Training with Captain Shoemaker


Training with Captain Shoemaker

Let Captain Dave Shoemaker train your crew. The ex-marine and Vietnam combat veteran had spent 23 years as captain of Bering Sea king crab and longline fishing vessels without ever losing a crewmember or suffering a major casualty. His vessel in 2002, the 190-foot freezer longliner Galaxy, held Maltese Cross classification issued by the American Bureau of Shipping and was acknowledged among fishermen as one of the best managed, safest vessels on the water. If the vessel was tough, so was it's skipper. Captain Shoemaker and the highly regarded company he worked for, Aleutian Spray Fisheries, insisted that the vessel and its crew exceed regulatory requirements for safety training and equipment, but privately, Shoemaker believed it was his own experience and professionalism, and the competence of his senior officers, that kept the vessel safe. Throughout the long fall and winter months on the longline grounds, the incessant chatter on the marine radios told of frequent casualties in this most dangerous of industries, and boats under Shoemaker's command had responded without hesitation any time another member of the family of Bering Sea fishing vessels suffered a casualty. Even then, however, it can never happen to me, was his personal mantra.

That all changed on the afternoon of October 20, 2002 when an engine room fire consumed the Galaxy, giving Shoemaker mere minutes to respond before the first of many explosions crippled the vessel and left him without power or communications and with most of his survival gear in flames. Battling impossible odds, the captain exhorted his crew to focus their minds on survival, even as he believed in his own heart that their struggle was futile and that death was only a matter of time.

In recognition of his efforts in saving 23 of 26 men and women aboard the Galaxy that day, Captain Shoemaker received the U.S. Coast Guard’s Gold Lifesaving Medal, the agency’s highest civilian commendation for heroism.

Today, Captain Shoemaker is dedicated to sharing with his fellow seamen the lessons learned during his horrific ordeal. The inspiring speaker has a unique ability to connect with other marine professionals who secretly believe, as he once did, that casualties at sea happen only to others, never to them.

Training and teaching options range from lecture presentations during which Captain Shoemaker shares with your personnel his experience, his wisdom and his determination to spare other mariners the terror of calamity at sea that still interrupts his sleep, to half-day or day-long hand-on drills.

Contact John Sabella & Associates, Inc. to schedule a teaching or training event.

Click here to schedule a training session with Captain Shoemaker.

Captions from top, last view of the burned out hull of the Galaxy before she sank; Captain Shoemaker sharing his wisdom; a drill aboard the F/V Siberian Sea utilizes smoke for the sake of realism; crewmembers getting a taste of abandoning the vessel; Captain Shoemaker receiving his commendation for heroism.

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John Sabella &Associates, Inc. &bull 190 W. Uncas Road, Port Townsend, WA 98368 &bull USA
Phone: 360-379-1668 &bull Fax: 360-379-5148 &bull