Training Report: Seamanship Training OE-VA-14
Over winter break I got the chance to attend Seamanship training in Virginia. The training was located at a 4-H center along Smith Mountain Lake. The purpose of the training was to teach cadets basic seamanship, small boat operations, marlinspike seamanship, navigation, and boater safety. The training definitely covered all of those objectives and much more. The boats we used for the training were the Zodiac FC-470. It is a fifteen and a half foot long inflatable vessel mainly meant for the purpose of reconnaissance used by the Marines and Navy Seals. It is the definitive special operations boat. The chance to attend this training and drive these boats was an amazing experience that I would love to do again and staff.
The curriculum for this training was very intensive. It contained all the things previously stated and much more, especially in the ways of hands on training aboard the vessels. We were also subject to completion of a PQS (Personal Qualification Standard) for this training and a final oral board. Due to the amount we had to learn and how short the training was being only 8 days, we had very late nights and long nights studying and taking classes.
The hands on work during the training was the best part. After completing our Virginia boater’s safety course we were allowed to go underway, and we spent many hours doing so. We started out learning the basics with an officer on board, and by the end of the training we were expected to operate the boats on our own with no help from the officers. I got the chance to be a crew leader at the training which added to my duties. I was in charge of a crew of four people total. We had to learn to work together and become close in order to operate the boats at max efficiency.
There were many things we did at the training. To highlight some of the best parts, we participated in multiple night operations, which meant we got up in the middle of the night, got briefed, and were sent down to the docks to carry out our mission. The best one being that we did one on New Year’s Eve, and it was time perfectly so that we beach crashed and celebrated New Year’s on an island.
My crew was probably the best part of my training. I haven’t had the chance to be so personally in charge of people, usually working with a whole division of cadets, working with just 3 was very different. I took advantage of this as much as I could. My crew started out bickering and fighting and just not working together. You can’t expect much when you get four cadets who have never met each other start working together, but through teamwork and a little team building I implemented we were able to grow close. We became a single working machine that could do just about anything they could throw at us including midnight missions and surprise operations. We went from fighting to being a family. That teamwork and camaraderie brought us together and earned us the position of Honor Crew at the training. That was an amazing accomplishment for us. Also to my surprise I earned the position of Honor Cadet at the training in recognition of my efforts to get my crew to work together. That was another amazing accomplishment that just added to the training.
Overall the training was great. We had the chance to do so much and have so much fun along the way. Although times got difficult, nights were late, sleep was in short supply, and it was below freezing most of the time, it was all worth it. This training was just amazing and worth it. I would recommend it to anyone at all.
Petty Officer 2nd Class Arter, JU, Master At Arms