Lucky enough, for our most recent class of vessel operations we took a site visit to pier 15. The class was invited to board, tour, and learn about one of Hornblower’s vessels named Serenity. We had the opportunity to meet Harbor School alumni, Captain Jose and first mate Medina. This gave us a chance to have class in a new location and have a different experience. Learning about other maritime workplaces allows us to make upgrades and edits to our vessels or shops in order to enhance our training with Harbor School. Students were allowed to tour the vessel and its two decks designated for passengers. However, we were not able to enter the engine room. Students were told where it is and who has clearance. At the wheel house, some students were lucky to steer the boat, ask questions to the Captain and overall have an enjoyable learning class period. Seeing maritime jobs in person, especially if the workers were once in our shoes like Captain Jose and Medina, is inspiring and important to us as we begin to make decisions about our careers.
During the recent summer break, I was invited for a deckhand position aboard The Mystic Whaler in New London, Ct. Throughout my short two weeks aboard the schooner I was able to be apart of many different kinds of trips. For example, lunch and Lobster dinner cruises either public or chartered. Also, I was lucky enough to be part of an educational program named gylp. The three-day and two-night program was a blast, similar to my freshmen indock in the summer of 2014, a group of students entering high school joined in on an adventure together by boarding this schooner. I assisted Captain John Eginton and Captain Pat by teaching and discussing sailing skills such as navigation, knot tying, going aloft, line handling, and tending sails underway to which I was familiar and comfortable leading. It was an amazing experience being able to teach students who are in a position I was once in and realize how much Harbor School and Vessel Operations has taught me. A huge thank you to Captain John and Captain Pat for offering the opportunity and helping me achieve my goal to sail and learn this summer.
After a tour of the well equipped machine shop, Hugh Hoarder (who directed our tour and visit wonderfully) and Cam Brian led us to the State Of Maine’s bridge. Within the bridge we spoke of the importance that every person plays aboard.
“No one is more important than the other,” they repeated again and again.
We also engaged in a conversation of what the future of maritime ocean transportation and technology would look like. For example, learning more of LNG so we can use it to its highest and safest potential. Finally, Hugh and Cam shared facts about the ship and its cruises, including past experiences where technology has failed and manual controls saved the day. We were very lucky to get this mini lesson and get the insight into the State of Maine that our visit provided.
As we work with so many different tools, supplies, and parts, our shop can grow noticeably cluttered and messy. This disorganization is very problematic for people in search for certain equipment. We regularly dedicate maintenance days at Waterfront Club for cleaning and organizing. However, staff and active students are always on the look for new ideas to improve our system. As a way to brainstorm, we went to the Seaport. Malcolm took us on board their maintenance barge and gave us a tour, which allowed us to find ideas and take pictures to apply back at home on Governors Island at the Mast Center. The comparison of the shops allowed us to work off ideas and think of new set-ups that would allow us to be better organized.
It was a slow, normal high school day until our class arrived to the MAST Center. We were rushed to jump into our boiler suits, grab our bags, and board the Privateer. We had Captain Aaron, Captain Luis, and Captain Mike Abegg along with us.
Our mission was clear but time consuming. We had to get to the South Street Seaport, flake about 250ft of chain, and use the A frame on our vessel the Privateer to drop the mooring that was needed. This mooring was going to be used to put the Seaport’s schooner sail training boat Pioneer away for the off-season. Therefore this was an important job that needed to get done today. Students knew this and went to work, some with and some without gloves. Stations were simple but important. Two students lifted out the chain out of the can it was in and the others including myself passed the chain long to Bryan who was the one flaking the chain under the A frame. This job was successfully completed with the help of all the captains, students, and Seaport workers. Projects such as this one allow students like myself to feel a part of the crew. It’s not easy but it’s important to all of us. South Street Seaport is our partner and students such as myself volunteer and sail with them.
John W. Brown is a historical liberty ship that was operated during World War II. The Harbor School has a program called Historic Ship Alliance which gives students the opportunity to take trips to learn more about the importance of this vessel. Students are able to stay days and nights aboard the vessel running drills, acting as crew, and even preparing meals. September 29th – October 2nd a group of about 10 students (including myself) took a trip down to Baltimore, Maryland to crew and train on the liberty ship. Due to rain the cruise along the harbor aboard John Brown was cancelled, but students including myself helped during the docking and undocking process. We were able to send lines to and from the tug boat that assisted us in the transporting of the vessel. Students, assisted by trained crew, tied off lines and took them off when ordered. Never before having to work with such big diameter line it was difficult to get used to the feeling but we fought through the discomfort and did what had to be done. Besides the docking process students were able to prepare breakfast for the first morning due to the fact there was no chief aboard the ship at the time of our arrival. This meant a small team of students woke up before everyone else and tried to keep quiet while working together to prepare a meal for everyone aboard.