waterfront club: docking practice


This past Tuesday, May 12th, several harbor school freshman had the opportunity to operate one of harbor school's vessels, the Indy 7. While under the supervision of Luis Melendez student had the opportunity to get their hands behind the wheel of Indy 7. It was no ordinary day, this is something freshman don't normally get the opportunity to do. However thanks to the waterfront club they have some wheel experience. Prior to getting underway an engine check was demonstrated with Allen, a vessel ops sophomore taking the lead on that. He showed students what is to be checked every time prior to an engine start-up, which including various fluid check such as oil and coolant check. After that Indy's engine cover was placed back over the engine and Indy was started via the 2 corner push buttons located on the console by the wheel. Once Indy was on Luis Melendez had a quick discussion on line handling and which lines would be taken off first etc.

Allen waited patiently on the dock for Luis's instruction of which lines to take off first which initially included singling up lines, which is the removal of extra lines that are just in use as backups essentially. Once lines were singled up and a waterfront club student was standing by a line Luis instructed Allen to start dropping lines, Bow, stern spring, stern and then bow spring. Luis was initially behind the wheel for undocking purposes but as soon as Indy was out in the buttermilk channel and traffic was calm Luis handed the wheel over to the students so they could get the experience of operating Indy 7.

As there were new students on the wheel one would expect lots of zig-zag (tacking) motions but no there wasn't too much of that these students were practically naturals behind the wheel. However with there handling proficiency, they weren't prepared for docking and as a result, had to be guided by Luis in those actions. With the same students who took the lines when they were dropped this time they were tossing lines and with the bow spring being the first line to get sent over I may have made the students tossing that line nervous, as I said "Don't mess up, that's the most important line", which left me with the response "Awww why'd you have to tell me that".

All in all the docking were successful and it was great to see these rising vessel operators behind the wheel and honing their skills. The day was concluded with a quick debrief by Luis and Indy was "put to bed", lines were doubled up, trash was taken out and anything else that could be found on the deck was stored. One might call it a good day.