By Kimberly Echevarria

Meeting a Member of the Coast Guard


The Waterfront Club had the honor of being invited to the Heroes of the Harbor event at Chelsea Piers, Tuesday night. This event is very exciting for the New York Harbor School because we are the only high school students in attendance. While at the event, several of my peers and I got the chance to speak with a man named Steve who has been enlisted in the Coast Guard for 5 years. As some of my past blog post have shown, I plan to pursue a career in the United States Coast Guard. Hearing about the course that Steve has taken to be where he is today intrigued me. Steve attended a 4-year college in Wisconsin before enlisting in the Coast Guard. He is currently part of the Public Relations Division and he seems pretty satisfied with his job. Steve told us that their is only about 15 Public Relations positions and he had to wait for someone to give up their position in order for him to receive his. He told us that his job was to go to events around the Tribeca area to take pictures and essentially deal with the media aspect of the events. Steve also informed us that enlisted personal can not become a captain in the Coast Guard unless they move up to an officer position. Talking to a member of the Coast Guard was helpful and expanded my knowledge of my future career path.


Caption VS Chief Engineer

Captain Todd and our class in the Bridge of Mein Schiff 6.
Myself, Captain Luis, and Bryan in the control room of the engine.
One of the two main engines aboard the ship.

The Vessel Operations seniors had the honor of touring TUI’s cruise ship the Mein Schiff 6. Mein Schiff is a brand new cruise ship that had its first voyage in May. We received an extensive tour of the vessel which included the bridge and the massive engine room. Both the Captain and Chief Engineer had many years in the Maritime Industry under their belts. They each gave us a run down of their background and it made me further curious about the difference in responsibilities of a  chief engineer and captain on a cruise ship. Both hold large, respected, titles and seem worth the while. The chief engineer takes most of the command in the engine room while the captain takes full command of the bridge. Captain Todd and the Chief Engineer both were passionate about their jobs and were eager to answer our questions. Captain Todd is one of few American cruise ship captains while the Chief Engineer was from Germany. Although their backgrounds were different, the worked together to run a massive cruise ship with over 2,000 passengers and over 1,000 other crew members. This by far has been one of my favorite experiences in Vessel Operations. It was a great eye opener for my classmates and myself. We all walked away with so many great new ideas for our future and even more great memories to add to our list.

Harbor Hurricane Relief

The New York Harbor School would like to team up with YOU and help 3.4 million people in Puerto Rico affected by Hurricane Maria. Anything you can donate will be greatly appreciated by us and most importantly the families we are helping.


***Donations may be brought to NYHS with a child or dropped off at Cowgirl Seahorse***

(259 Front Street, New York, NY 10038)

Accepted donations include, but are not limited to:

  • Clothing and shoes of all sizes
  • Non-perishable food
  • First aid supplies
  • Batteries
  • Diapers and other baby supplies
  • Blankets
  • Feminine products
  • Pet food
  • Toiletries

Our Unique Classroom

IMG_3017As we begin our U.S. Power Boating course, what better way to learn than to take a trip out to the South Street Seaport and spend class aboard the schooner Pioneer. Today’s lesson was all about the basics and an overview of engines. We brought over a whiteboard and some markers and class was in session. The first half of class was discussing the things we know about outboard and inboard engines. The second half was spent looking at Pioneer’s engine and all its functions.IMG_3021

At the Helm of Serenity


The Vessel Operations seniors had a great opportunity to take a ride on one of Hornblower’s yachts known as Serenity. Captain Jose and first mate Medina were there to greet us when we boarded the vessel at the South Street Seaport. We took a cruise around Lower Manhattan. The trip was about an hour long and I spent most of it exploring the boat. Jarely and I were sitting down talking about her summer experience when one of the crew members approached us and said Medina asked for one of us. I immediately stood up and walked to where she was at the helm. Turns out she was handing over the wheel to me! I had no idea what I was doing and with a boat filled with people, the pressure was on. Medina taught me how simple it actually was to steer such a large vessel. Your movements were small and controlled. I was at the helm for about 10 minutes and the whole time I was nervous. I’m used to our smaller vessels such as Indy and Virginia. You can see perfectly around those boats with your own eyes. Serenity is about three times the length of Indy. It was such a great experience to be at the helm of a vessel this size!

College’s I’m Thinking About!

As I began my senior year of high school, the rush of preparing and applying to college’s was there to greet me. The career path I’m taking is going to be in the Maritime Industry, specifically the United States Coast Guard. I’m focused on Maritime Academy’s and thought I would share my potential top five picks.

1. Maine Maritime Academy

2. SUNY Maritime College

3. California Maritime Academy

4. Massachusetts Maritime Academy

5. United States Coast Guard Academy


The Life of an Aimster

This summer I had the privilege of spending a week at the United States Coast Guard Academy in New London, Connecticut. Our every move was strictly controlled and every minute of the day was accounted for. The program (AIM)  was to give us a taste of what life at the academy will be like. It was both mentally and physically challenging but I walked away feeling so accomplished and even more sure of the future I want in the Coast Guard. Everything we did had a purpose and a goal to teach discipline. Nobody was an individual, my fellow aimsters and I were one unit. Our days began at 5:30am and ended at around 9pm. We had to square our corners & our meals and had to look forward (eyes in the boat) at all times unless we were told otherwise. We were taught how to walk and how to stand, how to greet respectfully, and even how to make our beds. Our showers, using the bathroom and even getting water were all timed. Our Cadre forced us to let go of being an individual and learn strong discipline.  I found my experience to be highly rewarding although it was very difficult. I made new friends from different states and shared a bond that others who have not experienced AIM won’t understand. I’m so greatly for this opportunity because it made my love for the United States Coast Guard grow times ten.

Navigating the Penobscot Bay

IMG_4738Last week, myself and fellow classmates had the honor of spending 3 days on the campus of Maine Maritime. Throughout this time, we were introduced to some of the programs they offer and what college life will be like.

On Thursday at about 9 am, we boarded the Capt. Susan J. Clark. We plotted a course on a chart then navigated the river using that course. As New York Harbor Students, we are used to lots of traffic on the water and using landmarks we recognize to guide us. None of us knew the Penobscot Bay well enough to navigate by site and regardless, it was filled with fog. We did not see another vessel the whole 2 hours we were out. It was a big change from the New York Harbor.

IMG_4788Captain Chase and Captain Jergesen gave us the helm and helped guide us through the trip. They gave us handy tips are navigation and plotting courses. Captain Chase even allowed Michael Mongiello, a vessel ops sophomore, to dock the vessel. Penobscot Bay was peaceful and had beautiful islands all along the river. This trip was a highlight of my time at Maine Martime.IMG_4743


AIM at the Coast Guard

Seal_of_the_United_States_Coast_Guard.svgThe United States Coast Guard Academy offers a summer program called AIM (Academy Introduction Mission) to rising seniors in high school. I’ve been interested in the Academy for about 3-years now so when I heard of this opportunity I had to apply. The program would mean six days on campus during the summer and would teach me the academy’s traditions and lifestyle. Hopefully, it will help me decide whether or not the Academy is the right place for me. I began my application in the beginning of February and submitted it on March 31st. I should hear back on whether I’m accepted or not on May 1st.


Sail Training aboard Schooner Pioneer


Schooner Pioneer is a tall ship that was built in 1885. She is a 103 ft, two masted steel schooner, and her home is the South Street Seaport. This summer, several peers and I committed to sail training once a week aboard Pioneer. Our day would begin at about 8am and end at about 1pm. Sail trainings are 90-minute sails around New York Harbor. Throughout each sail we would work on basic crew duties and commands aboard Pioneer. Some crew duties include docking and undocking from the seaport, repeating commands, coiling lines, raising sails, and striking sails.

When the vessel is underway, there are multiple watches (a watch is a group of people who stay together to complete a specific task) that are occurring. For example; Watch A would be at the helm, Watch B would be at the jib sail standing by for commands, and Watch C would be on bow watch. Each watch would rotate jobs so that everyone was receiving proper training on how to crew Pioneer. Being at the helm demonstrated how to navigate and steer the vessel.

lolWhile sailing, we used a maneuver called “tacking.” Tacking is the process of turning the bow of the vessel  into the wind to change direction. Tacking is carried out by shifting the jib sail (the forward most sail) from one side of the vessel to the other. Whoever is on the helm will call out “ready about” which means prepare to shift the jib sail. Standing by the jib sail is one of the watches aboard Pioneer.

Bow watch is the 3rd watch aboard the vessel. Bow watch is conducted at the bow (forward most part) of the vessel. Bow watch is required to point out anything in the water that can possible harm the vessel in 360 degrees. We have to point out other vessels, anchorages, wood in the water, etc. When on bow watch you would like to point these things out to the person on the helm and be sure they understand what you are alerting them about. Sail training expanded my knowledge of tall ships and how to specifically crew a vessel such as Pioneer.