Thursday, February 21, 2013


An Important Notice: The Kennedy to Arrive home 1 day early due to inclement weather see today's Captains Blog for details

In a previous blog I talked about the Marine Transportation Majors (aka deckies) jobs while on Sea Term. The deckies are responsible for mooring stations, anchoring drills, and launching lifeboats. In addition to those tasks the Marine Transportation Cadets man the bridge. 

Their training starts in the classroom on campus and here on the here on the T. S. Kennedy. All, the 4/C cadets, have deck classes, training, maintenance, and watch. For watch, the 4/C cadets cycle through their stations each hour. Beginning at the Quarter Deck as a they make a preset inspection throughout the ship every hour. 
The watch cadet carries an electronic wand that is waived at each of the 22 checkpoints to assure no checkpoint is missed. Other watch duties are carried out at the Bridge where cadets gain skill in steering the ship under the direction of the Cadet Officer of the Watch (COOW). The cadets on steering watch keep track of the control panel. On the bridge the upperclassmen use navigation tools have to determine the ship's course. Out on the bow the watch cadets stand on the stern to keep a good lookout. If something comes into sight, like another ship or a sail boat, it is the duty of the stern watch cadet to deliver the news to the bridge via the Sound Powered Phone.

The marine transportation cadets are charged with the maintaining the deck, the perform all of the needle gunning, painting, and make sure that the deck has traction. They swab the deck and scrub the bulkheads, and sand the deck to eliminate rust stops, the ship's worst nightmare, Keeping the ship presentable is the deck maintenance crew's number one priority.

While on the Kennedy, the deckies are trained to man and maintain the lines that the ship uses for docking. One of the skills they are required to demonstrate for final exams is in knot tying. They must be able to tie the bowline, double bowline, square knot, figure eight knot, the beckett, and the double beckett. In addition they must learn to tie the hitches used to keep the ship tied up to the dock. The hitches needed to tie up a ship include: two round turn half hitches, a clove hitch. Additionally, they tie a monkey's fist, a special hitch tied as a weight on the end of a line that will be thrown on the dock. Other knots are needed for hoisting lines such as the French Bowline and the Bosun's Chair, which can be used to hoist people. 

Cadets also have to be able to splice a line. If you look at a piece of rope, it looks like it is braided in a special way. Splicing lets you figure out the pattern of the fibers so that two pieces of line can be re-connected. If you know the crown knot, you can back splice a piece of line. Another type of splice that cadets learn is the

eye splice; this splice takes one piece of line and makes a loop at one end, without any knots.

Throughout their four years the Marine Transportation majors learn about map and navigation on the open sea. On the Kennedy Bridge the upperclassmen put those maps to use. Some of the navigation skills they learn are to use a sextant to navigate using the stars and to use plotting charts to determine the location of the ship.

Pretty cool stuff!  Alicia

Learn to tie notes like a sailor with these activities:

Here are how knot tying is used in marine careers (scroll down to student pages section)
Try some rope tying math
Here is a rope tying tutorial
Here is a 6 knot challenge.
A knot tying game


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