Proficiency in Survival Craft Course: Fostering Leadership on the Open Seas

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“Few go to sea, either professionally on a frequent schedule or for leisure on an occasional basis, ever think that they might become survivors. Most believe it will never happen to them. Nevertheless, the prudent will carefully consider the matter and periodically review their preparations. In the United Kingdom, one in every four people who use the sea for recreational purposes has been involved in a life-threatening situation” (Proficiency in Survival Craft Manual, 2017).
This week at the Northwest Maritime Academy, Capitan Pat Boyle sets his sights on creating new lifeboat commanders onboard Holland America Vessels as he teaches his Proficiency in Survival Craft Course. During times of crisis where the deployment of a life craft is necessary, it is imperative that the mariners have the ability to take control of the situation safely and effectively. Luckily, the experts at Northwest Maritime Academy have created a comprehensive program that will enable mariners to develop the necessary survival skills.
The general objective of the course is to help mariners develop the “skills and knowledge required to perform survival craft operations as required during shipboard emergency response situations”, however Capitan Boyle hopes for more: “each student we see in class is an opportunity to add one more leader onboard our ships to see to it that fellow mariners get home safely.”
Significantly, the maritime industry, particularly the fishing industry, has been ranked by several sources including Business Insider as the deadliest industry in America for its staggering 111.8 deaths per 100,000 mariners. A study done by experts in the Department of Maritime Studies at The Hong Kong Polytechnic University have reported in their study “Fatalities among the world’s merchant seafarers” that maritime disasters and occupational accidents are among the five most prominent causes of death on deployed vessels. Any accident could prove to be fatal on a vessel isolated by miles of open water, where help could be hours or even days away.
During this four-day United States Coast Guard approved STCW course, students will learn valuable survival management and search and rescue skills, with particular emphasis on lifeboat and raft operations. Capitan Boyle will lead the class in simulations, practical demonstrations, and exercises where the students will experience firsthand what it takes to use a lifeboat on the open water. Such experience will be invaluable to these students as they ship out and face the dangers of the ocean.

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