YORKTOWN, VIRGINIA – Seven competitors from three separate cutters faced off on Monday, January 10th, in the first annual Coast Guard Tidewater area shiphandling contest, the first of its kind for Coast Guard units in the Tidewater area. Participants came from various ranks and possessed a wide range of experience, ranging from months to years sailing aboard Coast Guard cutters.
Organized by the Coast Guard Cutter TAMPA and sponsored by the Coast Guard Cuttermen’s Association, the goal of the contest was to develop and refine shiphandling expertise, seamanship skills, and promote professional development. Inspired by similar exercises held by the U.S. Navy, the friendly competition brought together local Guardians while offering prize money towards the morale funds for the highest scoring units.
Competitors were judged on their command presence, judgment, use of commands, use of engine and rudders, and smartness during evolutions set up at the Army’s Ft. Eustis simulator. Evolutions included mooring to a pier and recovering a person overboard. In addition, each competitor’s knowledge of the Rules of the Road and maneuvering boards was tested as well. BMCM Stephen Atchley, Officer in Charge of the CGC Seahorse (WPB 87361), took first place winning $100 for his cutter’s morale fund courtesy of the Cuttermen’s Association. LTjg Nathan Wojcik of the CGC Tampa (WMEC 902) came in second place and secured a prize of $50. Both competitors and judges praised the event and hope for future competitions and events of this type.