Friday, February 5, 2016

FTV Lifeboat Testing

One Sunday morning the Chief Mate Campbell said that it was that time again to test the starboard side lifeboats. What do I mean when I say it is time to test the lifeboats? Well per order of the United States Coast Guard, every 90 days survival crafts must be lowered from the ship and driven in all settings. While we are in port we are able to test the port side lifeboats because we tie up on the starboard side. So, when at anchor we were able to lower the other lifeboats that do not normally get tested in port.

When I started my morning at 0700 I just thought I was going to be taking pictures of the other cadets learning how to lower, start, and raise the lifeboat, but to my surprise Captain Bushy saw me and told me that I was going to get to take a ride in the life boat. I have learned about lifeboats before in my freshman year but I never got to go in one and get lowered to the surface of the water and start it up.

Lifeboats or survival crafts are made for emergency situations when the crew needs to abandon the
ship for whatever reason that is presented. In these situations the lifeboat has enough fuel to run for 24 hours at 6 knots (unit of speed). Inside the lifeboat there are previsions (food and water) for all of the people inside. I am not saying that they have the normal amount of food, but enough to survive for a few days. Depending on what kind of lifeboat and on how many people can fit there are variety of tools for survival and sea sickness medicine.  On the Kennedy we have 6 lifeboats that hold 76 people and 2 that hold 52. Additionally there are 12 life rafts which are small inflatable floats that 8 to 15 people can fit in.

While I was in the lifeboat we all strapped in with our life jackets on, When the mate gave the signal the cadets lowered the lifeboat using the gravity davits (arms that hold the lifeboat in place) moved to the water's surface. It was a little bumpy, but I was able to see all of the cadets release the links to the ship and test all of the steering functions. After the tests were complete the lifeboat was raised back to its original location.

Along for the ride we also had the Chief Mate's lucky charm, minion Bob, come on the ride with us. Chief Mate Campbell is doing a project with his children and minion Bob. Stay tuned to Follow the Voyage and maybe minion Bob will make another guest appearance.

Until next time,

Lifeboat Lab 1
Lifeboat Lab 2
Lifeboat Lab: Stuck in the Mud 1
Stuck in the Mud 2 experiment
On your marks, Get jet, Go! 
Explore the newest Shannon Class of Lifeboats
Could you be a future lifeboat builder?

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