Watermark recently hosted around 100 Annapolis City and Anne Arundel County Firefighters and Paramedics on board their vessels for marine training exercises. The exercises, four in total conducted on three different Watermark vessels, allowed firefighters and paramedics to familiarize themselves and prepare response protocols in the event of a fire, medical or other emergency on board Watermark’s vessels. Many large vessels come into Annapolis and Anne Arundel County. Because the Fire Department can’t often access those private vessels, Watermark’s fleet was used as an example of the different types of vessels that visit our waterways.
Two sessions were conducted each day for 1 ½ hours each. Watermark’s Company Security Officer Captain Dean Scarborough says, “This was an important training opportunity for our team. Safety is our top priority at Watermark and having a familiar relationship with first responders helps us achieve that. Knowing that providing tours of our private vessels to the Fire Department will help the boating community in our region is in line with our commitment to the Chesapeake Bay area.”
City of Annapolis Fire Chief David Stokes, Sr. says, “I have been told that our personnel felt this was an outstanding training module that will greatly increase our knowledge base and assist in our continued response to emergencies in the tributaries of the Chesapeake Bay in and around Annapolis.” In addition to familiarizing themselves with Watermark’s passenger vessels which carry tens of thousands of guests of each year in the region, the vessel access provided by Watermark gave the first responders a unique opportunity to see the engine rooms of large vessels allowing them to better respond to emergencies on any vessel in distress in the region.
The training focused on oil line suppressions, understanding the fuel systems of the boats and accessing hidden spaces so the Department can have pre-plans in the event of an emergency. It also evaluated the boats’ firefighting capabilities and offered Firefighters their first look at the engine room of a large vessel. The Fire Department familiarized itself with the marina, the vessels at dock and also while underway. The exercise included a visit by Annapolis City’s fireboat to understand best ways to access the vessels and make pre-plans to unload passengers in the case of an emergency evacuation.
Watermark’s vessels are Coast Guard inspected and certified with safety exercises taking place on a regular basis. Vessel and passenger safety is a routine part of ongoing training for all Captains and crew members. The Annapolis City Fire Department attempts to conduct some type of practical training about once a month during the Spring and Fall; the vessel familiarization training with Watermark was the first of its kind. Captain R. Scott Svoboda of the City of Annapolis Fire Department Training Division contacted Captain Dean Scarborough to about conducting the training earlier in the year. When the trainings took place, all Annapolis City and Anne Arundel County Fire Departments units were still available to respond to emergencies.