Thursday, March 30, 2006

Back to School

So this week it's "back to school" for me. Unfortunately, Will Farrell wasn't in the class to keep us entertained. All in all though it was worth it. The class was held at Maritime Professional Training (MPT) Center just a few blocks from where I'm living. And it is something that if you don't have it under your belt, then you're going to wind up missing out on about 80-90% of your job opportunities.

Besides that, it's just a good course to have as it does boost knowledge, confidence, and ability in dealing with emergency situations if they should occur.

Day 1 was about personal safety and survival: Learning about the various floatation devices, life jackets, survival suits, life rafts, etc.

Day 2 was spent at the pool putting the gear into action. Quite a funny site watching us in our "Gumby" suits (5mm fully enclosed wetsuits designed to boost survival time in freezing water from 10 minutes without, to 6 hours with.) jump into the pool from the 10ft. diving board and righting a life raft and climbing into it.

Day 3 was all about taking blood pressure ( I always wondered what those numbers represented), helping a choking victim with abdominal thrusts (formerly called the Hymlick) and learning/practicing CPR.

Day 4 was basic fire fighting information and technique in the classroom.

Day 5 things really heated up when we went out to the Broward Fire Academy and got to put ourselves to the test. Fortunately it was a fairly cool day, but there was still a serious dehydration factor as we were literally sweating buckets.

We got to extinguish a fire with, what else, but a fire extinguisher. Then we crawled around on our hands and knees in the pitch black through a maze as practice for our "Search and Rescue". Again in the pitch black we used our air respirators to crawl around through a smoke filled apartment to locate and retrieve a victim. It was no wonder the guy didn't make it out of the apartment on his own, he had no arms or legs!

The finale was a simulated ship fire. My three man team climbed up a container and then climbed down into it trailing the firehose. Checking the door for heat and undoing the dogs (latches) we entered the fire room. Tamed the fire to demonstrate the amount of steam/heat given off when the water hits it and then coaxed the smoke out the window by directing a stream of water out the window for what is called a hydraulic ventilation.

Having done all that we were now officially STCW-95 Safety Certified. Some of us made plans to meet later on for a drink at the QuarterDeck and afterwards I went with some of my housemates down to the beach clubs for a little birthday celebration. Spring break was in full affect which drove home my age. My Vancouverite buddy woke up in Miami. I woke up in my own bed.

In the class I met a Captain named Mike Palance and he had fished out of Holgate so we got to talking and knew some of the same people from LBI. He also knew a friend in West Palm Beach who was looking for a mate. He put us in contact with each other and after straightening out my phone number situation I had a meeting with Captains Hans of the 118ft. "Marsha Kay".
To make a short story shorter he offered me the job over a beer at Waxy's Pub and at the present moment he's looking for a place for me to live up in W. Palm Beach. Unfortunately they don't want anyone living aboard because they got burned by someone in the past who made off with some scuba equipment and a case of Dom Perrian. So as it turns out I'm probably gonna need some wheels. So now I'm just chillin and waiting for the background check to clear, hopefully that Fort knox robbery won't show up ;-) Hopefully I won't be up there any later than Monday since we are slated to head for the Bahamas April 7th and it would be nice to get familar with the boat and my duties.

I've added a few pics to the Ft. Lauderdale folder, have a peek.