Sunday, January 11, 2015

FTV Finally at Sea!

Yesterday we set sail for Sea term 2015. The ship was fired up and loaded down with everything we need to complete our 2 month voyage. The cadets donned their uniforms for the “manning of the rails”. Manning the rails is a long standing tradition for mariners and sailors when entering and leaving port. All the cadets lined the entire exterior of the vessel and stood at Parade Rest (a military rest position) while the ship was untied and departed the pier. The parents, friends, and family of the cadets lined the both the dock, Cape Cod Canal, and Academy Drive with signs and banners, some even blasted music or blew horns. The excitement and pride in the air was contagious as our ship headed out for its annual voyage.

But what does “setting sail” actually mean and how do you prepare for it. When the TS Kennedy departs from Buzzards Bay there are many factors that have to be in play. Before the ship leaves the dock, we have to pick up a person referred to as the Pilot. (Not like an airplane).

 The Pilot is a seasoned mariner who is an expert in a particular area of operation, in our case, the Cape Cod Canal. The purpose of the Pilot is to help Conn (drive) the vessel in an area that may be hazardous or unfamiliar to the ships master. Most every port or inner water way will have some sort of pilot station. Once the ship is past and clear off the pilotage area,

The pilot boat pulls up alongside the ship and climbs a ladder hanging off the side of the ship to get aboard the pilot boat. As we left Buzzards Bay our alongside (preparations) have come to an end. The cadets were trained, ready and excited to begin their next big task, the actual voyage itself.

Each day, pilots are asked to take all sizes and types of vessels through narrow channels in congested waters where one miscalculation could mean disaster. They are trained, highly professional individuals who judgments must be spot-on for the hundreds of decisions they must make at every turn to bring a vessel safely to its berth or out to sea. Find out more about careers as a Ship Pilot.

Test your mind! Play the Navy Proving Grounds Sea Trials widget

One the pilot returned to his own boat the Ships captain (master) leads the rest of the trip. Here are some of the jobs of the Captain performs.

Find out how Great Navigators of the past stayed on course — that is, the historical methods of

Watch this interactive Captain's Journal to find out about the ship captains job of the Constitution during the War of 1812.

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