AMSEA's Fishing Vessel Drill Conductor Training got some nice media attention this past week. A story from Dillingham radio station, KDLG, described the training like this.
"The course goes over the survival equipment that fishermen are required to have on their vessels, based on the Commercial Fishing Vessel Safety Act passed by congress in 1988.
That equipment includes immersion suits, survival rafts, signal flares, Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacons, and personal flotation devices. Some of the survival equipment is only required on vessels that fish more than three miles offshore. "
The story goes on to quote Dillingham-based AMSEA instructor, Ron Bowers.
“As you’re learning what to do when things go wrong, and you’re practicing with the equipment that’s on your skiff or your boat that’s going to help you survive...You know what the best survival tool is — it’s what God gave you between your ears — your brain...Having an attitude that you’re going to live, you’re going to survive this situation, you’re going to figure out what to do, and you’re going to come back alive and you’re going to bring your crew with you."
A story from Juneau station, KTOO, tells a harrowing story of sailing a 32-foot fishing boat, from Togiak to Dillingham in 16 to 20-foot seas, during a "hellacious storm." The skipper, Kaleb Westfall, credits his AMSEA training for the knowledge and skills needed to get back to port safely.
"Westfall thanked his training with the Alaska Marine Safety Education Association to help him maximize his odds for survival. 'I don’t think I would have been nearly as comfortable...without the AMSEA training. It’s a wonderful program.”
We know that AMSEA training helps to save lives. It's motivating when we hear that from commercial fishermen themselves!
Full disclosure: Kaleb Westfall is a new AMSEA instructor who recently taught his first Fishing Vessel Drill Conductor class.