Cassie Kautzer: TEAMWORK! SAFETY FIRST! August 27, 2014

NOAA Teacher at Sea
Cassie Kautzer
Aboard NOAA Ship Rainier
August 16 – September 5, 2014

Mission: Hydrographic Survey
Geographical Area of Survey: Enroute to Japanese Bay
Date: August 27, 2014

Temperature & Weather:  10.5° C (51° F), Cloudy, Rainy

Science & Technology Log

The past week/ week and a half, docked alongside the US Coast Guard pier in Kodiak – it was easy to see people settle into a routine.  This morning, however, we are preparing to leave the Coast Guard base – there is something in the air. Without it being spoken, it is clear both the NOAA Corps officers and the wage mariners are excited to get underway.  THIS is what they signed up to do!

The Rainier is 231 feet in length, with a breadth (width) of 42 feet. She cannot be run by a single person – it takes a team, a large team, to operate her safely.  Aboard the Rainier there is a crew of NOAA Corps Officers, including Commanding Officer CDR Van Den Ameele (CO), Executive Officer LCDR Holly Jablonski (XO), Field Operations Officer LT Russ Quintero (FOO) and a number of Junior Officers. There is also a full staff of Surveyors, Stewards, Deck Hands, Engineers, a Chief Electronics Tech (ET) and an Electronics Eng. Tech (EET).  All of the people on the Rainier’s nearly 50 member crew take on more than one job and help with whatever is asked of them.  It takes a team of people to drive the ship, a team to deploy launch boats, a team to process survey data, a team level tide gauges, a team to keep the boat in good maintenance, etc…

This is the Crew Board for all team members currently aboard the Rainier.  ENS Micki Ream updates the crew board each leg.
This is the Crew Board for all team members currently aboard the Rainier. ENS Micki Ream updates the crew board each leg.

This morning, in preparation for getting underway, all NOAA Corps officers met for a Nav (navigation) Briefing, to go over the Sail Plan, to make sure all necessary parties were prepared and informed.  NOAA Corps is one of seven uniformed services in the United States.  Its commissioned officers provide NOAA with “an important blend of operational, management, and technical skills that support the agency’s science and surveying programs at sea, in the air, and ashore.” (  The Sail Plan, prepared today by Junior Officer, ENS Cali DeCastro, includes step-by-step guidelines for sailing to our next destination.  For each location or waypoint along the route, the sail plan gives a course heading (CSE), Latitude and Longitude, distance to the that point (in Nautical Miles), the speed (in knots) the ship will be cruising at to get to that point, and the time it will take to get there.   Today we are headed to Japanese Bay, and our cruise to get there is about 98 Nautical Miles and will take us almost 9 hours.

As seen from the fantail (back of the ship) - TEAMWORK!  SAFETY FIRST!
As seen from the fantail (back of the ship) – TEAMWORK! SAFETY FIRST!

It is important to note that nautical miles and knots at sea are different than linear miles and miles per hour on land.  Nautical miles are based on the circumference of the Earth, and are equal to one minute of latitude.  (  Think about the Earth and what it would look like if you sliced it in half right at the Equator.  Looking at one of the halves of the Earth, you could then see the equator as a full circle.  That circle can be divided into 360 degrees, and each degree into 60 minutes.  One minute of arc on the Earth is equivalent to one nautical mile.  Nautical miles are not only used at sea, but also in the air, as planes are following the arc of the Earth as they fly.  1 nautical mile = approximately 1.15 miles.  A knot is a measurement of speed, and one knot is equivalent to 1 nautical mile per hour.

It is also important to be aware of all the safety procedures on board.  There is a lot to keep track of – but the Rainier is well prepared for any kind of emergency situation.  Prior to departing the Coast Guard Base this morning, our emergency alarms and bells were tested.  Emergency bells and whistles are used during a Fire Emergency, an Abandon Ship situation, or a Man Overboard situation.

In any situation, every crew member has an emergency billet assignment.  This assignment tells you where to muster (meet), what to bring, and what to do – dependent on the situation.  For fire and emergency, abandon ship, and man overboard each person has a different assignment.  Within 24 hours of setting sail, the entire crew does safety drill practice (We did this in the early afternoon today!)  For fire and emergency both the general alarm bell and the ship’s whistle will continuously sound for ten seconds; for an abandon ship situation, seven short blasts on the ship’s whistle and general alarm bell will sound, followed by one prolonged blast; and for a man overboard there will be three prolonged blasts of the ship’s whistle and general alarm.

Safety is not only a concern in emergency situations – it is at the forefront of all operations aboard the ship.  Proper safety equipment is donned at necessary times, especially when working on deck or on the survey launches.  Personal Floatation Devices (PFD) are worn anytime equipment is being deployed or handled over the side along with safety belts and lines for those handling equipment over the side.   Every crew member is issued a hard hat and must be worn by everyone involved in recovery or deployment of boats and other equipment.   Closed toed shoes must be worn at all times by all crew and crew must be qualified to handle specific equipment. Everyone is also issued an Immersion Suit (survival suit), affectionately nicknamed a Gumby Suit!  The Immersion suit is a thermal dry suit that is meant to keep someone from getting hypothermia in an abandon ship situation in cold waters.

In my "Gumby" Immersion Suit during our Abandon Ship Drill.  This suit is a universal, meaning it can fit people of many sizes, including someone much much taller than me.  Do I look warm?  (Photo courtesy of Vessel Assistant Carl Stedman.)
In my “Gumby” Immersion Suit during our Abandon Ship Drill. This suit is a universal, meaning it can fit people of many sizes, including someone much much taller than me. Do I look warm? (Photo courtesy of Vessel Assistant Carl Stedman.)

Personal Log

Believe it or not – I have made a lot of connections from the Rainier to my school.  At the bottom of our daily POD’s (Plan Of the Day), the last reminder is, “Take care of yourself.  Take care of your shipmates.  Take care of the ship!”  The environment here has not only made me feel welcome, but safe as well.

I even felt safe when they let me man the helm (steer the ship).  Out of picture, Officer LTJG Adam Pfundt and Able Seaman Robert Steele guide me through my first adventure at the helm!
I even felt safe when they let me man the helm (steer the ship). Out of picture, Officer LTJG Adam Pfundt and Able Seaman Robert Steele guide me through my first adventure at the helm!


For my Students

Here is a wildlife update.  I saw Whales today!  I think there were Humpback Whale.  I saw quite a few blowing out near the ocean service.  I marked three in my graph because I only saw three jumping and playing in the water!

graph (2)

Some questions to reflect on…

  1. Why is teamwork important? What can you do to be a good team member?
  2. Can you make any connections between the mission and rules I am learning on the ship and the mission and rules you are learning at school?

50 Replies to “Cassie Kautzer: TEAMWORK! SAFETY FIRST! August 27, 2014”

  1. I really enjoy seeing the ship Rainier and it’s program. My Grand daughter, Annie Raymond has me hooked on the going’s on of all the NOAA ships. Happy sailing and have fun. Grandma Gladys

  2. Thanks Cassie! I’m enjoying your Alaska adventure! If you have a chance give Eli a poke in the arm from Auntie MJ.

    1. MJ, Thank you – I am glad you are enjoying the adventure with me. I said hello to Eli for you. He was a little taken aback when I asked if he had an Auntie MJ, until I explained how I knew your name! I think there is a picture of Eli completing a leveling run in my next blog entry. Stay tuned! 🙂

  3. teamwork is inportant because if we did not have teamwork we all could be at war all the time!

  4. Peter and Joshuah thinks that teamwork is important beacasue you get to know people better and teamwork means to help each other like on a test.

  5. TEAMWORK: teamwork is important because it helps to see what other people think by:Maria Pina and Janely Vazquez

  6. teamwork is important because you will never get anything done. to be a good team member you have to help and take care of each other. there are many other things about how to be a good team member but this is all we are going to say.

  7. teamwork is important because you can have better ideas whith a teamate and working togthere can get something done

  8. teamwork is imperit because you have to help ours if you are doing a peroget and teamwork is imperit because if your on a ship and sameone falls off the ship into the water you need to work in a team to get them on the ship.

    teamwork is important because if someone need help and you help them it makes them feel better [also treat others how you want to be teated]

  9. Mrs. Kautzer it is like are school because the rules are take care of your self
    take care of your shipmates
    take care of the ship

  10. Teamwork is important because you can’t do everything by yourself, so you need other people to help. That’s what teamwork is. To be a good team member you need to be willing to help other people when they need it and to always work together. – Myia Taylor

    I can make a connection with the rules you’re learning on your mission and the rules were learning at school because they are the same rules ‘Take care of yourself”, ‘Take care of others ‘, ‘Take care of this place’. – Roselyn Castrellon

  11. Teamwork gets you ready for life and college and middle and high school.To be a good teammate you have to be nice to your teammates and correct them in a nice way and if you belive their right you should agree with them.The mission for teacher and at school is to learn and that is the comparison of the missions.

  12. HI Im kearstin what i think is importatnt about being in a group is you have to quroperate or everything will go wrong.

  13. teamwork is important because when you make something that keeps falling down, someone can help you and that is call teamwork

  14. teamwork is important because without teamwork nobody would get along we won’t have buildings either.

  15. I think it is important to be an groups because then you can now other people , help each other and if you don”t work together everything will go wrong.

  16. Hi i’am Elias and Jerome. I think the important thing about being in a group is you have to quroperrate and work together.

  17. Teamwork is importan becuase you and your 5 friend were in P.E in 2 of your teammates fell you and the three of your friend go tell the teacher

  18. It is cali here, i think that teamwork is inportant because it is helping each other and if someone is stuck on a question help them.

  19. i think you need temework is about stinking toghther like glue and paper and you help each other ifyou have a problem if you need to know somthing!! by:princess.cabrales

  20. i think its good to be a member because i have always been able to find a group and ur on there team now so u have FUN!!!


  21. team work is if u help some one.I cant wait to see u on monday.What is your favorite animal u seen your trip.

  22. miss kautzer teamwork is important because if your working on a poster for a project and some one is not helping you then there going to get a bad grade and your doing all the work thats not teamwork.shaun says that he misses you a hole bunch.WE CAN’T WAIT TO SEE YOU MISS YOU.

  23. I think teamwork is important because , you get to now more about them.
    you can make more friends.

    mrs kautzer are you exited to come

  24. Hi miss Kautzer what is a magpie will you send a picture of a magpie Austin musser.

    hi miss Kautzer what do the alarm sound. can you send a photo of a whale.

  25. teamwork is when you help a freind or some one in your group.I’m happy your comming back on monday!!!!If u could pick 2 favorite animal’s what would they be??

  26. can you send a pitchure of a whaile.and have you seen the titanick.the baot rols the are as school.fomr elgin

  27. What is your favrorite thing about the ship. If i was the captin i would let you be the captin. can you send a picute of magpoie. We want to see you so bad

  28. what type of fish live in the water you are in. on woodie island what type of resorses plants and food was there beacuse i would like to know how plants and ainmals survive on a island surounded by water. anyway matthew and austin cant wate to see you at school.
    sincerly; austin and matthew.

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