Laura Grimm: What Floats Your Boat? July 17,  2022

NOAA Teacher at Sea

Laura Grimm

Aboard NOAA Ship Thomas Jefferson

July 4 – July 22, 2022

Mission: Hydrographic Survey of Lake Erie

Geographic Area of Cruise: Lake Erie

Date: July 17,  2022

Weather Data from the Bridge

Latitude: 42ᵒ 13.30 N

Longitude: 080ᵒ 13.60 W

Sky Conditions: Broken

Visibility: 10+ miles

Wind Speed: 9.4 knots

Wind Direction: 089ᵒ E

Lake Temperature: 23.2 ᵒC

Wave Height: 1 ft.

Dry Bulb: 23.6 ᵒC

Wet Bulb: 20.9 ᵒC

Calculated Relative Humidity:76 %

Sunrise over Lake Erie; wake of ship visible extending toward horizon
Good morning from NOAA Ship Thomas Jefferson!

Science and Technology Log

NOAA Ship Thomas Jefferson at sea
NOAA Ship Thomas Jefferson

NOAA Ship Thomas Jefferson is one BIG ship.  Here is a list of some of its characteristics:

  • Length overall: 208 ft
  • Beam: 45 ft
  • Draft: 14 ft below the keel (15.6 ft below the transducer pod)
  • Registered gross tonnage/Displacement: 1767 tons
  • Cruising speed: 11 kts
  • Survey Speed: 10 kts
  • Cruising range: 19,200 NM, 45 days
  • Authorized Officers and Crew: 34
  • Scientific Berths: 4 (They can take up to 4 visiting scientists.)

Follow this link for more information about NOAA Ship Thomas Jefferson.

One thing not on this list is that currently, TJ is carrying four other boats + 6 life rafts aboard.  Of the boats aboard, two are the survey launches (mentioned in a previous blog), one is a Fast Rescue Boat (FRB) that is very fast and maneuverable (more about the FRBs in a future post), and the last is a work boat affectionately called 1717.  It is an inflatable boat with a ridged hull.  It is frequently used to do preservation work on the hull and inspect areas for future work.

Today, the crew used the 1717 to do a crew transfer to Erie, PA.  A crane (not a davit) is used to move this boat on and off the ship.

  • Crewmembers wearing hard hats stand in position around the boat. a crane hook lowers into view.
  • crewmembers secure hook to boat with harness attaching at four points
  • crewmembers steady boat as crane lifts it off the deck
  • crewmembers stand back as crane lifts boat above everyone's heads
  • crane swinging boat over the fantail
  • view of the boat suspended over the water
  • view of the boat suspended over the water, lowering
  • boat suspended over the water by the crane
  • boat being lowered to the water's surface
  • view of boat on water's surface, still attached to crane hook
  • overhead view of the boat, now with three crewmwmbers aboard

Able Bodied Seaman (AB) Thompson runs the crane and Chief Boatswain (CB) Pooser supervises getting the 1717 work boat in and out of the water.

Able Bodied Seaman Thompson and Chief Boatswain Pooser pose for a photo on deck. They are wearing blue hardhats.
AB Thompson & CB Pooser get it done!
AB Thompson operating the crane with various levers
The crane can lift 3800 lbs when it is extended 50 feet.  Running this powerful piece of machinery is second nature for Able Bodied Seaman (AB) Thompson.

There are many different types of ships.  People have been using ships for a long time! 

According to Britannica Kids,

“People use different types of ships for many different purposes. Some of the main types are trade ships, warships, industrial ships, and pleasure vessels, or cruise ships.

“Trade ships carry different types of cargo. Container ships carry cargo packaged in large containers. General cargo ships carry lumber, farm products, and other goods that are hard to ship in containers. Bulk ships carry coal, grains, and other loose cargo. Tankers carry oil and other liquid cargo. Refrigerated ships, or reefers, carry meat, fish, and other products that need to stay cold.

“Navies use several different kinds of warships. The largest are aircraft carriers. A carrier has a large flat surface called a flight deck that airplanes can use for takeoffs and landings. Other types of military ships include cruisers, destroyers, and submarines.

“Industrial ships are sometimes called factory ships. Some industrial ships are oil rigs. They have big machinery that pumps oil from the ocean floor. Another type of factory ship processes fish that the crew catches at sea.

“Before airplanes made long-distance travel quick and easy, people traveled in ships called ocean liners. Ocean liners had dining rooms and cabins where guests could sleep. Today this type of passenger ship is called a cruise ship. Cruise ships carry tourists and vacationers to seaside locations around the world. Cruise ships often have swimming pools, shopping malls, and live entertainment.”

A cargo ship loaded with freight containers sails toward its destination.
A cargo ship loaded with freight containers sails toward its destination.

History of Ships

From Britannica Kids:

“In early times people moved ships with oars. Many early ships also used the wind to move across the seas. These ships had sails—large, raised pieces of cloth that caught the wind. Ancient Egyptian warships had at least 40 oars and a single sail. The powerful longships of the Vikings also had oars and one sail.

“By the 1400s European ships had several sails. Sailing ships known as galleons carried large guns along their sides for making war. In the 1800s long, slim ships called clippers also had several sails. Clippers traveled faster than any ship before.

“Ships were made mainly of wood until the middle of the 1800s. At that time iron ships began to replace wooden ones. Steam-powered engines also began to replace sails.

Today most ships are made of steel or other modern materials. They have internal-combustion engines that run on diesel fuel or gas. Some modern ships run on nuclear power.”

Human-Interest Poll of the Crew

"What were the highest seas you have ever experienced? (Note to self: stay out of the Bering Sea!) 65ft in the Bering Sea, AK; 40+ ft in the Bering Sea, AK; 25 to 30 ft in the South China Sea; 20 to 30 ft approximately 2100 nm SE of Virginia; 20-25 ft in the Gulf of Alaska in January; 19 ft somewhere off the East Coast around North Carolina; 1+ ft off the coast of Presque Isle"
Crew’s responses to “What were the highest seas you have ever experienced?”

Personal Log – Christmas in July!

The U.S. Postal Service does not have an official moto.  If it did, it could be, “Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night stays these couriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds.”  What about Santa Claus?  He seems to deliver packages all over the world no matter the distance or weather!

Today, we had a delivery from a type of “Santa”.  At least that is what it felt like!  The U.S. Coast Guard delivered a package directly to our ship this afternoon. 

illustration of Santa on a stand up paddleboard, with gifts
Here comes Santa! He is bringing a very important package for our engineering department!

Our engineering department is very happy.  Maybe now they have what they need to fix one of our davits.  If the davits can be fixed, we will be able to deploy a launch (small survey boat) to assist with the survey mission.

U.S. coast guard boat approaches
Here comes the U.S. Coast Guard!
view Coast Guard members aboard the Coast Guard boat; one holds a box under his left arm
Package delivery!
Coast Guard vessel departing
Thank you very much!  See you later!

It was fun to have some visitors, even if they just stayed for a few minutes.

For the Little Dawgs . . .

Q: Where is Dewey?  Hint: He is sitting is a very important chair.  But which chair?

Dewey the beanie monkey looking over the back of a swivel chair
Peak ‘a Boo, Dewey!
Dewey the beanie monkey sitting in a swivel chair, behind four tall levers, on deck
There are some clues in this picture!
a crewmember in a blue hard hat stands in front of the swivel chair, operating the crane as it carries a boat back on board NOAA Ship Thomas Jefferson
Can you find the chair in this picture?

Dewey is sitting in the chair that AB Thompson sits in to control the crane that lifts the boat in and out of the water.

Did you know . . .

Lake Erie is the fourth largest lake (by surface area) of the five Great Lakes?  It is the eleventh-largest lake in the whole world!

As I sign off, I will leave you with this thought: There are so many examples of career opportunities on Thomas Jefferson.  Do you like water?  Ships?  Machines?  Technology?  Cooking?  If you answered, “Yes” to any of these questions, a career with NOAA may be for you!  Think about it!

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