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expeditions/ 2005 RAMP/10/1-2/05
- NOAA Ship HI'IALAKAI
David Nichols, State of Hawaii, DLNR, HIHWNMS
Officer, LT(JG) Michael Futch
The crew of the NOAA Ship Hi`ialakai take safety
very seriously. “Safety First” is actually written
in large letters on the two exhaust stacks rising above the
ship. For the ships crew, safety actually does come first
with much of their focus on recognizing potential safety hazards
and minimizing accidents. For the science team a safety meeting
occurs each morning (right after breakfast) when chamber operator/divemaster,
Jim Bostick reviews the “Plan of the Day” (POD)
and reiterates potential safety concerns. The ship also conducts
periodic drills (abandon ship, fire/collision, man overboard)
throughout the cruise. Everyone has his or her own life jacket
and immersion suit while on board. There are several life
rafts capable of holding all personnel (and more) in the unlikely
event it is necessary to abandon ship.
ship even has an onboard hospital that is equipped to handle
most emergencies. LT(JG) Michael Futch is the Medical Officer
assigned to the ship. LT(JG) Futch is prepared to respond
to a wide range of emergencies from heart attacks to lacerations.
He can even perform an amputation if absolutely necessary
– he would just need to borrow a hacksaw from the engineering
department. One of the more common conditions LT(JG) Futch
treats is seasickness that can be serious if it persists longer
than a few days. LT(JG) Futch is also the onboard Diving Medical
Officer which is an additional level of training that allows
him to respond appropriately to most diving related injuries.
So far, this has been an uneventful cruise for LT(JG) Futch.
There are the obvious systems onboard (i.e. propulsion, navigation,
communication) that enable the ship to fulfill its mission.
However, the greatest asset contributing to the success of
the ship is its hard-working, skilled and dedicated crew.
There is a noticeable positive attitude from all crewmembers
and a strong willingness to help the science teams complete
their mission. A portion of this good nature can probably
be attributed to Chief Steward, Allen Gary and Second Cook,
Susan Parker and the excellent food the y prepare daily. There
are also a few other amenities that may help prevent the onset
of cabin fever and improve the likelihood that all on board
can get along. For example, there is a ship store stocked
with everything from candy to shampoo to movie rentals and
there is a workout room equipped with stationary bike, rowing
machine, stair-stepper and assorted free weights. Juice, coffee
and ice cream are readily available at all times. For many
of the crew the ship is their home whether at sea or in port.
With the restaurant, convenience store, health club, juice
bar, coffee shop and ice cream I can understand why.
Sarah Jones, Navigation Officer, and fish biologist Matthew
Craig don immersion suits during an abandon ship drill. Photo
by Holly Bolick.
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