Port Townsend Maritime Academy Students Earn Drill Conductor Card

This year’s Port Townsend Maritime Academy (PTMA) students recently completed six weeks of training to earn their Alaska Marine Safety Education Association (AMSEA) Drill Conductor Card. This US Coast Guard-approved course provides practical knowledge of marine survival equipment and the skills for emergency onboard procedures.

AMSEA’s mission is to reduce injury and death in the marine and freshwater environment through education and training. Since 1985, they have been delivering Drill Conductor Courses to mariners who operate in the often hazardous waters that stretch from the Pacific Northwest up to Northern Alaska. The course covers the principles of survival in cold water environments, firefighting techniques onboard, vessel damage control, and organizing emergency responses at sea. 

William Walden, a PTMA student and Senior at Port Townsend High School, summarized the unit as a comprehensive training course. “This involved multiple trainings during the time we spent in this unit. We learned about marine survival, which involved building fires, donning immersion suits and cold water survival, the seven steps of survival, making mayday calls, firefighting, learning about EPIRBs (Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacon), and abandoning ship,” explained William.

Students dove into the hands-on training under the guidance of experienced instructors. Skylar Wilkerson, a PTMA student and Junior from Port Orchard, shared the excitement of testing Personal Flotation Devices (PFD) and immersion suits at the YMCA. “Personally, I gotta say that it was extremely fun. In this unit, we also got out our life raft. We had to get in the life raft to show we could do it while in the water. We also put on our immersion suits in the water in 60 seconds or less.”

The unit was full of hands-on experiences that pushed students to apply their knowledge in real-world scenarios. From practicing emergency responses to donning immersion suits, the students honed the skills necessary to navigate challenging maritime conditions. After completing the course, they now carry not only a new certification but also the invaluable knowledge that could save lives at sea.

Learn more about the Port Townsend Maritime Academy by visiting our website or joining us at the Maritime Career Fair on March 16.