Marlinespike at Coast Guard Muskegon

It was an amazing day today at the Auxiliary. We met at the Coast Guard station in Muskegon for boat crew member training. We were practicing knots with the Coasties, when Matt (an O-4) suggested that we should practice on the actual boats. So, we headed outside, into the cold rain, and went aboard one of the Coast Guard boats.  First, Brian and Rick talked about safety at the deck and on the boat, reviewed navigation lights, and together with Matt gave us the “touch anything you want, but if you break it, you buy it” speech. 🙂  With that in mind, we got started tying up some towing knots.

Matt went over how to safely toss a line to another boat, how to tie lines together, and the proper procedure for attaching lines to the cleats without getting our fingers stuck!  Rick showed us how to toss a line, but he forgot to do the most important thing — ensure the other end is tied to the boat. 🙂  So there it went, flying away and ending up on the water. Luckily, they had hooks handy to pull it back out. Everyone got a kick out of that!  Then, one by one, we got on our knees on the wet surface of the boat to tie the towing line to the cleat. I know the weather wasn’t great, but it actually added to the excitement (and the laughs) of the occasion.  For about an hour, we got to be mariners, learning the way of the sea (or rather, the Great Lakes) in the  midst of Michigan weather.  In three words: it was fun!

After a few more training activities, we went back inside to prepare lunch for the Coasties (and us).  We had a really great time, listening to their stories and looking at some of the awesome pictures that Matt took in Muskegon Lake. Matt is being transferred to the South very soon, but most of the other Coasties will be around for a while. After lunch, we did some navigation training, got signed off on marlinespike training, and were invited to call up anytime to come on a ride. I can’t wait to do that! But… I’ll do it when it gets above 60 degrees outside. 🙂

Coming up next are a swimming test, more boat crew member training, and “boat camp,” a day of intensive training on Auxiliary boats.

About Gabriel Mongefranco

Gabriel Mongefranco is your software developer for all things data: extraction, integration, analytics and security. He is also a blogger, a poet, a proud father and a faithful Christian. He is always eager to contract with faith-based nonprofits! Learn more.