What Vessel Ops is to me.... A poem


The bell rings and I reach into arms of my coat

I walk through a stone archway

A stream of 15 back-packed students

Approaches a floating orange dock

Our feet thud as they hit the

Creaking gangway

We pull up and over the side of a large gray bathtub

Wrist to wrist

The heavy snakes that link us to shore are thrown among triumphant yells

"Bow line off!"

Our teacher sits in the back corner

He's grinning

We've done this ourselves

Student hands bend over to clutch the wheel

Student eyes look out over a shinning New York Harbor in search of an oncoming vessel

Student arms coil the lines and organize the deck

We are heading past the long blue warehouses in Redhook

We bounce the waves and turn at Brooklyn Bridge Park

A boat hook is passed into my hand

Hands hold my PFD as I reach over the bow and pull up

The buoy bobbing in the sparkling East River

My hands slime over as

I make the line attached to the buoy fast onto our vessel

A small red boat speeds over to ferry my class to the Lettie

The beautiful old tall ship our program works to operate

We’re here

There are very few times in my life that I've felt truly

Trusted and empowered

This moment right now

As I look around at my friends

Gives me a proud smile I feel like I can

Accomplish anything

SeniorVessel Ops