When I first sat down with Internship Coordinator Estefany Carmona, I was very nervous but I felt quiet prepared. I knew I was very hard working and I felt this job was meant to be mine. I gathered all the information nesscessary and I felt as if nothing could go wrong. When I finally met with her, I was asked questions that I never thought were gonna mean something to someone. She asked me about what I do in my classroom and what I took away from it. I wish I had prepared for her questions ahead of time. For example, she asked me what was a strength and a weakness of mine. I felt as if my interview went really well and it couldn’t have gone any better.
This January, I attended the 2017 New York Boat Show at Jacob Javits Center along with other Harbor School students and staff. At the show I saw a lot of really attractive vessels such as yachts, personal water crafts, and party boats. There was even a simulator similar to the one in the MAST Center, except it was just one screen, a joystick, and a wheel. It was pretty neat to practice speed and docking a boat, but also was more of a video game with graphics at the same time.
Out of all these things at the show, what stood out to me the most was the panel of veterans and entrepreneurs in the maritime industry across the country. They each told their story in which led to their success in the industry, and answered many questions, giving useful advice to us students.
This stood out to me the most because of the many different generations of people present at the discussion. There were the teenage students (us), the adult teachers watching, and the presenters varied from a young 35 year old tug boat company owner from Staten Island, to a man more then double his age who’s been working as a mechanic and engineer since the early 1970s. I love that no matter how much time has past, new faces of new upcoming generations still will have similar interests and could even develop the known basics into bigger ideas which could forever change the maritime industry all around the world.
Fishers Island is a small community of roughly 200 people, 13 miles from the coast of Long Island. Students attending the trip got to leave school right after seventh period to catch the 2:30 Ferry back to Manhattan. The bus ride to the Fishers Island ferry took a grueling 6 hours with no pitstops. I sat in the back of the bus, along with a couple friends. During the bus ride, we watched Moana and sang along with the songs. Next movie queued was Ghost Busters. When the bus finally made it to the ferry landing, there were tons of pizza boxes awaiting our arrival. The ferry boat, Race Point, carried us over to Fishers Island. Boat ride took another 45 minutes. Tents were assigned, 3 people per tent, and set up. By this time it’s already past 10PM and most were pumped for the following days activities. Lights out: 11:30PM
6AM wake up. Breakfast consisted of eggs with a side of peppers, bacon, toast and a choice of lemonade, iced tea and water. After breakfast, everyone mustered for informant of the days activities. Vessel Operations assisted Professional Diving in oyster cage recovery, which took all day in 50 degree water. It was cold to say the least. One by one divers jumped off the boat and into the waters. Towards the middle of the day, Vessel Ops students jumped off and did some swimming as past time in between recoverys. The frigid waters were refreshing at first as the air temperature began to increase as the day wore on, but the freezing waters soon felt very cold. As Vessel Ops students, together, jumped into the water, Aaron went from boat to boat. The rest of the day passed on. Dinner was exciting: a big campfire and barbecue, complete with hamburgers, hotdogs, and cookies. As the night continued, and our singing got progressively worse, it was time to put up the towel in and head for bed. Lights out: 11PM
Yet another 6AM wake up. Breakfast was oatmeal with fruit and brown sugar, along with a choice of lemonade, iced tea, and water. Today is a shorter day considering the expected return time was 5PM. Tents were packed and once the early morning muster was complete, each CTE headed off to do their own thing. Vessel Ops did pivot turns and docking practice. Eventually all boats got geared and headed for a gas dock to fill up. After all boats got their share of gas, we headed out into open water for some fun. The boats sped along the water over to the ferry landing and back, with some high speed stops in between. Once returning to the school, we grabbed our stuff and boarded the 3:30 boat to mainland. The bus was awaiting us and once everybody boarded, we were underway headed for New York City. Return time: roughly 5:30PM
The island was beautiful. It felt like a summer vacation in a short span of 3 days. Everything was so green compared to the red brick and grey cement we see here in the city. With downtime, you couldn’t help but look at the scenery and compare that to what we have here in NYC. The trip was amazing, and I hope to do it again in upcoming years.
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.
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.
After a quick overview of the curriculum on Vessel Operations and Technology, our guide gave us the opportunity to talk to the Maine Maritime students about the project they were currently working on.
They were reassembling an engine after disassembling it, which they said was done with 8 hours of work. I took that as an opportunity to sort of show up my friend Bryan and prove that I knew more about engines then him (I’m in Marine Systems Tech, MST). Although it was a childish kind of thing, it gave us the chance to show how much we knew and what we didn’t know. The gaps in vessel ops knowledge were filled by MST. That’s why we have all six CTEs.
If we got something wrong, the students weren’t afraid of correcting us. They really tried their best to not allow us to leave that room with wrong answers and wrong assumptions. After our little competition, the group as a whole started asking about the different parts of an engine.
That eventually turned into questions about the students themselves and their back story. One of the students we talked to, Jessie, said that she was from Philadelphia, so going from a big city to a rural community was a bit of a culture shock. She adjusted quickly however and is now in her 4th year at her college. This experience was great for me, because I got to see a better picture of a real workplace environment. There was a lot of open space, so for the most part, the shop was spotless. They were at least six engines in the shop, and each engine had two students working on it. I hope that after this experience, I can bring what I saw at Maine Maritime over to the MST shop and the boat building temporary cover.
By Eric Soto, Marine Systems Technology Junior
On Thursday, April 20th, 2017, we were lucky enough to get the opportunity to sit in a planetarium classroom while Captain Rick Miller taught us about celestial navigation. The classroom was an odd shape, with a dome ceiling bordered with a beautiful mural painted by a local school. Captain Rick Miller presented himself as an intelligent and humorous man. It was clear that he enjoys his job.
GPS and other navigation technology isn’t always necessary. For centuries, people didn’t even have maps to travel by. He spoke about how useful celestial navigation is to find your location. On the ceiling, Captain Rick showed us a program that showed us all of the stars useful for navigation. We learned how to spot constellations. Living in NYC we can barely see one star on the clearest of nights. We also learned how to use longitude and latitude to find where we are. We were introduced to a tool, a sextant, that determines the altitude of the star, allowing us to find where we are in relation to the star. All I could imagine during this presentation was being on the Lettie G. Howard, locating where we are using the stars in the sky. If I was a student at Maine Maritime, I definitely take this celestial navigation class.
We all loved this Maine Maritime trip. We were lucky for this experience and are each grateful for this. I’m glad I got to visit this college because now I have another college I’m confident I’d love. Maine Maritime may be hours away, but it hits close to home.
By Emily Reyes, Marine Systems Technology Junior
Last Monday, when we had no school, all the vessel ops students were invited to attend the ribbon cutting ceremony for the new Citywide Ferry Service. You might be wondering what Citywide Ferry Service is; it is a new ferry service that will provide a new mode of transportation for New Yorkers starting the Summer of 2017. The cost for riding the Ferry will be the same as a metro card swipe. It’ll open up our waterfront for anyone in the city, simultaneously raising awareness for the environment.
The New York Harbor School was invited to attend the ceremony. Students from the sophomore, junior, and senior years came to this important ceremony. Many Harbor alumni who are still involved in the waterfront attended as well. By this time next year, we will have harbor kids in internships on those ferries.
On our trip in Maine, we got to board Capt. Susan J Clark, one of the school’s vessels. We were able demonstrate our understanding of navigation by navigating through the bay. We mapped our route on charts and set sail. This was interesting to me because it was very different mapping out the route than just following it. We were out on the foggy waters for about two and a half hours. Toward the end of our sail, I was given the chance to pilot the vessel back to port. Little did I know I was going to be docking the vessel in the port with the assistance of Captain Chase. Pulling up to the dock was nerve-racking. The captain seemed calm the whole time. He didn’t even leave his chair. It took about 3-5 minutes to dock the vessel. The whole time I was docking I tried to stay calm but on the inside I felt a mixture of fear and excitement. Once docked I was given a standing ovation from the crew and classmates. That relived me. I knew I hadn’t messed up, at least not terribly. That was the highlight of my experience in Maine.