Wednesday, November 19, 2008

STCW '95 Training: The Gumby Suit

Yesterday was day two at the Maritime Professional Training's STCW 95 class, the certification mandated by the Coast Guard to work on a large-ish vessel.

Training in the Gumby suits was a blast. Thankfully, the instructor made us jump from only the 4-meter board, not the super high one. Unlike a SCUBA entry where you scissor your legs, in an entry wearing a survival suit you cross your ankles. Why? Because in a real emergency while abandoning ship, "you may hit debris or bodies upon hitting the water," the instructor informed us, so you want to protect your girlie/boy parts. Yeesh.

What surprised me the most was how warm you stay in your survival suit, even though it's big and baggy unlike a wetsuit. When I finally was able to take it off, about a gallon of water poured from EACH of the leg and arm compartments. For some reason, mine seemed to fill up more than average. Nothing like climbing up the pool ladder wearing an extra fifty pounds! We got a good laugh when I kept emptying and emptying and emptying it out for the next student to wear.

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