Saturday, February 7, 2015

FTV Life Boat Safety Inspections

Guest Blogger 3/c Jonathan Gardner

Often days of maintenance aboard the Kennedy are long hard working days sweating under the hot sun and while getting a little dirty. Today however was a little different and we got to do a safety inspection of all the port (left) side life boats, aboard the Kennedy we have a total of 8 lifeboat, 4 on the port and 4 on the starboard (right) side. Our job was to test the lifeboats. With my luck when it was my turn to be lowered down a fuse tripped we got to have a whole 40 minutes of bonding time while bobbing in the water,we got served some drinks via bucket and heaving line to keep us hydrated. For me, this equipment test duty was a great opportunity as it will be a job I will have as a third mate upon graduating. And one thing I learned for sure is to always be ready for the worst and bring a bottle of water  because those enclosed lifeboats get hot quick. Needless to say it was a long morning so when it came to afternoon maintenance we got to avoid the heat and lower the last boat on the port side. You can see this process in the video below
Once the life boat tests were complete we tested the diesel jet drive fast rescue boat that is located just forward of the helo deck This rescue boat is unlike the others as it is an open boat and is also a single davit (lowering mechanism) which makes is sway a little more, some people compare the lowering of this boat into the water to a rollercoaster ride.  Let me give you an idea of how it is lowered.  There are two rigid arms that are pushed up by a hydraulic system so that the boat is hanging over the side, as you look down there is nothing but water.  Next you wait for the Bosun Tom Tucker to release the break which drops you down feet, making your stomach feel like it is in your throat, then you hear a splash in the water. To me that’s the fun part but for others not so much.  Here is a video of our test.

Once we got into the water we picked up some seniors to come aboard to get some hands on 
training. This vessel is far different from your typical outboard or inboard engine in terms of boat handling so it was great to get some experience not to mention we had one of the best teachers sitting right next to us the whole time to give us tips and tricks. That person was the Bosun Tom Tucker who is Fast Rescue Certified and is the boat driver of the vessel if ever there is an emergency situation After going through a couple groups of anxious seniors who wanted their shot to drive the fast rescue boat, we returned to the davit and brought the fast rescue back up 60 feet to its home and secured her for sea. Launching lifeboats and training aboard the fast rescue boat is not a bad day of maintenance duty if you ask me.

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