar with the tools of machine technology. This course provides practical experience in the use of machine tools. Emphasis is on shop safety, use of measuring instruments, hand tools, horizontal band saw, drill press, screw cutting lathe, electric arc welding, oxyfuel welding, and oxyfuel cutting. Cadets have specific projects like making a pipe and other critical parts on a ship. Another cool task that our engineers learn how to do is welding. This is also done on the ship and we have the equipment to do so. Welding is very important on a steel ship because if somehow a hole were to appear in the hull we would need to fix it so the ship would not take on water.
Machine Room Essential Tool--A Lathe
A lathe is a machine tool that rotates the work-piece on its axis to perform various operations such as cutting, sanding, knurling, drilling, or deformation, facing, turning, with tools that are applied to the work-piece to create an object with symmetry about an axis of rotation.

Lathes are used in wood-turning, metalworking, metal spinning, thermal spraying, parts reclamation, and glass-working. metalworking lathes can also be used to produce parts,plane surfaces and screw threads.

As you can see if we need something we cannot just drive down the street to Home Depot or Lowes. We are out own repair store and handy man.

Until Next time,


Learn more about machine tool technology

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

CAPTAIN’S LOG – 17 February 2016

We have been pretty lucky on the weather so far. We had a strong band of thunderstorms off Florida yesterday morning, then the wind shifted to the west and the skies cleared. Not exactly what the marine forecast had, but we’ll take it.

Last night’s sunset was spectacular with swirling cumulus clouds in vivid red and magenta.  This morning was clear with moderate westerly wind. The forecast up the coast remains pretty good, and Saturday and Sunday in Cape Cod look like mild temperatures and seasonable wind.

If we have not made enough fast legs on this voyage so far, we have just speeded up the engine up to about 88 RPMs, high enough to satisfy an annual Maritime Admiration sea trial requirement.  Where our plan calls for about 13 knots, we will top over 20 knots for the next eight hours. Don’t get an ideas that means we will arrive early –maybe in Cape Cod Bay on Saturday - but our docking in Buzzards Bay remains Sunday at 0830.

FTV Ship's Time

World Time Zones
Hello Everyone! 

A few people have been asking about how we keep time on the ship! The answer to that question is whenever we are going in to a different time zone and we will be getting off the ship we change our clocks to the corresponding time zone. For example when we cross back in to the Eastern Standard Time zone we will be moving our clocks back one hour. However if we are just sailing through a time zone and not stopping we keep our time the same. An example of this was when we were off the coast of PR and Haiti we did not switch our time zones.

When we are in port we always stay on what is called "ship time". This means that even if it is 0800 on land, it will still be 0900 on the ship, and that is the time the ship would use to keep the ship on the correct schedule for watch duty and meal times. Often times to avoid confusion for the cadets on shore leave we switch it to whatever time it is in port. But for most of the time on the Kennedy we do switch to whatever time zone we are in if we are getting off the ship.

Until Next Time,


Watch Real World: Longitude and Time Zones

Keeping the time is crucial to have good results from celestial navigation. Because the Earth is in constant rotation, moving 15° each hour, a four seconds error in the time figure will result in a position error of up to one nautical mile.

Longitude is the coordinate affected by time errors. In fact, if you don't have the correct time, you can't calculate your longitude using celestial navigation. This problem challenged navigators and scientists (even Isaac Newton! ) for centuries.

By the end of the 17th century it was generally accepted that no watch could ever be built that, could perform well enough to be used as a navigation tool. Scientists hoped they could find a way to adjust navigation watches using the Moon position or the eclipses of Jupiter satellites. That was their best bet to help seamen.
Fortunately a man called John Harrison proved they wrong. By designing and building a series of precise timepieces, with innovative mechanical features that corrected the effects of boat movement and temperature variation, Harrison succeeded in creating a new and important navigation device: the marine chronometer.

Understanding Time Zones
Try this time zone quiz
Read a Time Zone Map