Posts Tagged ‘visitation’

The 2012 hurricane season is of to a busy start, but so far, poses no threat to the Florida Sea Base.  Invest 92L continues to meander toward Europe while Tropical Storm Aletta has formed in the eastern Pacific but is moving westward.

Click to enlarge.

Click to enlarge.

Here’s an interesting article on improved hurricane forecasting by the National Hurricane Center.

There is chatter on The Weather Channel and other weather sources about the beginning of the “official” rainy season in South Florida.  I looked at several resources and the “official” season dates are — unofficial.  The best compromise seems to be “the third week of May until mid October”.  Regardless of the official date, our rainy season has definitely begun.

Robert Kolb, Tim Stanfill, Captain Keith Douglass, Captain Rich Beliveau and I met Tuesday morning to discuss our upcoming “visitation”.   This process used to be called an inspection.   A team will “visit” the Florida Sea Base in June to  confirm that we are in compliance with our BSA camp standards and can operate for the remainder of 2012.  Visitation is a 3 day event.

Captain Dennis and Dr. Ellen Wyatt have returned home to Lady Lake, Florida.  It is always a joy to have them here.   They will have a fun filled summer, relieved of the stresses of the Florida Sea Base.

Capt. Steve Willis
Professional Scuba Bum™
Aboard S/V Escape

We are in the home stretch for the 2011 summer staff training at the Florida Sea Base.  On Friday the scuba staff focused on the care and maintenance of scuba equipment in the morning and went diving (and mostly practiced more rescue scenarios) in the afternoon.

While all of this great training is going on, we are also having to prepare for our annual camp “visitation” that will take place in about two weeks.  It used to be called what it really is, an inspection, but the kinder, gentler BSA decided visitation sounded nicer.  We welcome the dedicated volunteers and professional Scouters who make the visitation happen.  And we sincerely appreciate having fresh eyes review our programs and policies.  These annual inspections (I mean visitations) have lead to many improvements in the quality of our programs.  And we have had, and will continue to draw, some people with serious inspection skills, such as two Admirals, the CEO of AT&T, MDs, PhDs, attorneys, BSA professionals, subject matter experts from all walks of life, members of the BSA Health and Safety Committee, etc.

One Scuba Liveaboard crew returned to base yesterday for their luau.  One Scuba Liveaboard crew and four Coral Reef Sailing crews arrived to begin their adventures.  Dr. Ellen was swamped but handled it (as always) with a pleasantness and professionalism beyond my level of comprehension.  Theresa Wells received the Scuba Liveaboard crew.  They will be aboard S/V Endeavour with Capt. Kelly and S/V Silent Harmony with Capt. Mike.  The Coral Reef Sailing crews are aboard S/Vs Midnight Dragon, Silver Crow, Siesta and Chanticleer with Captains Jim, George, Ed and Scott, respectively.

Here’s our forecast from the National Weather Service:

Saturday: A chance of showers and thunderstorms. Mostly sunny, with a high near 89. East wind around 5 mph. Chance of precipitation is 30%.
Saturday Night: A chance of showers and thunderstorms. Mostly cloudy, with a low around 78. East wind around 10 mph. Chance of precipitation is 30%.
Sunday: A chance of showers and thunderstorms. Mostly sunny, with a high near 89. East wind around 15 mph. Chance of precipitation is 30%.
Sunday Night: A chance of showers and thunderstorms. Partly cloudy, with a low around 78. East wind around 15 mph. Chance of precipitation is 30%.
Memorial Day: A slight chance of showers and thunderstorms. Mostly sunny, with a high near 89. Chance of precipitation is 20%.
Monday Night: A slight chance of showers and thunderstorms. Partly cloudy, with a low around 78. Chance of precipitation is 20%.
Tuesday: A slight chance of showers and thunderstorms. Mostly sunny and breezy, with a high near 89. Chance of precipitation is 20%.
Tuesday Night: A slight chance of showers and thunderstorms. Mostly cloudy, with a low around 78. Chance of precipitation is 20%.
Wednesday: A slight chance of showers and thunderstorms. Mostly cloudy, with a high near 89. Chance of precipitation is 20%.
Wednesday Night: A slight chance of showers and thunderstorms. Mostly cloudy, with a low around 78. Chance of precipitation is 20%.
Thursday: A slight chance of showers and thunderstorms. Partly sunny, with a high near 89. Chance of precipitation is 20%.
Thursday Night: A slight chance of showers and thunderstorms. Partly cloudy, with a low around 78. Chance of precipitation is 20%.
Friday: A slight chance of showers and thunderstorms. Mostly sunny, with a high near 89. Chance of precipitation is 20%.
Point Forecast: Marathon FL [Similar City Names]
24.72°N 81.07°W (Elev. 7 ft)
Visit your local NWS office at: http://www.weather.gov/keywest

I hope you have a safe and enjoyable weekend.

Capt. Steve
Aboard S/V Escape

Yesterday started with our usual 07:30 staff meeting.  The sailing staff was divided up and assigned to the Galley and Facilities departments.  The scuba staff took the divers to a patch reef called Pillars of Atlantis and then to Long Key Ledge.  First Mate Kyle Beighle (also a Scuba Instructor) reported that the wind and seas laid down significantly and it was an enjoyable day.  Last night the Scuba Adventure crews went to Alligator Reef for a night dive.

The crew from the Calypso Gypsy returned to Sea Base yesterday.  Last night was the final luau of the spring sailing season.

At 09:30 Capt. Rich and I joined Capt. Paul Beal, Capt. Keith Douglass, Rob Kolb, Tim Stanfill and Cheryl Ferreri to discuss our upcoming National Visitation (camp inspection).  That meeting concluded at 10:30 at which time Capt. Rich and I drove to Key West for a meeting with Lt. Pierce, US Coast Guard Sector Key West.  We had a very positive meeting and opened a dialog regarding some changes in enforcement policies by the Coast Guard that will impact the Florida Sea Base.  Lt. Pierce was very helpful and gave us some great input on how we might be able to reduce the negative impact of these changes on our programs.  This will be a new action item for Capt. Rich and I to work upstream within the BSA possibly to lobbyists and law makers or possibly the office of the Commandant of the US Coast Guard.  If you are the owner of an inspected Sea Exploring or Scuba Liveaboard vessel please give Capt. Rich and I a few days to prepare an official response to the questions we know you have.  All I can say right now is there is some good news and some bad news.  It will take a few days for us to meet with FSB senior management to come to conclusions on how we will address the issues.

While I’m thinking about it, I may not be able to make a post tomorrow or Sunday mornings.  I will try, but no promises at this this point.

Capt. Steve
Aboard S/V Escape

As I am writing this, Paul Beal, General Manager of the Florida Sea Base, and Rob Kolb, Director of Program, are having a working dinner with the visitation team.  Paul and Rob will review several of the inspection standards with the group tonight since we have a very limited time (9 hours including lunch) tomorrow to demonstrate compliance with almost 90 operational and procedural standards.  As I mentioned a day or two ago, the inspectors will be divided into three teams.  Capt. Keith Douglass, Facilities Director, and I are guides for Team 3.  Our team has responsibility for 37 of the inspection standards.

Today was busied with our normal program responsibilities plus last minute preparations for the visitation.  Overall it was a good day.  One sad note was that Laura Kuras had to return home to start summer school.  She is a very dynamic staff member and we will miss her.  Otherwise, it was just another “first day” at the Florida Sea Base.  We constantly remind ourselves and the staff that every day at the Florida Sea Base is some participants’ first day.  One of the differences we have with local camps is that participants are arriving and departing seven days a week.  So every day is opening day for 50 to 106 newly arriving participants.

My Office Manager, Ellen Wyatt, was sick and missed work on Monday.  But she recovered quickly and was back on the job and in outstanding spirits yesterday.  She and her husband, Capt. Dennis, bring laughter and a wonderful spirit to the base daily.  And speaking of Capt. Dennis, I think I hurt his feelings a little bit the other day when I posted the photos of the three Newton Dive Specials.  Capt. Dennis drives BSA Tarpon, a 45′ Corinthian dive boat.

BSA Tarpon - the first of the dedicated dive vessels in our fleet.

The BSA Tarpon is an incredible scuba platform.  She is quieter and faster than the Newtons.  She induces a party atmosphere aboard.  She is fabulous in moderate to calm seas.  Her only weakness is she doesn’t do quite as well as the Newtons in rough seas.  Corinthian dive boats are popular in the Keys.  I believe the Florida Sea Base bought the BSA Tarpon in 1994 with money donated by one of our generous benefactors.

We own another 45′ Corinthian, BSA Scoutmaster.  She started her life in the scuba program at the Florida Sea Base but was transfered in 2005 or 2006 to the Brinton Environmental Center.  I started my career at the Florida Sea Base as a Scuba Instructor in 2000.  Later I was promoted to captain of the BSA Scoutmaster which I drove until being hired as the Program Director.  So I too have fond feelings for the Corinthians.

I hope you enjoy the photo Capt. Dennis.  Thanks for all you do for the members of the Boy Scouts of America.

Capt. Steve
Aboard S/V Escape