On board the Virga we practice a variety of safety measures. We want to be in compliance with the Coast Guard’s requirements for fishing vessels, but we also want to concentrate on fishing and not have to worry about the “what if’s…”
Survival suits, a life raft, a variety of flares; everything tested yearly and organized neatly. We practice drills to make sure we’re comfortable with where to go and what to do in different situations. Man overboard, water in the engine room, a fire in the galley. Feeling confident under pressure in different situations is the best way to try and ensure you’re not going to panic if you actually find yourself in one of these scary situations.
Dave and I have also both taken the Alaska Marine Safety & Education Association’s 2-day safety class, a great way to practice all kinds of panic-inducing scenarios. You get to climb in and out of a liferaft wearing an immersion suit, try and plug up holes in a flooding hull, all kinds of fun stuff!
Hopefully we’ll never have to make a may day call - but if we do, we’ll be ready, just like the Kupreanof’s crew. Here’s the whole story of their rescue.