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Marine Safety Detachment Kodiak SERVS up damage control

MSD Kodiak SERVS up damage control

Posted by: PA3 Jonathan Lally

KODIAK, Alaska - Drew Horning and Jim Carmichael work together
to stop a leak in a Coast Guard Marine Safety Detachment Kodiak
damage control trainer in Kodiak April 2, 2012.
U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Jonathan Lally.
Ice cold water spews from a broken pipe. Two mariners rush to the site with patches and wedges to attempt to slow and stop the leak. As they work together to secure the leaking pipe, there is another eruption of icy water. The water rapidly rises up their feet and to their ankles.

“Quick hand me a patch, wedge and mallet! This pipe’s gushing water and there’s water rushing through a hole in the deck,” said a Kodiak-based mariner, during a Ship Escort Response Vessel System training event. “We need to get the dewatering pump running quick!”

Marine Safety Detachment Kodiak personnel work levers to adjust the flow of water rushing into a Coast Guard damage control training trailer, while volunteer mariners work to decrease a surge of water clambering up their feet and legs. Mariners on Kodiak City Pier Two assist the two volunteers working furiously to control the stream of water in the trailer.

“I think this training is awesome especially since it is a controlled environment,” said Drew Horning, a crewman on the Kodiak-based fishing vessel Captain Kidd. “I’d rather be freezing here making repairs and patching damaged pipes than out there where you don’t know when or if help may come to your rescue.”

Caleb Burnett, an 18-year-old Kodiak High School student, was able to attend the SERVS training with his parents who have attended the training for more than five years. He mentioned the Coast Guard’s damage control trailer is good hands-on experience.

“There was a lot of good information and knowledge passed through the SERVS training and I enjoyed it all,” said Burnett. “I have to say getting into the Coast Guard trainer and experiencing the frigid water on my hands as I worked wedges into holes was exciting and eye opening.”

More than 350 volunteers participated in the trainer, two at a time and others working to assist. The training trailer has multiple cracks, breaks and holes throughout the deck, plus pipes and mock walls to help simulate possible areas that could allow water to flow into a vessel.

“In this controlled environment we are able to simulate possible scenarios that fishermen or mariners might run into during a vessel emergency,” said Petty Officer 2nd Class Ben Stixrud, with MSD Kodiak. “The damage control trailer is an excellent tool for mariners to experience all the adrenaline rush and urgency to fix the damage without the risk to themselves or their vessel.”

The Kodiak-based mariners who attended the SERVS training gained a tremendous amount of information on oil spill prevention, proper equipment for spill clean-up and vessel damage control. Some had knowledge reinforced and others learned new things.

The damage control training provided many mariners the chance to realize how quickly water can flood a vessel and how crucial it is to know how to prevent and manage flooding if it occurs.

“I’d like to believe our job in the marine safety field prevents and reduces the number of rescues the Coast Guard performs,” said Stixrud. “We try to accomplish this by training and educating mariners on safety procedures, dockside exams, equipment maintenance and encouraging every mariner to keep safety in the forefront of their mind both underway and at the pier.”