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Old 12-19-2011, 08:53 PM   #41
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RE: USPS Course Advice, Please

Speaking as a Past Commander of the Fox Valley Power Squadron in NW suburban Chicago, I think several things need to be mentioned.

1) The variability of instructor quality is definitely the Achille's heel for both USPS and USCGAux. I also used to teach Red Cross classes, same problem. Still, thank God for folks who will make a commitment and volunteer time to help others. But when you get a good instructor - it's golden. I used to love teaching about charts and aids to navigation in the ABC class to folks who never thought they needed to "waste their time with that junk". Then I'd see one spouse elbow the other when they realized what all those funny-looking red and green things were that they'd seen on a trip to Florida. You could see the light bulb flash over there head as they realized the potential to expand their boating horizons. Totally cool.

2) The other thing that the USPS course sequence offers is camaraderie. While you'd miss this with the online approach, it's quite common to see familiar faces as you proceed through Seamanship, Piloting and Advanced Piloting. Often classmates have very different boating styles and plans. But you learn by hearing the other guy's point of view (even if you never plan to trailer, etc.). Especially during long, cold Chicago winters, it was nice to look forward to being with like-minded souls for the weekly class.

3) As a motorcyclist as well as a boater, I think it's critical to avoid thinking "been there, done that". When you re-study basic, introductory material as someone with experience, you hear with different ears and learn with a different mind - if you come in with an open mind. Safety is never learned, but always in a state of practice, practice, practice.

4) When I took the 100 ton master's class, all my USPS learning gave me a solid well-rounded foundation.

My 2 cents.

Jeff Wolf
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Pilgrim 40 Trawler
Currently in Thunderbolt, GA
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Old 12-19-2011, 10:22 PM   #42
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RE: USPS Course Advice, Please

Wolfie,

I was wondering if anyone was going to mention camaraderie. You meet and get acquainted w quite a few people interested in what you're interested in. Kinda like Trawler Forum.

Eric
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Old 12-19-2011, 11:22 PM   #43
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RE: USPS Course Advice, Please

Wow, that was quite a read.* For me, the bottom line is that you will learn that there are several different ways to do anything.* Picking the one that's right for your particular situation at that moment will depend on your past experience.* How you get that experience will also color your decisions.* Getting the broadest range of experience gives you the ability to make the most informed decisions. Come on up to Alaska, and let me show you how we do it up here.* I'm certain that if you can do it safely in Alaska, you can do it almost anywhere...........Arctic Traveller

By the way, as a professional mariner running boats in Alaska for a large part of my life, I prefer to leave the eye splice on the boat, run the bitter end under the bull rail, and then back to the cleat.* That way, we can depart the dock when the winds screaming and the current is running without getting off the boat.* Just make sure you run the bitter end UNDER the bullrail, or you will have problems pulling it back aboard, but that's just my opinion based on what works for me, your experiences may dictate differently*

*

Trawler Training and charters at www.arctictraveller.com
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Old 12-19-2011, 11:46 PM   #44
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RE: USPS Course Advice, Please

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Just make sure you run the bitter end UNDER the bullrail, or you will have problems pulling it back aboard
Yep.
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Old 12-20-2011, 12:00 AM   #45
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USPS Course Advice, Please

Quote:
Marin wrote:Arctic Traveller wrote:
Just make sure you run the bitter end UNDER the bullrail, or you will have problems pulling it back aboard
Yep.

*I'll try to remember that.* Regarding dock lines, the USPS basic course I attended to only discussed how to tie to a cleat.


-- Edited by markpierce on Tuesday 20th of December 2011 01:02:50 AM
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Old 12-20-2011, 05:55 AM   #46
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USPS Course Advice, Please

Wolfie,

As a 30+ year member of USPS, I can verify what you said. *You can make lasting friends in that organization. *Like any organizaton, get active, and you will get to know people. *Just go to an occasional meeting, and it would be very hard to really get to know anyone or them you.

By the way, on Nov 5 would you have been cruising between Thunderbolt and Jekyll.? I think we passed you somewhere down that way.


-- Edited by Moonstruck on Tuesday 20th of December 2011 06:56:59 AM
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Old 12-20-2011, 10:59 AM   #47
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RE: USPS Course Advice, Please

The discussion between Marin and Charles puts me in mind of changes that I have observed in the docking procedures of the BC Ferries, over the past 35 yrs. In that time, there have been some docking incidents that have prompted the BC Workers Comp branch, now know as "Worksafe BC" to enact restrictive regulations and BC Ferries to institute SOPs (Standard Operating Procedures) that now resemble Charles article, as Marin interprets it, in that there is now only one way to bring the boat to the dock, only one way to tie the boat up, only one sequence of procedures that will result in the gates being opened so that unloading or loading may occur.

Any first time observer will note that this all takes a lot of time, but is very safe. To do it any other way, would be much quicker, and more efficient, in both manpower and fuel consumption, but would violate the SOP and, in extreme weather, might be unsafe. In good weather, it all seems to be inefficient and violates "Common Sense". In this day and age, when the worker today is not the same guy as was doing that job yesterday, unless you know the SOP, you don't get to do the job. If you wish to use Common Sense, rather than follow the SOP, you are a rebel and should look for work elsewhere.
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Old 12-20-2011, 12:07 PM   #48
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RE: USPS Course Advice, Please

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*it all seems to be inefficient and violates "Common Sense".
Yes, our politically correct "feel good" nanny state will eventually bring progress to a halt. At which point the people with common sense (if there are any left) will move in, relegate the paralyzed nanny-state crowd to the poorhouse, and rule the world again.
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Old 12-20-2011, 12:12 PM   #49
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RE: USPS Course Advice, Please

Quote:
koliver wrote:*If you wish to use Common Sense, rather than follow the SOP, you are a rebel and should look for work elsewhere.
Standardization is why there has not been a repeat of the Herald of Free Enterprise disaster and one of the reasons*why airline flying is almost twice as safe as it was just 10 years ago.

*
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Old 12-20-2011, 12:19 PM   #50
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RE: USPS Course Advice, Please

Rick:
I don't disagree with you. I just lament the lack of sufficient SOPs to include some "common Sense" procedures for when the conditions warrant some relaxation. We may eventually get there, but are plainly not close just yet.
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Old 12-20-2011, 12:20 PM   #51
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USPS Course Advice, Please

Quote:
RickB wrote:Standardization is why there has not been a repeat of the Herald of Free Enterprise disaster and one of the reasons*why airline flying is almost twice as safe as it was just 10 years ago.
*

Common sense does not automatically oppose standardization. *Where it makes sense to use standarized operating procedures--- as in flying for example--- they should be used and common sense recognizes the advantages of doing so.

My objection is to the "standardization" of virtually everything, often at the expense of efficiency and productivity. *This sheep-like devotion to "processes" is the fundamental reason the 787 is 3-1/2 years late.


-- Edited by Marin on Tuesday 20th of December 2011 01:21:23 PM
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Old 12-20-2011, 02:06 PM   #52
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RE: USPS Course Advice, Please

Quote:
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Common sense does not automatically oppose standardization. *Where it makes sense to use standarized operating procedures--- as in flying for example--- they should be used and common sense recognizes the advantages of doing so.

This sheep-like devotion to "processes" is the fundamental reason the 787 is 3-1/2 years late.

You got it. Good standards incorporate "common sense" and do not replace it.

Relying on "common sense" alone has always been shown to lead to disaster because it is not as common as some would like to believe.

The premise of the recent posts seems to be that SOP* has replaced common sense in the BC Ferry system. If it has and safety has improved then it is hard to say that much aside from a few bruised egos *has been lost.
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Old 12-20-2011, 04:44 PM   #53
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USPS Course Advice, Please

As a 20+ year USCG helo pilot with LOTs of shipboard experience, I can honestly say SOPs save a lot of lives, prevent injuries and protect property.

On the other hand SOPs are for a certain set of circumstances...once the equation changes...SOPs go out the window and only a HUGE amount of common sense and experience can make the outcome favorable...well luck can certainly have its part too.

Listening to people argue over where the "eye" end goes makes me laugh.* Most of the boats I have worked on don't even have loops in many of their lines.* The only reason to have a loop/spliced eye*in a line is if it's too large for a person or two to create one quickly*or if you are dealing with people who can't tie bowlines/clove hitches, or a cleat hitch*in a snap.*



-- Edited by psneeld on Tuesday 20th of December 2011 05:48:30 PM


-- Edited by psneeld on Tuesday 20th of December 2011 05:48:47 PM
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Old 12-20-2011, 05:07 PM   #54
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RE: USPS Course Advice, Please

Quote:
psneeld wrote:
As a 20+ year USCG helo pilot with LOTs of shipboard experience, I can honestly say SOPs save a lot of lives, prevent injuries and protect property.

On the other hand SOPs are for a certain set of circumstances...once the equation changes...SOPs go out the window and only a HUGE amount of common sense and experience can make the outcome favorable...well luck can certainly have its part too.

Listening to people argue over where the "eye" end goes makes me laugh.* Most of the boats I have worked on don't even have loops in many of their lines.* The only reason to have a loop/spliced eye*in a line is if it's too large for a person or two to create one quickly*or if you are dealing with people who can't tie bowlines/clove hitches, or a cleat hitch*in a snap.*

*
*My 4 dock lines have no permanent eyes spliced in. *There are a couple of reasons that I went to this system. *One is that if in a slip only a few nights (talking fixed docks with pilings) the bitterend will be secured to the boat. *The line will be taken to the piling with one turn. *The free end is led back to the boat and secured. *It makes it easy to get in the lines when leaving. *The second reason is that the line can be adjusted at either end if on a cleat at the dock. *Third is that you can always make a loop with a bowline when needed.

I do use a spliced in eye on the 4 sprng lines. *The eye is of both fore and aft spring lines is on the midship cleat. *Because the lines lead through a fair lead that makes them a little cumbersone to cleat off> *The four lines are coiled and hung on the rails to always be ready> *Usually a spring line is the first ashore*
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Old 12-20-2011, 09:13 PM   #55
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RE: USPS Course Advice, Please

Don, you must have seen my evil twin. On Nov. 5 Vagabond was on the hard at Thunderbolt Marine - almost 4 months of drying after a bottom peel. I was back in Chicago to sell my house (and get rid of waaaayyy too much junk) from late August to mid-November.

As an aside, Thunderbolt Marine is the old Palmer Johnson yard. Pretty funky being the pipsqueak amongst the megayachts. I saw a 187' power yacht get launched and a 112' sailboat's masts stepped. Also got invited to a BBQ at a 130' powerboat and for cocktails on an 80' sailboat. Damn, those professional yachts crews (with their professional chefs) eat good! I think there's only one other owner-operated boat here. But they were hungry for business in this economy and gave a nice discount off their labor rates for first class work.

Heading out after Christmas. I'll fondly remember hanging with the upper crust, but I know where I really belong.
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Old 12-20-2011, 10:31 PM   #56
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RE: USPS Course Advice, Please

Quote:
Wolfie wrote:
Don, you must have seen my evil twin. On Nov. 5 Vagabond was on the hard at Thunderbolt Marine - almost 4 months of drying after a bottom peel. I was back in Chicago to sell my house (and get rid of waaaayyy too much junk) from late August to mid-November.

As an aside, Thunderbolt Marine is the old Palmer Johnson yard. Pretty funky being the pipsqueak amongst the megayachts. I saw a 187' power yacht get launched and a 112' sailboat's masts stepped. Also got invited to a BBQ at a 130' powerboat and for cocktails on an 80' sailboat. Damn, those professional yachts crews (with their professional chefs) eat good! I think there's only one other owner-operated boat here. But they were hungry for business in this economy and gave a nice discount off their labor rates for first class work.

Heading out after Christmas. I'll fondly remember hanging with the upper crust, but I know where I really belong.
*Jeff, I have been in Thunderbolt many times. *Tubby's Tank House is one of our favorites. *We stopped at Thunderolt Marina to pick up 100 gal. of fuel on Nov. 5. *It is always loaded with mega yachts. *Let me know if you are headed south. *Ft. Pierce City Marina is a great stop. *Also there is a protected anchorage on the other side of the river.
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Old 12-21-2011, 04:14 AM   #57
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RE: USPS Course Advice, Please

Doesn't Thunderbolt GA claim to be the home of the KKK?
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Old 12-21-2011, 06:25 AM   #58
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RE: USPS Course Advice, Please

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Doesn't Thunderbolt GA claim to be the home of the KKK?
*Thunderbolt may claim it, but it was formed in Pulaski, TN. *Nathan Bedford Forrest (with 2 r's) was one of the first leaders.
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