Two Drill Conductor Training courses for Great Lakes commercial fishing vessel captains offered

Commercial fishers are required to practice monthly emergency drills that cover 10 contingencies spelled out U.S. Coast Guard regulation.

On-vessel drill training is held at Red Cliff Indian Reservation during one of the 2016 Drill Conductor Training courses. Photo: Jim Thannum | Great Lakes Indian Fish and Wildlife Commission

On-vessel drill training is held at Red Cliff Indian Reservation during one of the 2016 Drill Conductor Training courses. Photo: Jim Thannum | Great Lakes Indian Fish and Wildlife Commission

Michigan Sea Grant, Wisconsin Sea Grant, the Alaska Marine Safety Education Association (AMSEA) and the Great Lakes Indian Fish and Wildlife Commission are coordinating two Drill Conductor Training courses that will be held at Bay Mills Indian Community (Michigan) and Red Cliff Indian Reservation (Wisconsin) this summer.

These courses will help Great Lakes commercial fishing vessel captains fulfill U.S. Coast Guard regulations related to instruction, drills and safety orientations, and onboard emergency instruction.

Required training

Commercial fishers are required to practice monthly emergency drills that cover 10 contingencies spelled out in the regulation. Persons conducting these drills must have passed a Drill Conductor Training course.

Contingencies covered include:

  • Abandoning vessel
  • Fighting fire in different locations on vessel
  • Recovering an individual from the water
  • Minimizing effects of unintentional flooding
  • Launching survival craft and recovering life boats and rescue boats
  • Donning immersion suits and other wearable floatation devices
  • Donning fireman’s outfit and self-contained breathing apparatus if equipped
  • Making a voice radio distress call and using visual distress signals
  • Activating the general alarm
  • Reporting inoperative alarm systems and fire detection system

Other requirements

Both drills and instructions must be conducted each month. Operators are required to give comprehensive orientations to all new persons coming aboard before departure. Commercial fishers need to have written safety information onboard. Depending on crew size this information needs to be posted if four or more crew members are onboard or kept as an available booklet if less than four crew members. AMSEA provides copies of the required information as part of the Drill Conductor class.

Emergency instruction must identify:

  • Survival craft embarkation stations aboard vessel and survival craft to which each individual is assigned
  • Fire and emergency signal and abandon ship signal
  • If immersion suits are provided, the location of suits and illustrated instructions for donning
  • Procedures for making a distress call
  • Essential action that must be taken in an emergency by each individual
  • Procedures for rough weather at sea, crossing hazardous bars, flooding, and anchoring of the vessel
  • Procedures to be used in the event an individual falls overboard
  • Procedures for fighting a fire

Who should attend?

The commercial fishing vessel operator or captain should be the one to attend a Drill Conductor class. If space is limited, we encourage the operator or captain to be the only participant from the crew. However, if there is room in class, we encourage crew members to participate, too. Most of our classes include both operators and crew. The schedule for the upcoming classes include:

All Drill Conductor classes run from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. and you must register at the AMSEA web site to attend one of the Drill Conductor classes. For additional information you can contact Ron Kinnunen (Michigan Sea Grant) at (906) 226-3687 or .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

Training rated ‘excellent’

Last year six classes were conducted in the Great Lakes region. The Drill Conductor Training courses were evaluated by the 77 attendees who rated the training as excellent and indicated the emergency drills on actual vessels helped increase their proficiency should an emergency arise. These courses had representation from commercial fishers from Lakes Superior, Michigan, Huron, and Erie and also included four U.S. Coast Guard personnel needing the training for their jobs.

Michigan Sea Grant helps to foster economic growth and protect Michigan’s coastal, Great Lakes resources through education, research and outreach. A collaborative effort of the University of Michigan and Michigan State University and its MSU Extension, Michigan Sea Grant is part of the NOAA-National Sea Grant network of 33 university-based programs.

Learn more

Read about experiences of previous trainees: Great Lakes commercial fishers get hands-on experience in emergency procedures

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