Posts Tagged ‘K38 Ocean Safety’

K38 Rescue: Precept and Example

Thursday, March 8th, 2012
Shawn aboard "Jay"

Shawn aboard "Jay"

I sent Shawn Alladio a note yesterday afternoon. Here it is.

At least TRY to have a good time tonight, will ya? This is important.

Here is her response.

Shut up! LOL

 

USCG STAN Team training. Columbia River.

USCG STAN Team training. Columbia River.

 

That pretty much sums up what many of us feel, who are on the back end of rendering service, when accolades come our way.

Shawn was headed to an awards ceremony. I knew about it. Barely. It is not what we talk about. But a friend had reminded me, and I knew that Dr Andrea Neal, was down to see her in the midst of what for all of us, was an impossible week. And we all keep track of each other. Teams and families are like that. And it was Shawn actually, who taught me to always be watching, everything. Apex Predators. It is how anyone who is under her authority is taught to be.

Here is a basic element of K38 philosophy, that is an embed in our psychology. One of thousands. But an important one.

“Think like a victim. But act like a rescuer.” I am going to let that sink in. Volumes have been spoken and written on this.

Learning Flow

Learning Flow

 

Even now as I type this, I know that Shawn is headed up to Washington for work. I wish I was with her. We were up last year working with the STAN team at  the USCG Base at Tongue Point, and out on the Columbia River Bar. I liked it, and the Advance Helo Rescue Swimmer guys. It was good to us all, the time together.

Shawn Alladio, Serious instructions with K38 Mavericks Team

Shawn Alladio, Serious instructions with K38 Mavericks Team

I appreciate that Shawn invited me into her world so many years ago. With all the controversy of late, regarding the marginalization of women, and commentary surrounding a radio personality, who intentionally verbally degraded a female Law student on air, and a bunch of decrepit, corrupt politicians doing what they do, I was a bit taken aback, and had to figure out what the uproar was about.

I have an entirely different baseline about service, and women.

I have never had an issue placing myself under the command of a woman. Maybe because I have been under Shawn’s for so long, and her’s is efficient. So well run in fact, that she somehow finds herself in the unenviable process of having to deal with accolades from time to time. We ALL hate them. Any of us in service positions do them to serve. Though gratitude is great. (It is wonderful being appreciated) What we all aspire to do, is to educate, inspire and push OTHERS forward.

Here is the tricky part. When one leads by both precept and example, people lock onto the example first, and precept last. That is why frequently, our culture lends itself to the development of a cult of personality. But leaders, real ones, (politicians by their job description, are not leaders per se) know to actively resist iconization.

Precept and Example

Precept and Example

Why?

It weakens your team. You want a strong team, a vital community, that by it’s diversity and understanding and respect of each individual’s strengths and weaknesses, you may grow. That is our precept. Get it?

I learned a heck of a lot as a professional athlete (what I was, prior to being a businessman and a photographer-film maker). If one wants to be successful, you hone your strengths, refine those, but you train your weaknesses. Weakness is what kills your performance, and jeopardizes your goals long term. Shawn and I have been discussing this. I know she is writing on the subject. I look forward to the read.

Onboard Instruction

Onboard Instruction

In recent years, K38 Rescue, headed by Shawn Alladio, and a global collective of Rescue Professionals  trained by her, has raised a standard that did not formerly exist. This standard follows the design evolutionary process of the Personal Watercraft, PWC, or RWC (Rescue Watercraft), as we are now beginning to call these boats. A new generation of craft is about to come into our watery arena.

Shawn has applied her company assets as a civilian contractor, and as what I would call a Patriot, thrown everything into training with various branches of our Military and aiding in the development of the usage of the RWC in Military Rescue and various other ops. In a world full of bullshit artists who try to attach themselves and brand by association with the elite of our armed services who are water based, Shawn refuses to talk about it.

So I am.

Why?

Because Shawn by her service, has literally changed the course of History, in the usage of the personal watercraft for Rescue, and developed a detailed training modus that builds warriors out of boys who just liked fast toys. I know. I am one of them. Her understanding of, and education on Rescue theory, can revolutionize a life.

Shawn Alladio, Colombia River Bar

Shawn Alladio, Colombia River Bar

It has made a huge difference in mine. I have learned how to better, do no harm, as I go forward into a production. For eight plus years she has tolerated me, my lens and my Hawaiian hard headedness. I think she sort of fixed me. I needed that. I became a Rescue Boat Operator.  Never my plan, it is just what occurred over the years. I highly recommend it, in spite of the boot camp nature and long cold wet nights K38 training involves. In fact, after awhile you really begin to look forward to dark and inclement conditions. Tougher. More challenge.

Training is Living, Living is Training

Training is Living, Living is Training

So last night, this is what happened.

Shawn received an award, presented by the NSBC. Shawn Alladio was inducted into the National Safe Boating Council Hall of Fame on March 7th 2012. To illustrate how remarkable this is, understand that much older men with decades at the helm of other types of craft under their belts, would be typical inductees. Shawn, a female, and private contractor, and a PWC proponent, was being congratulated and honored on her command and the success of her vision. Important thing.

In her world, there really is no such thing as equality. Equality will drown and kill you. It is all about service and strength.

Here is the K38 Rescue blog. She is a member of NASBLA, and a woman whose love of the Sea and Ocean experiences are vast. I am really grateful for what she has done for my Community, the tribe of people who live in and around the water. The skills she mentors  in not only save lives, but enable us to set higher standards, in all that we do.

Headed down to Camp Pendleton

Headed down to Camp Pendleton

 

The only real reward for that, is in seeing others thrive, and coming home at the end of the day, to those who love us. But no matter how hard we train or how diligent we are, each of us acknowledges that it is grace that leads us home. I know someone who regularly falls asleep to this song.  The source of Grace is praise. I use it a lot. We all should.

Golden Reward

Golden Reward

Hazardous Materials Basics

Tuesday, June 29th, 2010
Hazmat Ready?

Hazmat Ready?

As everybody runs to pitch in at ground zero in the Gulf, I want you all to be aware that there are manifold issues related to working in and around high VOC environments. VOC is an acronym for Volatile Organic Compound.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Volatile_organic_compound

Levels of VOC’s vary greatly depending on atmospheric conditions and combinations of additional toxins, both natural and man made, which can have potentially serious long term effects.

One thing people may not be aware of, is that your skin and your eyes are actually also very effective systems whereby toxics can enter the blood stream. If you get contaminent on the skin use a very low VOC solvent to remove it. Cleaning agents such as Dissolve It (Citrus based) or vegetable oil, followed by  soap scrub, safely remove contaminents without assisting them into your blood stream.

Impermeable Hazardous Material setup

Impermeable Hazardous Material setup

Should you taste contaminent in your saliva, you have it in your blood stream. Many VOC’s can and will be processed by your body’s filter organs. But when you taste it, your organs are being impacted. You will also notice a change in your body odor, as your system attempts to rid the toxins via the respiratory path

Here are a couple recent articles related to the Gulf Coast cleanup efforts

http://beforeitsnews.com/story/86/473/Gulf_Coast_Toxicity_Syndrome.html

And for some scope. Check this.

Cautionary advice.

Wear a respirator that is properly fitted for your face. Respirator cartridges have an exposure limit time based on volume passage and contaminent levels. One telltale that your respirator is in need of a cartridge change is that if when you go to place the mask on, it smells of contaminent.

Keep your respirator in a well sealed ziplock bag when not in use.

Regularly remove the cartridges on your mask and clean the mask using a cotton swab and alcohol. Air dry, reinstall cartridges.

A link for treatment of airborne contaminent illness.

http://www.discountsafetygear.com/fullfacemasks.html

Rescue Ready USCG

Rescue Ready USCG

The basic rule of thumb when working in hazardous environments is to stay clean.

Certain toxins can accumulate in a biosystem over time, pre disposing the creature to various maladies that range from respiratory irritation, right down to various cancers and other serious ailments.

So no matter how benign one thinks a situation is, be aware that things can go from reasonably safe to hazardous, in the space of a wind or current shift. Be prepared. One would not go in to space without proper training and equipment.

Hidden Toxins

Hidden Toxins

Never enter a hazardous material environment without BOTH in place. No matter what anybody says, you must be the steward of your own health and safety while in the field.

Hmm. Black Tide. That gives me an idea.

Workplace

Workplace

The Mavericks Challenge: Ready, Aim, Stand

Friday, February 19th, 2010

Modus

 

Modus

An Operator’s perspective

I am just in the door from Maverick’s. We had quite an adventure up there.

This trip I was a part of the K38  Mavericks Water Rescue Team.

I joined K38 long ago, on the heels of shooting the 2000 Tow Surfing Championships at Jaws. I realized in the course of my process, that I had a debt of responsibility to both my subjects, the sport, and myself, (being a sentient human being) to be prepared and accountable as a responsible participant in documenting and filming surfing.

My motivation in seeking out K38 training, was to be able to respond appropriately and professionally in an emergency.

One of my mentors taught me early on, that a photographer is responsible for what he creates. I looked on in horror after my tow surfing imagery¬† helped¬† Surfer, Billabong XXL, Towsurfer, etc…. launch the new sport into the main stream, and realized that what I had created, could potentially¬† contribute to someone that I care about perishing.

My mentor explained that when you point a camera at someone,  they may do things not ordinarily embarked upon, should the camera be absent. I felt responsible for what I helped to create. (Bruce Brown had told me that he felt the same way about Cape Saint Francis, after shooting Endless Summer.)

So I had eventually sought out Shawn Alladio, and K38 Rescue. Though I never gave her the entire story on my motivation, she graciously accepted me into her program. In the course of several years I have participated in her training programs on various levels and received certification as a Rescue Boat Operator.

Lately, I find Shawn and myself working shoulder to shoulder a lot. The message is always the same: educate, be prepared, no one dies. Being on a team is sort of a strange concept for me.¬† Having been a competitive swimmer, cyclist, professional surfer et al (There are more solo sports on my list.) I found that my biggest challenge was to throttle down, or “stand down”,¬† as they say in the military. After many years, I am finally beginning to “get” that concept.

K38 training exemplifies and endows discipline. So these days, I bite my tongue, hold my Hawaiian temper in check, do what I am told. I am learning to serve, at last. I have placed myself under another’s authority.

Mavericks Rescue Team Background Story, as provided by Shawn Alladio:

 

Shawn Alladio: K38 Rescue

Shawn Alladio: K38 Rescue

 

“We were up at 4:20am getting ready for the 2009-2010 Mavericks Surf Contest the day of the historic event. We broke at midnight the evening prior after our PPE/gear checks and briefings.

The K38 crew provided the water rescue and assistance for the 24 athletes competing during the February 13, event. I’m very proud of the K38 Rescue team. They came together focused, did their job and did well. They took leadership values and incorporated them into a work ethic that produced results.

This was Ryan Augensteins’ first event. This team is committed to training and endorsing the K38 Way and standards for the future of water rescue during big wave events. I’ve had the honor of training a stellar team in South Africa who really set the bar professionally for big wave safety coverage. This team I am working with will have a minimum 3 year training timeline to perfect the necessary skills to be ‘rescue qualified’ on this level.

So K 38 was given the mission to assemble a team comprised of certified Rescue Boat operators and the local crew. An invitation to participate was sent out to a hand picked group of candidates. A select few people stepped forward.

The Mavericks K38 Rescue Team:

Vince Broglio (Captain)

Russell Smith

Garrett McNamara

Ryan Augenstein

Shawn Alladio

K38 Assistants/Patrol:

Ryan Levinson

Jonathan Cahill

K38 Mavericks Ocean Rescue Team

K 38 Mavericks Ocean Rescue Team

Additional Support:

Kelli Rumore

Nicole Levinson

Joy Portelli

Photographer, Camera Operator:

David Pu’u

We used Kawasaki ULTRA LX models, K38 Rescue Boards and our K38 boats/helmets were outfitted with GoPro HD cameras.”¬† Alladio

The new acting interim Harbormaster for Pillar Point is Mr. Robert Johnson. Deputy Harbor officer Cary Smith was the point of contact for the PPHD for the Mavericks Surf contest operations.

The Pillar Point Harbor Department offered generous and steady support.

Circling overhead was a USCG Helo and on the outskirts of the surf break, two fully manned USCG rescue vessels watched.  The legendary 47 MLB, http://www.uscg.mil/datasheet/47mlb.asp and the 87 foot Rescue Class Cutter: Protector, the Pike.

Further peripheral support was provided by the HMB FD. I had the pleasure of working along side two of their men in the course of the event. Steady professionals.

It was an honor to be in the first line of defense, supported by various public safety agencies with men and women of this caliber.  The large asset deployment at this event was primarily to manage the huge amount of boating and spectator traffic. NOAA had issued media warnings in an effort to cut down on traffic at the event this year.

It worked for the most part. Still, it was difficult not to notice things like an obviously out of place person aboard a PWC which was labeled with the name of a surfing publication and who, when questioned by authorities, could only keep repeating the words ‚ÄúI am with S— magazine‚ÄĚ, as if that gave him license to have the PWC in the lineup.

What I saw this day:

A large, building, 290 degree NW primary swell, that peaked in the course of the day with 22 feet at 17 second buoy readings, and two other swells. The combination of swell size, angle, and interval created a unique top wave that allowed for the surfers to ramp up to speeds not normally possible, which assisted entry into an exceptionally clean and concave wave face.

The ocean conditions this event day are exceptionally rare to experience, and in my 42 years of surfing and ocean activities as a waterman, and 12 years as a photographer, I am shocked to see such a rare meteorologic occurrence happen on an event day.

What transpired, was a best case, designer conditions day. With  superior competitor support, the measure of confidence on the part of the athletes, contributed to the establishing of a new bar in surfing performance at size.

So many athletes rose to the challenge this day, that I am a little dumbfounded. What I saw, exceeded anything prior in the context of my experience, in terms of ability, courage, bravado and success.

I used the Canon 5D Mark 2 system and the Go Pro HD system, and support was provided by Go Pro http://www.goprocamera.com/

I produced a detailed stills image list of iconic Surfing and Rescue Community support documentation, and shot 7 hours of motion and time lapse capture for a documentary that will focus on the event from a behind the scenes point of view.

The title of the film and the magazine feature that I am working on is ‚ÄúThe Road Home.‚ÄĚ It is a sequel to a piece I wrote, that was first Published by Alex Dick Read for The Surfers Path , which is a personal account of my coming to terms with the death of Mark Foo, who I had known from when I was first on the Professional Tour and in the many years which followed, spent time with when I would be in Hawaii.That story was entitled The Road To Half Moon Bay.

I did not return to Half Moon Bay to shoot surfing. I came to serve. But what I experienced, is one of the greatest gifts a Photographer and Journalist could have: being at a point in time where established paradigms shift with the tick of the clock.

Rigged to work Rescue, while holding a camera (well actually probably around 8 cameras, thanks to Go Pro) once more, the Canon 5D Mark 2 system allowed me to exceed all possible prior production potential for a single camera operator. We truly do live in the future. 24 surfers (and a LOT of support) just proved that.

David Pu'u and PPE

David Pu'u and PPE

Here is a piece of music that is remarkably pertinent and descriptive for us. It was recorded a long time ago.

Below is the gallery. Click on the images for a full view and to read more about that image.

This edit contains a small cross section of a large file that is illustrative of the event safety coverage at Mavericks and a little bit of the day and night preparations the team endured, in order to be ready. We worked long hours. We all came back safe.

No one dies.

© 2009 David Pu'u. All rights reserved.

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