It’s Calendar Time!

Well I have been meaning to do it for a while and I finally have! I’ve got two calendars ready to go and a third in the works. The first is a collection of my favorite pictures of HOS workboats, and the second is a collection of some of my favorite workboat pictures from Port Fourchon and the Gulf of Mexico! They can be ordered at the above page on my site! Just remember during check out to make a note about which calendar you would like!

The Vessels of Hornbeck Offshore!

The Vessels of Hornbeck Offshore!

G.O.M. Workboat Images!

G.O.M. Workboat Images!

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It’s that time of year again

Well I came home to second half of fall and despite todays temperature being in the 60’s fall is most certainly on its way out. It won’t be long until Old Man Winter shows up to kick New England’s collective ass. Of course he already fired an opening blow on Maine with snow, ice and power outages galore. Things weren’t so bad here on Cape Cod at Fiddlers Green, some branches, lots of leaves and one dead tree on the ground. No damage or loss of power though. We tragically did have to finally turn the heat on though, though only to 60, so I haven’t cried too too much.
The symbolic turning on of the heat for the year is actually what this post is about, and how it relates to the maritime world more than you know, especially here in the Northeast! For many of the tug and towing companies in america, their bread in butter is the transport of petroleum products. For the Northeastern United States during the fall and winter that means more tugs making more round trips carrying that heavy black oil we seem to love burning to heat our homes and create electricity. For me these means, aside from the wallet cringing when heat goes on, more tugboats to take photos of and more often!

The other day I caught the Lucy Reinauer east bound at the east end with a loaded barge, Boston Towboat’s Justice escorting. As luck would have it I knew the Master onboard, and as always it was fun to give a friend a wave!

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Today I was waiting for a few boats and only caught a pair. Dann Marine Towing’s Atlantic Coast with McAllister’s Buckley McAllister assisting them into Sandwich NRG. The second load of fuel oil for the power plant in as many weeks. Another sure sign that winter is coming and the thermostats are going up. Besides if you watch AIS at all you’ve have noticed the constant stream of tugs in and out of Boston, Portland, and points north.

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So for the next two weeks I’ll keep shooting media as the oil pushing boats come and go, the Therapist Fiancé and I will also keep the Thermostat up a few notches and do our part in the process.

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Photo of the week 11-4-14

In this week from a co-worker, OICNW Nate Lammers. This photo was taken from warmer times this summer onboard the 1949 Burger Yachts 47′ Ketch Mary Grace on Lake Michigan. Great Shot!

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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 tugboatinformation.com 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!

Ezyduzit

Ezyduzit

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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