Marooned by the U.S. Coast Guard

To  Capt. Kelly Sweeney, I appreciate your recent article about the CG  and mariner's documents. (PM #111)It is likely you have many accounts like mine, but i thought you may still read my case, a typical stew of mariner's frustration.   I write my brief mainly to get it off my chest while i look for another profession. Thanks for taking the needed…
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Why Do Pilots Not Wear Helmets

The picture at the top of the Mariners Speak shows three members of the maritime community and only one without any head protection.  The recent spate of accidents, have shown that often pilots are rendered unconscious when they fall from a pilot ladder and are unable to take action to save themselves.  Working on a pilot boat puts both the…
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Tour aboard dredge off Balboa comes to an end

Ahoy Shipmates! Yesterday, as we were coming into the slip to dump a load of sand, on the bank covered with mud was THE biggest crocodile I'd ever seen. He looked at least ten feet long! I thought of how lucky those kayakers who fell in the water last week were (see my previous blog), not just because they avoided…
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A busy week on the dredge Stuyvesant

Ahoy Shipmates! It's been a busy week here on the Stuyvesant! We are almost always moving, either dredging up and loading sand off the Pearl Islands (where the TV show "Survivor Panama" was filmed, I hear), or discharging our sand load for the container terminal expansion back in Balboa harbor. The dry season here has kicked in. The days are…
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Kelly Sweeney aboard dredge off Panama

Happy New Year, Shipmates! I am working as an officer on a US flag dredge, the M/V Stuyvesant, off the coast of Panama. I flew down to catch the job the week before Christmas, covering for a young mate so he could be home with his family for the holidays. The weather has been typically “Panamanian” - humid and hot!…
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On the use of helicopters by ship pilots

I read with interest Capt. William Worth's article on pilot transfers (PM 110). He raises some very valid points, both pro and con, about helicopter transfers, as well as the challenges faced on today's ships with the boarding ladders.   From my own experience, one of the latent consequences of pilots boarding by ladder from boat is that in rough…
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Small town plays large role in boatbuilding

Lockport, La. is a small town of 2,600 people located in Bayou Country on the Lafourche Bayou about 46 miles southwest of New Orleans. It is home to several boatbuilding companies that construct much of the nation’s offshore supply boat fleet as well as other vessels including tugs and Coast Guard patrol boats. These companies, both large and small, line…
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