The Northwest Maritime Academy Featured in Pacific Maritime Magazine
This months Pacific Maritime Magazine is loaded with great features and articles and Kathy Smith has done an outstanding job featuring some of the training options for mariners here in the Pacific Northwest. In the Lifeboat Skills portion of the piece Kathy Smith writes:
The Northwest Maritime Academy (NWMA) located in Gig Harbor, Washington, provides a variety of Maritime Emergency Response Training to professional mariners. Recently, NWMA received Coast Guard approval to position its multipurpose gravity davit at the Port of Seattle’s Smith Cover Cruise Terminal at Pier 91. “We will be providing a variety of courses there, from Proficiency in Survival and Rescue Boats to the PSCRB Ltd.,” says Captain Thomas E. Bliss Academy Director.
NWMA also provides other courses such as Able Seaman, HUET (Helicopter Underwater Escape Techniques) and the USCG Approved OUPV (Six Pack) and 100 Ton Masters Captains Licensing Courses. The training curricula is endorsed by the Pacific Maritime Institute.
Captain Patrick Boyle, Program Administrator, says the cruise industry, in particular Holland America, which is homeported at the Port of Seattle, is onboard with the new gravity davit. NWMA is also targeting the commercial fishing market. “We’ve put a lot of effort into attracting business from those industries, those market shares,” he says. “This area is underserved, and there continues to be a number of accidents each year related to survival craft.”
NWMA uses a modern enclosed lifeboat. “This is very similar to the types of lifeboats that would be used onboard cruise ships,” says Captain Boyle. “And even though systems are different, this davit system uses the same convention, the same procedures.”
Captain Boyle expects that a number of mariners may also find their way to the NWMA due to part of the new Manila Amendments. He says the new regulations are quite specific about mariners demonstrating their ability to use the sea painter, use the engine, get underway, get control, and use the hydrostatic interlock unit. “The Coast Guard has said that as long as a crew member can demonstrate that they’ve worked at least one year in the last five years and they’ve participated in drills, that they will be good to go, and they don’t really need to demonstrate their proficiency in the launch and recovery of survival craft.” Trouble is, he says, mariners in the Pacific Northwest would have taken a lifeboat several years ago, depending on how old they are. But most mariners don’t work onboard ships with lifeboats. “It would be logical that there would be an uptick in training for mariners who need to demonstrate proficiency and cannot prove it solely because of their sea service. And that would mean NWMA would be a great candidate for that.”
NWMA and the US Maritime Academy teamed up to develop a telepresence OUPV and 100 Ton Masters Licensing course, and is the first in the nation to be approved by the USCG, according to Captain Bliss. It is delivered via traditional classroom and via telepresence simultaneously. “Our students no longer have to struggle with ferries and commute and the stress and pressure of sitting in a classroom course three nights a week,” he explains. “They can now do so from the comfort of their homes or offices.”
NWMA is also partnering with the Bremerton International Training Center (BITC), run by Bill Gee, as well as the Joint Management Group, to bring a state-of-the-art training pool facility to the BITC 40-acre property. Groups that use the BITC include the Coast Guard and NAVY for Damage Control & Firefighting. The facility is also home to the Army National Guard, CENCOM, which is the Kitsap County 911 Dispatch Center, and WRG Inc. (Gee’s company), which has been designing fire fighting training facilities and courses for decades. “There aren’t any safety training pools where law enforcement, firefighters or civilians, and for that matter, many military and government agencies can train,” says Captain Bliss. Now that the Joint Management Group has approved the project, work is underway to secure funding. “With any luck, at some point during 2018, hopefully earlier than later, we will have a multipurpose safety and survival training pool right in Bremerton.”DOWNLOAD THE FULL ARTICLE HERE