Coast Guard workshop focuses on training, preparing small passenger vessels

PORTLAND, Maine – The Coast Guard, in conjunction with the Portland Fire Department, is hosting a one-day emergency preparedness training workshop in Portland today for small passenger vessel operators in Maine.

Small passenger vessels are classified as commercial vessels that carry six or more paying passengers.

The event is an opportunity for owners, operators and crewmembers to receive both classroom and practical training on vessel firefighting, man overboard drills, and lifesaving equipment and stowage, and is designed to reinforce the importance of operating safely on the water and provide practical, hands-on experience.

The inaugural workshop in 2008 was so popular that the Coast Guard expanded the event to two workshops in 2009. Seventy-one people attended the first session May 13 in Rockland, Maine.

“The small passenger vessel community has an important place in the Maine maritime environment,” said Cmdr. Mike Sams, head of the prevention department at Coast Guard Sector Northern New England. “Our goal is to work together and encourage safe practices on the water, not only for the customers but for the operators and crewmembers as well.”

More than 250 small passenger vessels operate out of Maine, all of which are required to undergo regularly scheduled inspections by the Coast Guard. The inspections primarily focus on safety, including vessel stability, emergency drills, and proper lifesaving equipment. The vessels’ security measures can also be tested, depending on a vessel’s size.

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