RWO Weekly Update
Week Ending Monday 29 August 2011
This week, without a doubt was one of the most interesting and eventful weekends any of the present waterfront members can remember. On Sunday, CDR Gasiorek, the waterfront staff and officers, as well as the rest of the waterfront members started toying with the idea that Hurricane Irene could in fact impact Kings Point. On Tuesday morning at the officers meeting we decided that this possibility was more of a reality and began our preparations. Our initial intention was to conduct a drill for hurricane preparedness. The plan was to take every vessel possible and 70 midshipmen up the Hudson River just as we would in the event of a serious hurricane situation. Everyone scrambled Tuesday morning to put this plan in action and by noon time we had the TM's in, the crew lists together, and the food order placed.
Thursday morning rolled around and the computer models for Hurricane Irene had come to a consensus of a direct hit on Long Island. This put all of us into immediate action. We shifted our focus from that of a drill to that of real action. The waterfront staff began working Thursday morning to empty the basin. The waterfront officers put together a plan of action for the storm and set up watches and work teams to get everything accomplished. We minimized the crews on all vessels and set up a watch system to tour the waterfront during the storm. On Thursday afternoon all the waterfront teams were down at the waterfront working incredibly hard to prepare for the impending weather. The dinghy team de-rigged and moved all the dinghies up the hill. The offshore team was busy de-rigging boats and getting them ready to come out of the water. The crew team pulled out all the equipment from Prosser boat house. The powersquad assisted the staff in pulling out their vessels and preparing them for the weather.
After the all hands meeting in Delano on Thursday night where everyone was excused to go home the major concern was losing the assigned hands that would be necessary for the storm. In an incredible display of pride in the waterfront and the vessels we ended up with more help than we anticipated. Waterfront members from all teams were coming up to me after the meeting Thursday evening to volunteer their services in whatever way possible to make sure the waterfront made it through the storm without any problems. By Friday at noon we had the final crew lists put together for all the vessels that would go up the river to take refuge. We also had the entire watch system put together for the weekend at KP. On top of this at 0800 Friday morning all the people assigned to the KP storm team reported to the waterfront and put in a full day working until 1800 Friday night to ready the waterfront for the storm. What was accomplished was nothing short of incredible. From Thursday afternoon through Friday night the entire basin was emptied, a feat that normally takes a month at the end of the season, the docks were secured, watch shacks moved, Yocum sailing center had everything moved off the decks to higher shelves and every other precaution possible was taken.
Following a full nights rest Friday the storm team members reported aboard their respective vessels Saturday morning. The watch teams also reported to the waterfront to finish up any last minute details and help the waterfront staff with whatever they needed. By 1000 Saturday morning 11 vessels including the Kings Pointer were under way for refuge in the Hudson River crewed by 50 midshipmen and members of the faculty and waterfront staff. The waterfront members aboard displayed some of the best seamanship I have seen since I have been at this school. All the vessels road out the hurricane in the Hudson River off Indian Point. Vigilant watches were stood by all the vessels to make sure their vessel and crew was safe through the storm. The vessel skippers did an incredible job of taking on this responsibility and making sure their crews were safe at all times. Everyone involved took on responsibility for the vessels and each other by doing simple things like making sure PFD's were being worn while on anchor watch in the storm. Not only was this done by a great group of midshipmen but there were sailors on power boats, powersquad members on sailboats, and plenty of people crewing vessels they have never been on before. This didn't stop the plan from going off without a hitch. The waterfront made it through the weekend without damage to a single vessel, zero personal injuries and no damage to the waterfront facilities. This is without a doubt attributed to the hard work and dedication of the midshipmen and waterfront staff.
On Sunday evening the vessels made it back to Long Island Sound and dropped anchor in Manhasset Bay to ride out the rest of the wind. By Monday all the vessels and midshipmen were safe and sound back in the Basin. The work however didn't stop here. The entire KP storm team, after a long weekend of watch standing worked all day Monday to undo everything that was done. By Monday afternoon the waterfront was 90% put back together and all the vessels were back in the water. Never have I been so proud to claim to be part of this thing we all call the Waterfront Family.