How do they stack 1500 containers onto a ship and send it out into the ocean and maintain positive buoyancy? Well, that's what we've been learning at PMI this week. Monday we refreshed on basic ship construction nomenclature: strakes, stringers, camber, flare, web frames, racking stresses, mangers, breast hooks, stealer plates, wildcats, hawsepipes and gypsy heads.... To name a few. Then we took an exam and moved on to the nuts and bolt of this class... Stability.
Stability is about keeping a ship/boat afloat and evenly loaded. We learned specifics about center of gravity, center of buoyancy, metacentric height, reserve buoyancy and other extremely crucial factors that keep a boat or ship from sinking or flipping over. We also learned how to crunch numbers and distribute weight (cargo, fuels, ballast, stores) evenly in order to maintain positive, stable stability.
Here's a video example of numbers that weren't crunched correctly...
Our Instructor, Capt. William George, wrote the book on Stability... Literally, and he knows his stuff!
It takes quite a bit of patience, a good calculator and precise pencil-point accuracy to achieve good results. We take our final exam tomorrow and we can shelve this topic for a while.
I can't say that I'm ready to go out and start loading a ship, far from it, but at least I have a better understanding of the principles and ideas behind how it's done. The men and women who run cargo plans and figure this stuff out are pretty amazing. They keep our boats upright, our sailors safe and dry, and our loads intact.
Next week, it's "Emergency Procedures" and "Search and Rescue"..
I'll be shipping out on Friday for an " Anchorage Run" and gone for 3 weeks or so. Should be interesting as the weather up north is turning "winter". If I get time next week, I'll do a little recap on the week before I head up to the boat in Everett.