The Power of Social Media

Whenever you hear that phrase it is generally with some kind of negative connotation. Whether it is about kids posting photos of themselves being degenerates, or bullying on Facebook. I for one however am a big proponent of the good power of social media. Aside from the exchange of ideas and information, there is also the ability to connect with like-minded people you never would have met.
Over the last few years I have met up with a few of these like-minded people. Tugboat guys, supply boat guys, and sailors of all types. Not long ago I got to tie up alongside the man behind crew boat chronicles, someone who I count as a good friend and regular confidant. More recently I got to meet up with a new friend from the facebook group. A little background if you don’t know, tugboat information is the go to source of information about tugs and towing companies in the United States. The associated facebook group is also the biggest collection of tugboat nerds and professionals you will ever meet. Back on point another photo bug member of the group from the west coast came out east for a fall road trip. He and his wife have been making the fall rounds, being leaf peepas, and getting their fill of New England’s famous seafood.
I had mentioned on the group that we should try and cross paths and luckily enough that is exactly what happened. We met up to take some photos of a veritable tug parade at the east end of the canal, and then again the following night for dinner. The therapist fiancé and myself had a great time and I can’t thank our new friends enough for such wonderful conversation, laughter, and dinner! So I hope they enjoy the rest of their road trip and we get to cross paths again!

Ocean Tower

Ocean Tower

Another meeting situation!

Another meeting situation!



Ellen Bouchard, Buckley McAllister & Craig Eric Reinauer

Ellen Bouchard, Buckley McAllister & Craig Eric Reinauer

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In House Projects 2

As promised, here is a time lapse video I made of our end of the housing unit project we completed the hitch before last. I actually made this for the company to use internally, however I think you the reader may enjoy it as well. I know I said it would get posted ages ago, however the change to Mac has caused a few technical difficulties for me!

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Honest Decisions

Operating a vessel in a busy port, with an at times high operational tempo, requires more than just good boat handling skills. In fact you can move all over a port successfully with only a mediocre ability to handle the vessel. What is by far more important is the ability to take in information, process it, apply it to your vessel and skill set, and then make a decision based on that info. It is not only being able to make that initial decision, but to then continue to re-evaluate it as you carry it out. Further you then might have to make the decision that your initial decision wasn’t such a great decision. Seems complicated doesn’t it? Well in truth it can be, however it can also be quite simple.
There are a few parts to these decisions that are actually pretty simple. They will vary from your understanding of your vessel, and the others you interact with. Things like: How is your drive system configured, how effective are your thrusters, does she have fast rudders that redirect a lot of water? What are the weather conditions are you loaded deep or floating high? What is your visibility like out of your control station, what is it like in the port or slips you are moving around? What types of vessels are you interacting with, where are they going, and the great unknown: how good is the guy running that other vessel?

Have you made a security call lately?

Have you made a security call lately?

The only one of the above questions that you generally can’t answer is the last one. How good is the guy, or gal, running that other vessel? Sometimes you have worked along side them, or maybe know one of the operators onboard. Otherwise it’s best to assume the worst.
So you may be asking yourself, if those are the simple things, what is the difficult part. You may also be asking, where does your boat handling skill set come in? In my opinion they mesh together in what I will simply call Honesty. The honesty part has less to do with how well you handle a boat, and more to do with how well you self evaluate.
Patience is a virtue

Patience is a virtue

Certain sectors of this industry are very high paced and require quick thinking, and the ability to switch task with out loosing sight of the primary job at hand. As the officer of the watch you need to be able to make driving the boat, no matter how mediocre or amazingly you do it, a subconscious effort. It needs to be subconscious because as you are manipulating the controls you have to look ahead and plan for traffic situations. You need to be evaluating the environment around you ahead of time to allow yourself to anticipate as opposed to react. If that isn’t enough the client will be calling on the phone, the deckhands will need instructions, and you might be dictating a time sensitive email to the office about vessel repairs. The list of near simultaneous decision-making never ends. You can’t do it all at once safely, though to be an asset to the vessel and company you need to be able to do at least a few things at a time.
So after a bit of time on the sticks, and after being given a watch holding position or title. If you need someone to handle the radios for you, and to constantly be a look out for traffic. If you need to confer with someone on most maneuvering decisions. If it takes you hours to do basic daily reports and paperwork, and you still consistently have errors. If you continue to have close calls with docked vessels in a narrow slip, continue to bump the dock hard enough for comments to be made. You need to be honest with yourself, and do something differently.
How is your night vision?

How is your night vision?

In parting I will leave you with a favorite quote of mine that I think ties in nicely.

“Lack of Failure, is not Evidence of Success”
-Kennebec Captain.

For Kennebec Captain’s fantastic blog on seamanship and vessel operation see my blog roll or click here

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Photo of the week 10-11-14

We had some nice light in Fourchon this morning. Here are a few of Hornbeck Offshore Service’s on charter OSV’s standing by for their clients orders on the pilings.

Ready and waiting

Ready and waiting

If you like my photos and want to see all of them in one place, please look me up on Facebook. Just search for New England Waterman and hit like!

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Shootin’ the Breeze

The first new PSV for Jackson Offshore, the MV Breeze. Recently launched by BAE and newly arrived in Fourchon. Very similar to Mr. Rigdon’s vessels at his last venture Rigdon Offshore. 252’x 60′ she definitely appears to have more accommodations than any vessel in that size range.








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Colors 2

Every once in a while the colors out here will make you just make you stop and stare.









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28.5 and counting

Well I have been back on the boat for a day or two, but here is something I wrote at 30,000 feet on my way south.

It is no secret that I enjoy what I do for a living. While mud boats and the oil patch might not be the most romantic sector of the maritime industry, the 28/28 schedule is hard to beat. Especially when you couple it with the current pay levels, the good benefits, and decent to excellent equipment you get to work with.
However for a New Englander like me Belle Pass will never be Two Bush channel, Fourchon will never be Boston, and Houma will never be Penobscot Bay. This evening as my 737 climbed out of Logan Airport we traveled first to the east. Passing just north of Deer Island; I had a perfect view of the harbor. From Castle Island and Anchorage #2, to the Nubble channel and the Narrows. Climbing I looked down at the north and south approaches, Boston Light, the Hypocrite, and the Graves. The sun sitting low in the west lit it all up in a golden tone. Coming west-northwest from Provincetown was Salacia, cutting along with a graceful looking ease. My plane banked around offshore to head southwest towards Houston. From this vantage I had the whole harbor, the whole city, and most of the north shore backlit in bronze light. The Ruth E Hughes was east bound in the western way, and what was likely Ceteca was racing out of Hingham to meet her.
All of these sights, these boats, that light evoked a lot of found memories for me. Good friends and good times; being broke and not really caring. Having too much fun running passenger boats and spending most of our paychecks at the Times and Coop’s. These were great memories, great emotions, and beautiful sights.
However it is funny how life changes. Normally that take off is always what I want out of Boston. Today I wish I had sat on the other side of the plane. I wished for the minute after that turn I could have looked out the window and seen the Cape. While I couldn’t have exactly seen my house from there I could have felt it. Instead of long days of work and nights we hardly remember, my mind would have played back the last three amazing months of hanging pictures and playing with the dog in the yard. Images of me 20 feet up a ladder changing a bulb and the Therapist Fiancé holding the ladder while trying to keep the dogs attention. Images of the Furry Child growling at the Therapist Fiancé and me in bed for touching his feet, and the associated look of embarrassment from him.
It was only today that I really felt what it means to be truly homesick. You see because the last few years, since high school really, I haven’t felt home in any particular place. Everything has been temporary, just for now, and not a place to call mine.
This is the curse of the job, and what makes most people not understand why I do what I do. Today I kind of feel like that to, and it actually does make me feel a bit more normal. Don’t mistake me though; I still love what I do for a living. The privilege of bearing witness to some of mother natures greatest shows. Living for weeks at a time where blue meets blue, and seeing all the things that inhabit this space. The sense of camaraderie when you have a really good crew, not to mention some of the awesome toys they call company property. Though today I can say the past few months have shown me which half of my life I unequivocally love more. I have to say thanks to the Therapist Fiancé and our furry child for making our house, and our town truly a home. That and thanks for putting up with my nautically eccentric behavior!

28.5 days and counting hunny, please keep the lights on for me

Not everyone

Not everyone gets excited

even our furry friend

even our furry friend

for tug boat spotting!

for tug boat spotting!

Though I sure the Therapist Fiancé and our Fur Child being good sports was appreciated

Though I am sure the Therapist Fiancé and our Fur Child being good sports was appreciated

by the Maria T and.....

by the Maria T and…..

the Doris Moran!

the Doris Moran!

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