Thunder Bay, Michigan
Motorboat Operator Certification Course
BY LINDSEY ADAMS, ALPENA FWCO
Motorboat Operator Certification Course (MOCC) instructors Adam Kowalski, Anjie Bowen, and Scott Koproski from Alpena Fish and Wildlife Conservation Office (FWCO) along with Josh Schloesser out of the Ashland FWCO hosted an Open Water MOCC module in Alpena , Michigan. Nine students from around Region 3 attended the course.
and MOCC instructor, enters the water to
become the man-overboard victim for the
day. Credit: Lindsey Adams, USFWS
the simulated “Mayday” call. Credit: Anjie Bowen, USFWS
The course is designed to give students the tools and knowledge necessary to safely navigate the open waters of the Great Lakes, respond during an emergency, and return to port safely. Students learned to navigate waters not only using a GPS, but also by calculating location, distance, speed, and travel times from paper charts in the event of equipment failure. The students executed rescue safety techniques in a controlled pool environment by performing man overboard drills and the deployment of a survival raft for a crew of ten people. On the water students honed their skills in charting, navigating, and boating maneuvers such as avoidance, close corridor turning, man overboard rescue, and docking using large boats with twin screw motors.
Credit: Lindsey Adams, USFWS
On the second day of the course the students simulated a “Mayday” sinking vessel scenario with guidance from instructors and close observation from local US Coast Guard Auxiliary members. One student called over the radio “Mayday, Mayday, Mayday” to start the simulation. One by one the students entered the water, gathering together in the life saving technique known as the human chain. Once all students had been linked together and the “sinking boat” was safely out of the way, each “victim” was pulled from the water by the rescue team.
On the final day Mother Nature made sure to test the students during the final evaluation as a thick layer of fog covered Thunder Bay until late morning, limiting visibility to only a few meters. The students used the skills gained throughout the week to successfully navigate Thunder Bay through the thick fog and complete each task presented.