Mission Log: June 14, 2007
Lieutenant JG Tracy Hamburger
Operations Officer, NOAA Ship Nancy Foster
The Foster gladly returns to Gray's Reef year after year to fulfill and support resource management projects of the sanctuary. Today, unfortunately is one of those days when nature trumps science. The winds were blowing 14-20 knots throughout the night and upon awakening you didn't have to step outside to know what the seas were like. The local ODAS buoy was recording wave heights of 5.5 feet. Seas of this height create a danger for launching boats, transferring personnel, and recovering boats therefore operations were postponed.
As operations officer and after serving 2 and half years aboard, I always am disappointed when there is lost time and resources for the scientific party. Luckily, there is still a week left of productivity. Safety is very important when you work in dynamic environment such as the ocean. As the ship's divemaster and a small boat coxswain, I try to think ahead and play out emergency situations, so I will be prepared in the event of a real emergency that involves divers. Also, I ensure that the other crewmembers keep that in the back of their minds as well.
There are several procedures already in place to reduce the potential for diving related emergencies, each small boat has an emergency oxygen kit and a way to recall divers if necessary. All coxswains are trained in First Aid, CPR, and O2 Administration. As a ship' s working diver, I can't wait for the weather and visibility to clear up around the sanctuary, so that the working divers can get their feet wet and see the amount of life and fish that call Gray's Reef home.