SAN FRANCISCO -- Crewmembers from the M/V John A. B. Dillard, Jr., braved frigid and choppy waters May 5 as they conducted rescue swimmer training in the San Francisco Bay.
With a curriculum set up by the Newport Beach, Calif.-based Marine Rescue Consultants, the training gave the crew not only a chance to recertify in their life-saving skills but to try out a newly-installed davit system on the the boat.
"It's a brand new concept for the Dillard," said Kixon Meyer, captain of the 86-foot catamaran-hull fast boat used by the Corps for emergency operations and debris removal. "We can now manually launch our life raft if our ship loses power."
On the final training session, held the morning of May 5, crewmembers used the davit to raise swimmers out of the water and onto the deck. Each swimmer was outfitted with a full wetsuit and dive fins and tethered to a safety rope with one of the crewmembers serving as a tender on deck. Crewmembers changed roles throughout the day between man overboard, rescue swimmer, stand-by swimmer and tender.
"We have a small crew, so anyone can find themselves in any role at any time," said Meyer.
After numerous iterations of open water drills held alongside the Dillard, the crew returned to dock in Sausalito where they received their training certificates.