Earlier this month, the Eastern Maine Skippers Program (EMSP) completed the first of many downeast offerings of the United States Coast Guard (USCG) Emergency Drill Conductor Training for the commercial fishing industry. Presented in partnership with McMillan Offshore Survival, the Maine Center for Coastal Fisheries grant award from the Center for Disease Control and the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, this course will be offered in communities that EMSP serves through its school and organizational program from Penobscot Bay to the Canadian border.
This program, modified from its original full day-long format, includes safety and drill component instruction via a dedicated web page combined with a six hour practicum that has been modified for consideration of mitigating COVID-19 protocols. The program covers equipment, procedures and behavioral considerations for fire, flooding, man overboard, and abandoning ship. This training is required to obtain a State of Maine lobster license and one person must be trained on each vessel fishing in federal waters.
Participants included local students seeking a lobster license, a lobster apprentice license applicant, and a future marine researcher attending college in Maine. The weather was warm and sunny and course instructor, John McMillan kept the day moving right along with valuable information delivered with a sense of humor and seriousness in equal, but appropriate measure.