There will be bad days at sea,” informs Rick Petersen, training coordinator for the Alaska Marine Safety Education Association. “But the difference between those that survive and those that will die comes down to being prepared and having a muscle memory of what to do in an emergency.”

On Wednesday at Pacific Marine Expo, Petersen will guide a seminar audience to strengthen survival skills using case studies in the session, “Crew Duties for At-Sea Emergencies,” taking place at 3 p.m. at the Concourse Stage. The focus on crew responsibilities will help participants build that critical muscle memory.

After an overview of the most common emergencies at sea (and some uncommon ones, like what to do when finding Arctic researchers in Zodiacs with stalled outboards or sailboats with snapped masts), the course attention will turn completely toward commercial fishing vessel safety. Seminar participants will draft a “station bill” and be assigned station duties. Drills will include fire, man-overboard, and abandon ship, to be practiced and reviewed.

Although the information is geared for fishermen with some hours at sea, Petersen says those with zero experience are welcome to attend. “Someday they may have an emergency, but it can be survivable if they have the tools needed to know what to do in that situation.”

AMSEA is a nonprofit organization with a nationwide network of safety instructors, including Petersen, whose background in commercial fishing includes deck work on a purse seiner and salmon troller.

Have you listened to this article via the audio player?

If so, send us your feedback around what we can do to improve this feature or further develop it. If not, check it out and let us know what you think via email or on social media.

A collection of stories from guest authors.

Join the Conversation