Today, I got my first taste of real Marine Engineering. I was tasked to make 3 hangers from scratch with 2/C Joseph Naron and 1/C Greg Hollstein. The first step was to measure the existing hanger to get the right dimensions for the new ones. Our dimensions were 10 inches long with a bend at 3.5 inches and a curved bottom. Once we had the measurements, we moved onto cutting the metal we would use. We cut ¼ inch steel into 10 inch sections. Using a grinding wheel, we were able to get rid of the rough edges and make the rounded bottom. A grinding wheel spins at roughly 5,000 revolutions per minute (RPM), so it is important that you learn to use it correctly and safely. 1/C Hollstein showed me the correct placement of where I should put my hands in order to keep all ten fingers. Next, we used an oxy-acetylene torch. This torch can reach temperatures up to 5400° Fahrenheit so it is mainly used to cut through steel. It combines highly flammable acetylene with a constant flow of oxygen to increase the heat of the flame. We wanted to bend the steel not cut it, so we lowered the amount of oxygen fed to the cutting torch. Using a section of pipe, we bent the steel around it to get the proper curve. We used channel locks which are more or less adjustable pliers to do this. These were to bend the steel backwards to make the hanging portion. After repeating this process three times, we had 3 hooks. It was amazing to me that we started off with a rough sheet of metal and with simple tools and hard work, we had created useful items for the ship. This is what Marine Engineers do on a daily basis.
Expand Your Learning:
This video will explain how to cut with an oxygen acetylene torch just like Sara did.
Even though we are at sea and living on a ship, the regiment still applies. This means that there are still regulations that need to be followed by each and every cadet. One of the requirements is in regards to hair standards. Females are required to have their hair in a military bun that looks neat and professional. Male cadets have different regulations based on what class they are. Usually during the school semesters 4/C (freshmen) are required to have their hair shaved completely to a 0 but as they go on in their careers at MMA, they are given different hair standards. That being said, on the Kennedy it is a little different. 4/C are not supposed to have a 0 hair cut because they are more likely to get a sunburn on their head. Here aboard the Kennedy we have our very own barber shop run by Lisa. The barber is open from 1100 to 1300 and 1900 to 2200. Lisa usually does around thirty haircuts a day. With 600 cadets and thirty haircuts per day, it will take 20 days to get every cadet a haircut. Officers and crew, including Captain Campbell, also get their haircuts here. This is a free amenity aboard the ship that is surely taken advantage of.
Rough Seas Ahead
As we venture further away from Taylor’s Point into open ocean, we have noticed the steady increase in the rocking of the ship. We should be approaching Cape Hatteras off of North Carolina at some point tonight. These are some of the worst seas that we will experience but Captain Campbell plans to stay at least 100 miles off of the coast to reduce the rolling of the ship. Stories from past sea terms have told me to expect trays to slide everywhere during dinner, chairs moving back and forth, and one or two cadets may fall out of their racks. We do have safety straps to prevent us from falling out of the racks but some cadets manage to fall out anyway. These rough seas will last a few days while we sail through that area and then progressively calm down.
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The video below will answer any questions that you may have about the Gulf Stream.
1/C Thays De Gracia From Panama City, Panama
I was in the library today when I was approached by 1/C Thays De Garcia from Panama City, Panama. She is studying Marine Transportation and one day hopes to be a pilot for the Panama Canal. A pilot is a specialist that helps ships navigate in and out of a given area. The most attractive aspect of this job, is the salary. Pilots make in excess of $500,000 so the competition is extremely tough. In order for this dream to become a reality, Thays would have to ship out to upgrade her Coast Guard License to become a Master which takes roughly 10 years. Then she would have to take a Pilot’s Exam which includes free-handing a chart that includes water depth, reef and rock locations, and any other obstructions in the area she wants to work in. For Thays, this would be the Panama Canal. Thays is the first person in her family to go into the shipping industry so this is a big accomplishment for not only her, but her family as well.
Expand Your Learning:
The video below will answer any questions that you may have about the Panama Canal.