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IRPT 2020 Conference: April 20-22 in Little Rock, Arkansas

Inexperienced Deckhand: Memphis, TN

Inexperienced Deckhand: Memphis, TN

Southern Towing Company-Logo-1

REQUIRED CREDENTIALS: All vessel employees are required to hold a valid Transportation Workers Identification Credential (also known as TWIC®). A valid TWIC is required by the Maritime Transportation Security Act for workers who need access to secure areas of the nation’s maritime facilities and vessels. TSA conducts a security threat assessment (background check) to determine a person’s eligibility and issues the credential. Information on applying and enrolling for a TWIC card can be found on the Transportation Security Administration's TWIC Website.

WORK SCHEDULE: The standard work schedule for Deckhands is 28 days on the vessel then 14 days off. While on the boat, deckhands normally stand watch for 12 hours each day with the watch broken into two 6-hour watches: the forward watch (6:00 AM to Noon and 6:00 PM to Midnight) or the after watch (Noon to 6:00 PM and Midnight to 6:00 AM). Sometimes a deckhand will stand the square watch, which is from 6:00 AM to 6:00 PM, or be an extra person to help make locks.

When a deckhand is off duty, it is their responsibility to get adequate sleep and rest so they are capable of working safely and efficiently when required. A deckhand may be requested to return to a boat during their scheduled time off if an emergency arises.

PHYSICAL DUTIES OF THE JOB: Deckhands must be capable of lifting and moving equipment that may weigh in excess of 100 pounds. It will frequently be necessary to move equipment that is heavy, large, and awkward, sometimes from one level to another. Mechanical lifting devices are provided and must be used as necessary. Assistance must be obtained from other members of the crew when appropriate. The deckhand must consider the requirements of a particular job prior to undertaking the task so they can be assured that all available equipment or assistance is readily available.

All deckhands must ascend and descend stairs or ladders, sometimes while transporting tools or objects. They must correctly use portable ladders or stools and use handrails when appropriate.

A deckhand's color vision must allow them to recognize color coded objects such as electrical components, navigation lights, hazardous cargo placards, dock warning signs or lights, pipes, and valves. A deckhand must advise the company of any change in their vision and they must wear eye protection when required by the work environment or by company policy. If vision deteriorates to the point that an individual cannot safely perform their daily duty, they must promptly inform the company.

A deckhand's hearing must be adequate for assuring their own personal safety while working in a machinery space which has high levels of background noise; for detecting changes in the operating sounds of machinery; and for hearing alarms, signals from the boat, and signals from passing vessels. They shall be capable of communicating in English with the pilothouse or other personnel via portable or fixed VHF radio as well as intercom systems or voice communication.

A deckhand must be capable of reading and speaking English so as to read, understand, and ask questions about company forms, container labels, emergency response procedures, Station Bills, placards, and other pertinent information.

A deckhand must be capable of performing their assigned emergency duties without undue danger to themselves or the boat. The deckhand must know how and when to use the emergency equipment located on the boat and be able to properly wear any safety equipment required by their duties.

Deckhands will perform their duties during all types of weather, night and day, and while the boat is moving.

MISCELLANEOUS DUTIES: Every deckhand is required to participate in making tow; transfer of rigging; lay rigging; handle lines; shifting barges; drop or pickup barges; checking tow; move and operate portable pumps; assist in making locks or bridges; assist in mid-stream transfers; routine housekeeping duties; and general maintenance of the boat and barge(s). Deckhands must catch a line on deck fittings; work lines at locks; cast lines free when getting underway; and assist in the navigation of the boat.

Deckhands will be required to use hand tools, power tools, painting equipment, and personal protective gear. Each individual is responsible for seeking supervision when they are unfamiliar with a particular item or procedure. Make certain that you understand when and how personal protective equipment is to be used. Use it correctly and when needed. Do not attempt to complete a task if you do not understand how it is to be done.

Every deckhand must become familiar with their emergency duty and develop an acceptable skill level in their emergency role. Participation in emergency drills is required of every crew member. Specific duties are listed on the Station Bill posted on the boat.

Other duties may be assigned by the Mate who is responsible for supervision of the deck crew or by pilothouse personnel.

When a cook is not assigned the deckhand will share food preparation duties with other crew members.

SECURITY DUTIES: The deckhand will perform security duties as directed by the Vessel Security Officer of the boat and/or the barge(s). Duties may include standing security watch, controlling access to the vessel and screening of persons, baggage, supplies, stores and personal effects brought on board.

OTHER INFORMATION: Every crew member is required to be aware of and comply with all directives, policies, and procedures contained in the company's Towing Safety Management System (TSMS). Good working relationship with other members of the crew are an important part of the daily routine aboard the boat; every crew member is expected to promote good working relationships.

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