Leaves are changing color, days are getting shorter, and Bravo Team is back on the water! We have a full team of middle and high school students from the Port Townsend School District’s OCEAN program to operate longboat Townshend. Five of our students are returning (some for several years!), and they have lots of skills and knowledge to share with our new members. We also have a new captain, Amber Hocking, who is joining Captain Chrissy McLean and OCEAN teacher Daniel Molotsky to crew our mighty longboat.
Our first days on the water have been filled with community and skill-building. We are doing everything from learning each other’s names and favorite hobbies to learning how to pack boat gear, tie knots, put on PFDs, share snacks and savor our moment of silence on the water. We are also enjoying rowing out of the Boat Haven marina while Point Hudson is closed for construction. Being in a different location gives us the opportunity to explore different habitats, like the shallow eelgrass beds near shore and the dolphins at the state ferry dock.
We are also learning a lot about rowing in sync. Focusing on rowing helps us learn how our boat maneuvers and how we need to pay attention to each other as we row. It also helped us complete our first “person in the water” drill. This is a safety drill where we throw a rubber fender in the water and then go through the steps to safely recover that “person.” Practicing the steps of an emergency helps us be ready in case we ever encounter one. On longboat Townshend, a crew overboard drill has five very important steps: 1) yell “person in the water” and point to the person, 2) throw a life ring, 3) designate a pointer (usually the bow watch), 4) row to the person and recover them, and 5) finally, recover the life ring if possible.
Look for us out on the water in the coming weeks—we might be rowing, or singing a sea shanty, or setting a sail, or just smiling at the joy of a day on the water with friends.