Reserve Boatcrew College Course
Posted by PA3 Richard Brahm, Friday, April 6, 2012
Getting qualified is an essential part of any Coast Guard unit, be it an air or boat station. Earning a qualification takes time and hard work.
For an active duty member of a Coast Guard boat station becoming boatcrew qualified can take anywhere from three to four months. But for a reservist only drilling approximately 40 days a year, this can take much longer.
That’s where the Reserve Boatcrew College Course comes in. The qualifications still require hard work and proficiency but won’t require nearly the same amount of time for the reserves.
“At a small boat station, normally, it can take about three to four months to get boatcrew qualified depending upon your rotations, the op tempo, underway opportunities, different operations and the time that you have to dedicate to training,” stated Lt. Tabatha Watts, assistant school chief for the RBCC. “This course gives us two solid weeks where we can just focus on the PQS, what’s required and what they need to know. We teach it and allow them to demonstrate their knowledge.”
“Prior to last year, the boatcrew courses were held at Yorktown and typically there would be one or two seats set aside in each class for reservists,” said Watts. “That made it quite difficult for them to get qualified.”
“The Coast Guard ran a RBCC pilot program last year, and it went better than expected,” Watts stated. “We have already scheduled three courses here in District 8; two in Port Arthur and one in Destin, with between 15 and 20 students coming from units all over the district.”
“We conducted our first boatcrew college course of the season in Port Arthur, and we have four instructors here from all over the Coast Guard,” Watts said. “They are doing some classroom boat crew training that’s inline with the boatcrew PQS sign offs and then the instructors will get underway with the members to demonstrate what they have learned.”
One of those instructors is Petty Officer 1st Class Matthew Reisinger, the lead instructor for the RBCC. Reisinger is the operations petty officer at Station St Ignace in Michigan.
“I am the lead instructor for the boatcrew college course which means I do all of the planning, put all the curriculum together and keep all of the other instructors on the same page to ensure we are doing the most that we can for the students,” said Reisinger.
The RBCC covers everything a boatcrew member would need to know to become qualified at a boat station.
“We cover everything at the boatcrew college course, and we start with the basic things ranging from making sure that all of the students know what needs to be worn while they are underway, to knowing the different weather conditions that they could encounter,” stated Reisinger.
The course also went into classroom instruction that covered different drills, to include:
- Man over boards
- Basic engineering casualty control exercises
- Flooding control
- Proper use of the P6 de-watering pump
- Navigation exercises
- Survival swim
- Pyrotechnics use
- Night operations
“A lot of the students have already commented that what they have learned has been tremendous compared to a lot of the training they have received, some of them over many years, “ said Reisinger.
Another aspect of this RBCC is an attempt to standardize the course so any unit could pick up the package and properly train their reservists.
“One of our main goals down here was to help standardize the reserve boatcrew colleges,” stated Reisinger. “There have been many boatcrew college courses over the last few years and all of them have been done independently and not completely standardized. We are trying to put a standardized program together.
This is no simple task. It entails going through all the curricula and determining what can be done to get the maximum amount of tasks driven through the course.
The instructors also ensure the students have a full comprehension of the tasks and are able to accomplish all of those while they are at the RBCC.
“One of the big things that we want is for our reservists to be able to augment the stations throughout the Coast Guard and to fulfill the duties for which they were hired on to do,” Reisinger said.
“I think when they go back to their units, the units are going to be surprised at some of the knowledge they were able to retain from the boatcrew course and be able to spread the word of the great things the reserve boat crew course was able to accomplish,” he said.