Underway Labs

Last Tuesday, the 16th, we did an underway lab picking up moorings on the buttermilk channel. The challenge was angling the boat so the mooring could be picked up safely and angling the boat towards the flood that was coming in. When I was helm going to the first mooring the ride was fine and we had pretty good luck in picking up the mooring. Going to the second mooring Armani was helm. He did as well as he could to position the boat perfectly, but the mooring line was tangled in something, and that led to the crew responding very slowly, with Aaron having to get up and help. Although not directly Armani’s fault, he takes the heat for the poor response time because he was at the helm. 

The “Seal” Spotting

 On this day none of knew what we were gonna be doing in class while we walked over to the Mast Center. The days before we had been covering the different motions on a boat, For example we talked about rolling, pitching and sagging as well as many others. As we went to the stairs down I saw Aaron. Just as he came into view I was told to tell everyone to grab a PFD to head out. When any of us hear this we immediately began to hurry up. These classes are the most fun because we get to learn on the water and get to apply what we have learned in class. Now to fast forward a little bit we were on the boat and getting ready to head out. But first before we casted off Aaron called to address us on what was planned. That was the day that we were going out to try and find wakes to demonstrate pitching and rolling motions. Now we were able to cast off and get underway. Now that we had been out for a little and found some wake. (It was a really calm day) We were all talking about the motion when something caught my eye. I looked over to see if anyone else noticed and luis was looking too. Just when I looked back it ducked its head in the water and both lewis and I had the same reaction at the same time. We just kinda yell that we had just seen a seal very close to the boat just off the port. Whatever we were talking about at the time was put on hold. Now we were all on the lookout at to see it resurface. After some time we had almost given up but Ryan called out where he had just seen it so we started to slowly close in on it. Now we were a little confused on why it was not moving? But once we were all close enough to make out details we realized that what we were chasing was really just a log. But both me and lewis are still convinced that the first sight was still really a seal.

Drop Offs

Just recently I and a few off my class mates went out to Water Front after school. Most of the time we work on small stuff around and lewis will choose a crew to work on a vessel and get a job done. On this day I was in that crew. For me this was really exciting. It was the first time I got to do this. And so the job began, we had were told that on that day we were gonna be dropping people and stuff off at the BOP Fund raisers. The loading process went off without a hitch as well as the departcher from the MAST center, but while under way we stumbled across some bumpers the school had lost in a storm a little while ago. So lewis brought us on a detour just a few hundred feet off and we had a flawless recovery on the bumpers. As lewis gilded past them we had set jobs and exacuted them we had the bumpers on board without any hassle. After this we had been just a little bit away from the peir where we would drop off everyone. As we got closer though I relized that the people getting off were gonna have to do a bit of a clime because peir was much higher then the side of the boat. It was a sight to see and I was just glad I did not have to do it. In the end everyone was safe and I felt that I had done well and was ready for being apart of future crews.

Port of Sector New York

Visiting the USCG pt2

Last week my vessel operations class went to the port of sector New York to meet the Captain of the Port of New York, Micheal H. Day and see VTS (Vessel Traffic Services) in action. Unfortunately Captain Day was preoccupied and couldn’t meet with us and we instead met with the Senior Reserve Officer (SRO) for USCG Sector of New York, Captain Matthew McCann. He had over 20 years of experience in the Coast Guard.

Captain McCann explained to us the responsibilities as captain of the port and explained to us how he moved up through the ranks to where he is today. Vessel Traffic Services is very similar to Air Traffic Control except instead of queuing up airplanes for takeoff and landing, they monitor anchor sites, make vessels aware of other large vessels and overall ensure the safety of mariners. VTS however doesn’t cover any vessel under 200 feet or 100 gross tonnes; they control traffic within the harbor through a plethora of techniques. Not only do they rely on radio communications from vessels but have also an extensive network of high definition cameras along the harbor and electronic charts that allow them to control the craziness that is commercial shipping in New York Harbor.

My fellow students I got VIP access to see what VTS was really like and got to talk to real VTS operators and watch them in real time. The VTS operators offered a wealth of knowledge and told us not only about their experiences in VTS but through out the Coast Guard. However, not all operators were enlisted. In fact, nearly half of them were civilian which showed me something I never knew before: I could work for the Coast Guard without being enlisted! It also taught me how much logistic work goes into shipping. This trip opened my eyes to new careers and interests.

How do you get to school?

When I tell someone I go to school on Governors Island, their first question is ALWAYS “So…do you like take a boat to school every day or something?”

Often I feel like responding “No. We all have to swim across.” Honestly. What do they think we do? Have the rowing team bring us over in whitehall gigs? Take a zip line? Ski lift? I tried proposing that to the principal freshman year. Edward technically agreed, if we could find the money to install it and convince the Island’s Trust. Maybe Jeff will go for the idea.

Anyway. I stumbled across an article the other day. The clip below is from a New York Times from 1888.


My first thought? I want to walk to school!!! To other kids, walking to school is the easy, trivial way. Taking a boat is a novelty for them. For my school, suggesting that we walk to school is insane. But a one point it might’ve been possible. It makes you think.


My Source: http://gothamist.com/2013/01/24/new_yorkers_cross_frozen_east_river.php

Our First Trip to Pier 16

vessel ops blog

Getting to pier 16 was not very pleasant. To get there in a timely manner we got on the Virginia, there was a lot water splashing onto the boat and it was freezing. The water was not only cold but it irritated my skin.

After visiting Pier 16 and seeing that amazing sail boat being restored, I got very excited to see the finished product. It made me want to go on a class trip to sail over a matter of a few days, like we did on Indock.

During Indock we got to live on the Lettie G. Howard for 3 days (and 2 nights). During that time we lived as part of the crew: waking up to hoist up the anchor and putting up and bringing down sails and cleaning the deck along with other chores to keep everything running smoothly.

Indock is a program that introduces incoming harbor students to life as a crew. It helps students meet before school starts and learn a few skills like knot tying that are going to help in their future.


April 28th: Journal Entry #3

The ticket booth has become more than just printing out tickets and giving them out. I’ve noticed many barriers faced when working in customer service. One major barrier is language, it’s very hard to explain what vessel people need to be on and when to board if you only speak English. There is one coworker of mine who speaks both English and Spanish but it can still be hard when someone speaks French or Mandarin for example. When I’m faced with this task I tend to give them their tickets and explain to them where they need to be as best as I can with my hands. If all else fails, I walk them to their vessel so that they can board and enjoy their cruise.

May 5th: Journal Entry #4

We recently had a Spring Boat Show, where people boarded our vessels for a dinner cruise which was followed by food and numerous activities for the guests. The ticket booth was very busy because we had three vessels going out around the same time. We had to juggle giving tickets out to guests, telling our customers where they are boarding, and differentiating who was there for the boat show or for a regular dinner. We were able to manage all of this with everyone’s help and patience.

Maine Maritime


A group of harbor school students and I went to Maine Maritime Academy in April to learn about their curriculum and the academy as a whole. As pictured below Captain Rick Miller is giving us an intro in celestial navigation using sextants. He explained how a sextant is used; first you find the star in your eyepiece, then bring it down to the horizon using the multiple mirrors and then read the angle of the star and use that information for navigation.

We went to the Kennaday Planetarium where we viewed the ineffable night sky of Castine, Maine. He explained to us that in celestial navigation they use 56 stars as well as polaris, the sun and a few planets. It’s vital we learn celestial navigation and paper charts because GPS can go awry during solar flares and other electromagnetic events.

Overall he taught us the importance of redundancies as well as giving us a wonderful introduction into the wild world of celestial navigation. The trip gave us an experience very few people get before attending Maine Maritime and gave us a true idea of what maritime college life is like.


Upcoming Events for the Harbor School:

The Oyster Classic Race – https://runsignup.com/Race/NY/NewYork/TheNewYorkHarborOysterClassic5K?remMeAttempt=

And Harbor Alumni Day – https://www.eventbrite.com/e/new-york-harbor-school-alumni-day-reunion-tickets-32908721873?ref=enivtefor001&invite=MTE2OTU3MDEvc2hvcXVlQG5ld3lvcmtoYXJib3JzY2hvb2wub3JnLzA%3D&utm_source=eb_email&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=inviteformalv2&utm_term=attend