As a Sea Tow captain, one of the most important traits to have is the ability to think on your feet and make quick decisions, as conditions may change without warning. Things can happen fast, so it’s important to be informed, prepared, and decisive in every situation. Training is key.
At Massachusetts’ Sea Tow South Shore, owner and head captain Ethan Maass knows the value of training. That’s why, each year he holds what he calls his “All Hands” training day.
“Due to the nature of our business, not every captain gets to experience every scenario, so the real value comes from being able to share individual experiences, lessons learned, practice techniques and for the junior guys to gain insights from the senior captains.”
Throughout the day, Capt. Ethan and his captains cover many topics, such as towing drills, salvage and recovery techniques and risk assessment. He demonstrates using wooden models to illustrate how a procedure might look from a bird’s eye view. He’s even made a training boat from an old 16-foot vessel that he and the captains intentionally capsize so that they can practice recovery techniques.
“As jobs progress and evolve, conditions can change quickly,” he said, “it’s incredibly important to understand how to assess risk. I constantly remind my team to continuously analyze the situation throughout the job. This ensures they will notice and identify a new or increasing risk and allow them to react accordingly.”
At the end of the boating season, Capt. Ethan likes to revisit the year with his captains.
“I like to take everyone out for a group lunch to recap how the year went,” he added. “We review our statistics and I’ll share trends, national statistics and any regulatory changes that have recently occurred. It’s great to revisit and debrief as a group and prepare for the next season.”
In addition to their training efforts, Capt. Ethan and his team strive to educate and inform both members and local boaters about the importance of safe boating practices.
Capt. Ethan concluded, “we take great pride in being safe and effective captains. We want to be positive examples in our community and act as good stewards on the water by practicing what we preach.”