Making a Clean Sweep: Reinforcing the Importance of Afloat Training
By Lieutenant (junior grade) Joseph DiRenzo IV, U.S. Coast Guard
Water is quickly rising as a damaged compartment begins to flood. The young petty officer who discovered the breach plugs the hole with whatever lies nearby. The bridge alerts the crew by sounding the general emergency alarm, and the commanding officer awaits word from his responding damage-control party. The captain thinks, “Will my crew be proficient enough to control the flooding and keep the ship afloat? Do they have the experience to save each other?” He is relying on them to have the skills honed over countless shipboard simulations, drills, and classroom training to rescue the ship and possibly themselves. Passing pieces of soft patch and wooden plugs, team members quickly tend to the flooding. The plug holds and dewatering begins: the ship is safe.