Friday, February 27, 2009

The Dead Zone

No it isn't that I have grown tired of writing about the goings on in my life,it's just a dead zone.This time of year has become a time of cleaning up so to speak.Everything from reorganizing the hunting gear,getting the boat ready for spring bass fishing,taxes and general tidying up around the house.So that's what I have been up to the last week,well that and getting food poisoning.Yeah that was,and still is,so much fun.I recommend you all try it as it will make you think twice before putting anything you didn't personally prepare in your mouth.Well I'm almost over it and hopefully my insurance will come through on the hospital visit.I have a short trip planned to Baltimore for a visit to the Coast Guard Regional center.I complain about having to go there to get re finger printed,but most people have to go there for much worse reasons.My reason is only to upgrade my current Merchant Mariner's Document.The early next week I may try something I have never done this time of year,trout fishing the mountains of Virginia.So just stay tuned and hopefully next week I will have some decent outdoor pictures and stories.Oh and stay away from sketchy chicken!

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Come on Saturday

Penn Maritime tug Dolphin

Oh my it has been a long thirty days on the tug.This time of year,as you can imagine,is the worst time of the year to have any sort of an outside job.Everything from the weather,wind and water is dangerously cold.Now after a few weeks spent in Rhode Island you would think that the temperatures in Philadelphia would be a relief,you would be wrong.It's not so much the temperature,it's the wind coming off the water.I don't care how many layers of clothes you put on,the wind will cut through them like butter on a biscuit.We are all as prepared as ever and on our toes this time of year.Safety concerns most important as things can go from bad to worse in a heartbeat.Everyone has to remember,tugboats don't have brakes.If you fall off the side it will be at the least twenty minutes before the tug can circle around to get you.Put two and two together and figure out how you could possibly stay alive for more than 5 minutes in cold water.That's if your lucky and didn't knock your head on the way down and render yourself unconscious face down in the river.Whoa,I better stop,knock on wood,take a deep breath.That means you to mom.

OSG tug Constitution
It's an obvious problem of the job,it's also why we make decent money doing what we do,it's dangerous.I have taken on the nickname of safety nazi by a few of my crew as I tend to go a little overboard with my safety precautions.Really,is there such a thing as overboard with safety when the nearest help could be days away,literally days away.The new deckhands that seem to be filtered through this boat seem to especially hate me after the first 24 hours.It comes with my job to make sure these greenies don't end up swimming with the fishes.I take that personally,which says something because I let most things go like water off a ducks back.The greenies are a huge safety problem not just to themselves but to me as well.I'm right next to them every step of the way,if they get in a problem it's on me to get them out of it.Thankfully I haven't had to many major problems with any of them.I also haven't ended up with any new friends lately,coincidence I guess.The way I see it is,eventually it will click in there skulls that I was merely trying to help.Somewhere down the line they will get in a situation and think what would the dude do?Then it makes it all worth it.

Friday, February 13, 2009

It's Been a Few Cold Weeks

Ice continues to melt along the Providence River

As the title to this entry indicates,it indeed has been a few cold weeks.It could have been much worse given the time of year and my location,Southern New England.Now it's time to move on.We have fulfilled our contract with this barge and must now return it to Norfolk,Virginia.I'm really excited to be going back to Norfolk,as this is where Tugbaotdude got his start a little over five years ago.Unfortunately,I won't be going home to shore for another week or so.Leaving the Rhode Island area won't be to difficult but it marked another point in my tugboat career that I had not reached until now.This is my first trip north of New York and as always the different scenery was greatly appreciated.The attitudes of the people could have been a bit better,but apparently they don't understand what take it easy means.I have met a few great people here.Some work in the industry I'm in and some work in an industry closely related to what I do,power plants.

The Somerset Power Plant

The above power plant is located in Somerset,Massachusetts.Over the last few weeks we have brought this plant hundreds of tons of coal,literall,I'm not even exagerating.This plant is scheduled to close in the next few months.The reason isn't because of the economy or the plant is dangerous,even though it was built right after the great depression.It's closing and permanently shutting down because it can't reach EPA standards for 2010.I'm not at all disheartned by this because I to enjoy breathing like many of you.The part that's sad to me is all the workers being laid off that have kept this lacluster plant going for over 65 years.The Somerset plant has been keeping communities warm through many difficult times without missing a beat.The workers here are all zombie like.Most of them don't know how to do anything else.There is nothing else here for them to do.The severance pay will take them through the spring of next year and then tey will join the unemployment lines with everyone else in America looking for a way to make a legal buck.There isn't anything anyone can do,or is there

Outdated and overused equipment
Now I'm sure someone in this community has come with this idea,but here goes.There is a new power plant located about 3 miles down river.Why were the employees of the Somerset plant not offered jobs?If not a job then why not have some sort of a plan for when the plant closes and over a hundred people are thrown into the street jobless.I guess I won't ever understand how someone with two fists full of money still has to stop and pick up the pennies they drop.Snarf

Saturday, February 7, 2009

It Has to Get Better

Sunrise on the Providence River,Rhode Island

It has been a few stressful days to say the least.I should have known when I was told it was an easy run,a cakewalk as it was put to me.I never learn that when I'm told it's an easy run it turns into complete mayhem.It all started with the assist tug from hell the first time we tried putting this barge to the dock.Then it was the bargeman from hell,followed by the dock workers from hell and just behind them the line handlers from hell.A few days ago I wanted to rant about how pathetic the marine industry dockside has become and how these people should be grateful they even have a job given the economy.Then if I did that,I would be just like them wouldn't I.So simply put,I won't.Fact of the matter is I'm nowhere near as hardcore a mariner than 30-200 years ago so I suppose I have no room to complain.

Assist tug Maurania III,note the Boston Red Sox emblem on the smoke stack

Things have gotten better,as they couldn't have possibly gotten much worse.Back at the "hell" dock again and everything seems to be going as planned.We had a capable assist tug,the bargeman was given an ass chewing by several people and he in turn chewed out the line handlers.It's great how it all runs down hill and whoever is at the bottom gets the brunt of it.Luckily I wasn't involved in this avalanche.A few weeks left in the Northeast and them I may work over on another boat or I may go home.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Snow in Rhode Island

Brake on the tow drum covered Just a few pictures I took of the snow storm we had in the Northeast on Tuesday.Had a terrible day dealing with damn Yankees on Wednesday.Story to come,or should I say rant.
Snow covered tires