Fishing vessel drill conductor safety training (Feb 2014)

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S tudents from Deer Isle-Stonington High School’s Marine Studies Pathway program took to the water in Maine Maritime Academy’s swimming pool on Saturday Feb. 8 as part of the training needed to earn the U. S. Coast Guard-approved Fishing Vessel Drill Conductor safety certification. The certification is a requirement for new commercial lobster licenses in Maine.

The 1988 Commercial Fishing Industry Safety Act mandates that all documented commercial fishing vessels operating beyond the Boundary Line or with more than 16 persons on board conduct monthly emergency drills. The Coast Guard regulation 46CFR28.265 & 46CFR28.270 describes the drills, instructions, and safety orientation that all persons on board fishing vessels are required to receive.

Commercial fishing has long been recognized as one of the most hazardous occupations in the United States. Recent fishing vessel disasters have highlighted the critical need to ensure fishermen are adequately prepared for unexpected emergencies at sea. Very little opportunities for fishermen to develop necessary safety and survival skills have been available, until now. Statistics prove that accidents happen quickly, and with little or no warning, with limited time to perform basic emergency procedures. The concept of emergency preparedness training is to reduce the chances of panic and irrational behavior. Our training is based on the principle that each crewmember is a piece of lifesaving equipment to each other. Who is to blame if a fisherman does not respond effectively to fighting a fire, recovering a man overboard or making a proper distress call?

In 1994, McMillan Offshore Survival Training, in conjunction with the Texas A & M Sea Grant program received United Stayes Coast Guard approval to teach fisherman how to conduct on-board emergency drills. Since then, our training has been conducted throughout the Gulf of Mexico and New England fishing communities.

Over 1500 fishermen have successfully completed our USCG approved Drill Conductor Training.

Our training program has been carefully designed to follow the guidelines of 46CFR28.270 as well as established training standards both internationally and in the United States.

The company is guided by John H. McMillan who has over 22 years of marine survival training experience. As the United States representative to the International Association for Safety and Survival Training (IAAST), Mr McMillan has traveled throughout the world attending and conducting training programs to fishermen and professional mariners.

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