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Life on a Tugboat

Workboat Academy student documents path to becoming a deck officer, and provides perspective into life on a tug.

By MarEx 2013-05-20 12:01:00

Mr. Mike Upchurch, a Workboat Academy student, is documenting his 2-year path of becoming a deck officer onboard an ocean-going tugboat and getting back to his roots on the water.

His detailed blog, Back to Sea with Me…, provides an in-depth view of what life on a tug is all about.  MITAGS-PMI is very proud of the Workboat Academy and the efforts from everyone that has continued to make this program relevant.

Here is a short excerpt from his latest post on May 16th:

“As far as readiness goes, I felt that my 4 weeks of classes that I had prior to my sea phase, prepared me more than sufficiently for working on a tugboat for the first time. I knew the terminology, understood the processes fairly well, had good expectations and came aboard with a fair amount of confidence and respect for what I was about to undertake. PMI goes a little farther with their classes than most schools so that you are not just getting trained, but that you are comfortable with the subject knowledge and "ready" to implement it. Being fresh out of class, it was nice being able to recite rules of the road, navigation lights, marlinspike seamanship and safety training topics verbatim. I'm sure the freshness will wear off and I too will fall prey to some lost knowledge over time, but for now, it feels good to have at the ready.

I term that I use to use quite a bit when I managed an outdoor adventure company, was "withitness". It was coined by one of our rock climbing instructors and I've held onto it ever since. We use it to explain a leader’s demeanor with regards to guiding, leading, working in technically challenging jobs that can and will contain elements of risk and or safety. I try to always strive for a certain level of "withitness" and try to have my sh#% together so-to-speak when on the job. Tug boating is no exception, especially when trying to move up the ladder into the pilothouse. My goal in life is to build that "withitness" through training, practice and assessment. PMI did a great job in that regards and I look forward to the remainder of my classroom sessions in June and October this year.”

To keep up with Mr. Upchurch and his tugboat adventures, be sure to follow his blog!

MITAGS-PMI has expressed immense pride in the Workboat Academy and the efforts from everyone that continue to make this program relevant.

Photos courtesy of http://backtoseawithme.blogspot.com/.