PORT TOWNSEND — Beginning mariners experienced what it’s really like to be on a ship during an emergency thanks to a program offered this week by the Northwest Maritime Center.
The free basic training class for mariners, a U.S. Coast Guard-approved course, was made available through a $188,000 grant by the Washington Workforce Training and Education Board, according to the maritime center.
The funding also provided training for those who already are part of the maritime industry who need additional training and classes so they can move up into a higher skill/higher wage job.
Tanya Rublaitus, Northwest Maritime Center vocational training manager, said 12 women were part of the class of 20 participants this week.
“This is great because these positions are considered non-traditional roles in a male-dominated industry.”
Rublaitus said participants went from fire to water in a week. The program is taught by Julie Kiem and her company, Compass Courses in Edmonds.
During the basic fire fighting class, participants learned fire fighting techniques such as how to extinguish a fire on board a vessel during classroom work.
“Students then went to the Pacific Maritime Institute in Ballard and actually extinguished a simulated shipboard fire in a controlled environment,” she said.
Rublaitus explained that during the personal survival techniques module, mariners learned, practiced and demonstrated the skills required to safely and successfully use life jackets, life rafts and immersion suits.
Port Townsend’s Mountain View Pool was used to practice how to a use survival suit and operate a life raft.
“The next module is dedicated to first aid and CPR [cardio-pulmonary resuscitation]. CPR is taught using an automated external defibrillator [AED] and emphasizes skills used at sea. Participants learn what immediate action is needed when an accident or other medical emergency happens when they are out at sea.”
The final day — which is Friday — will focus on personal safety and social responsibilities. This module goes over the real-world aspect of working on a vessel and covers such topics as emergency procedures, how to understand orders, preventing marine pollution, observing safe working practices and contributing to effective human relationships on board a ship.
Earlier this month, more advanced courses were offered for those who are already in the industry. They included radar observation, ARPA (automatic radar plotting aid) and the master 100-ton captain’s license.
“By taking these advanced certifications, people got raises. It’s a great result for our grant,” Rublaitus said.
Rublaitus said the program already has provided opportunities to beginning mariners.
“Twelve of our participants are going to be working on the Adventuress schooner this summer. This instruction makes them much better trained and ready for an emergency if something happens. This is a wonderful result from our program.”
Mariner programs are expected to be offered again in the fall. For more details, see www.nwmaritime.org.
Jefferson County Editor/Reporter Jeannie McMacken can be reached at 360-385-2335 or at [email protected].