Truman Conducts RHIB Drills

Story Number: NNS080226-01Release Date: 2/26/2008 7:47:00 AM
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By Mass Communication Specialist Seaman James Fallon, USS Harry S. Truman Public Affairs

USS HARRY S. TRUMAN, At Sea (NNS) -- USS Harry S. Truman (CVN 75) conducted rigid hull inflatable boat (RHIB) operations from Feb. 11 to 15 at the starboard and port RHIB decks.

Boatswain's Mate Seaman McAries Amistad, the davit operator, said the RHIB operation went well because safety precautions were set in place.

"Everything went well with the operations because everybody came back safe with all of their fingers and all of their body parts intact," said Amistad.

Boatswain's Mate 2nd Class Loren Page, the davit captain, said the primary purpose for RHIBs are for man overboards. He said it is their responsibility to man up and put the RHIBs in the water for an actual emergency.

"We usually man our stations in three to four minutes. Our goal is to have the boat in the water in 10 minutes," said Page. "We try to get the boat in the water as soon as possible. The best we've done is to have it in the water in six minutes."

Page said his role as the davit captain is to make sure all personnel are dressed out properly, the safety brief is conducted and to take charge to ensure the RHIBs get into the water safely, efficiently and as quickly as possible.

"It is a dangerous job anytime we do operations, but it's especially dangerous when the seas are rough and it's dark because you don't necessarily know what's out there," Page said.

Page said during an actual man overboard, the stress level is higher and there is always a chance that the machinery could fail, which could cause severe injury or death. He said if the wire parted when the RHIB was over the side of the ship, the personnel inside the RHIB could be injured and the line handlers could be pulled over the side of the ship or they could be pulled through the cleats, which would break their hands or even cut them off. He said that is why safety is paramount when conducting drills.

"We got the boat down safely all week and nobody got hurt," said Page. "I don't want to say it was routine because when you start talking about routine, people get hurt, so it was a good evolution overall. All the guys are well trained, they know what they are doing and they did a good job."

What makes this job dangerous is what makes it fun and exciting, said Boatswain's Mate Seaman Cordelra McCall, a line handler.

"To get physical with the line is fun," McCall said. "My job is important because there are lives on the line."

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