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post #1 of 21 Old 04-03-2012 Thread Starter
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Safety at Sea by MTAM

I attended the Safety at Sea Training course with MTAM last weekend (March 31).

This is by far one of the best and organized sailing related courses I took. I am not sure because this is an non-profit organization or simply because they get much help for USNA. I took the ISAF race certificate course, so I am good to go for 5 years.

I have the Cadets from the Academy to demo the many different ways MOB rescues from sailboats and power boat, demonstration of flare and dye. Finally, we had helicopter rescue on the water. On Sunday, we had to get to the poll to practice with the life raft.

I learned a lot and was reinforced many of my understanding and thinking. There were many heavy weigh speakers of the whoís who in the sailing world; a few were high ranking NOAA, USGC and NAVY captains to speak to us. You can find their names on the net.

There are many take home message of this course:

1. Crotch Strap, crotch strap, crotch strap, donít go into water with it. Hood spray is a must too.

2. PDF, PDF, PFD.
3. Position, position, position. CG can do the detective work as needed.
From now on, I will modify my mayday call something like this:
Mayday, mayday. Our position is W xx degree and xx.x minutes; N xx degree and xx.x minutes. We are East of Cape May (example) about 150 nm. Name of the vessel, Number of person on board, description of the emergency, availability of life vest and life raft.

4. Quick release, quick release, QR, straight knife is better
5. With the full foully on, very limited mobility in water. Save your energy
6. GC can see you well in dark, even just a cell phone illumination, green chem light is fine
7. Captain Kip says: Before going offshore, practice inshore in heavy weather
8. Most the CG rescuers are not a sailor. They donít understand why we sail.
9. VHF and SSB are preferred for asking for help. CG can replay your message and DF your location in their center.
10. Be patient with the Helo, 100 +knots of wind from the rotor wash. Use hand signal. Clear out the deck will increase your chance not going into the water.
11. Try to head into wind 30 degree off port side for Helo recuse
12. If use cell phone or Sat phone, call GC directly is better than 911.
757-398-6390

I am sure I missed a lot good tips, but I am sure others will add more here.

I highly recommend this course by MTAM with the resources at USNA, you can't beat that. This course makes you think ahead of time before you encounter the trouble. Mentally prepare in your head is the best way to survive in the sea. Hope we never need to use it, but ready in a second of notice.


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post #2 of 21 Old 04-03-2012
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Re: Safety at Sea by MTAM

The moderators, Ralph Naranjo and John Rousmaniere, are both the tops. Based upon several observations they consistently mount first-rate programs.
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post #3 of 21 Old 04-10-2012 Thread Starter
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Re: Safety at Sea by MTAM

I forgot to mention. The course comes with a 80 pages or so booklet (magazine like) with a title - Safety at Sea. A great read, lot of course materials from this book. I found it very handy to reference to later as needed.


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post #4 of 21 Old 04-10-2012
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Re: Safety at Sea by MTAM

I've taken this same course in Newport, RI. Fully agree, best course I've ever taken.

Too bad you didn't get a chance to hear John Bonds, it's founder, present. He was a safety and morale at sea legend and just passed a couple of years ago.


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post #5 of 21 Old 04-11-2012 Thread Starter
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Re: Safety at Sea by MTAM

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Originally Posted by Minnewaska View Post
I've taken this same course in Newport, RI. Fully agree, best course I've ever taken.

Too bad you didn't get a chance to hear John Bonds, it's founder, present. He was a safety and morale at sea legend and just passed a couple of years ago.
I was scheduled to take the one in Newport, but find the MTAM is closer to home.

Did they (Newport) have the on-water man over board demo and followed by Helo rescue ?

I found the demos are extremely valuable and permanently ingrained in my head. During the demos, Rousmaniere was on the mike, describing the process in details. On that day, it was cold, windy with some rain.


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post #6 of 21 Old 04-11-2012
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Re: Safety at Sea by MTAM

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Originally Posted by rockDAWG View Post
I was scheduled to take the one in Newport, but find the MTAM is closer to home.

Did they (Newport) have the on-water man over board demo and followed by Helo rescue ?

I found the demos are extremely valuable and permanently ingrained in my head. During the demos, Rousmaniere was on the mike, describing the process in details. On that day, it was cold, windy with some rain.
Yes, on water is a second day, although, you can do them in any order. I believe that second day is now mandatory for offshore racing. It's the same program, started by the same guy, but I haven't seen the helo. That's probably a factor of available assets at the time. Everyone in the class has to enter a life raft from the water. Not easy, huh.


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post #7 of 21 Old 04-11-2012 Thread Starter
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Re: Safety at Sea by MTAM

Hmmm.... it may be different for the one in Annapolis since they have the USNA helping them.

On the first day after the morning lecture hall session, we have demos on Severn River with a couple NAVY 44 sailboats to demonstrate the MOB techniques followed by Helo rescue.

On the second day (part of it) we all need to go into the pool to perform three things.

1. In the water with full gears, learn to float comfortably and move around. I learned the importance of the crotch strap, hard to get the knife from back pocket, how the dead man float works, staying together to save energy and keep warm.

2. Learning to upright a life raft single handed.

3. Getting into a life raft from water without help. I could get out the pool from water with full gear on, but getting into the a life raft is much harder. I can't imagine how hard it will be in a stormy seas. Lessons learned. I may consider ditching my boots and pants in a real emergency.

After the training course, I may consider helmet, wetsuit and one of this



I forgot to mention, Ralph and John spoke about Wing nut and other two tragedies also and what we can learn from them.

Well worth the 300 dollars they charged us. The second day and the exam are options, but requires for ISAF certificate.


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post #8 of 21 Old 04-22-2012
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Re: Safety at Sea by MTAM

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Originally Posted by rockDAWG View Post
I forgot to mention. The course comes with a 80 pages or so booklet (magazine like) with a title - Safety at Sea. A great read, lot of course materials from this book. I found it very handy to reference to later as needed.
This magazine, titled SAFETY AT SEA, is handed out at all US Sailing-certified safety at sea seminars. It's also available from US SAILING, 1 Maritime Drive, Portsmouth, RI 02871 (401-683-0800). The safety seminar schedule is at SAS Seminars

In addition, there are good safety tips in the Newport Bermuda Race program, which is posted in its entirety at Newport Bermuda Race 2012 > Home.
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post #9 of 21 Old 04-23-2012
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Re: Safety at Sea by MTAM

Attending this course was mandatory every year when Dan was coaching at USNA, and watching the Coast Guard rescues never got old. Copies of the powerpoint slides from the lectures are here: Navy Sailing | Home


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post #10 of 21 Old 04-26-2012
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Re: Safety at Sea by MTAM

I need to add this; if you are on your boat and the SAR helo drops a line to you in preparation of lowering a basket, do not hook the line to your boat. Just hold it. Hooking the line to your boat puts the helo in danger. Also to prevent a shock to you prior to grabbing the line try to let it touch the boat 1st, or better yet the water. Also if you are in your inflatable raft consider sinking or partial sinking your raft when the helo is very close. This will be difficult to do so sink it when rescue is assured. A fully inflated empty raft can become airborne and fly into the rotor.

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