(Top Row - L - R) Peter Gibino (Norfolk VA), Ron Williams (Great Lakes), Peggy Perales ()Valdez, AK) Dan Curtis (Oakland), Ron Mattox (NOAA Safety), Terry Brisbin SRH)
(Middle Row - L - R) Rob Niemeyer (Jacksonville), Matt Thompson (Seattle), Tim Kenefick (Charleston), Jim Luciani (New York/New Jersey), Derek Leeloy (Hawaii/PR),Frank Strasheim (Texas A & M Instructor)
(Bottom Row - L - R) Paula Rychtar (New Orleans, Chris Fakes (Houston), Larry Hubble (Anchorage), Brian Holmes (Long Beach), Dave Dellinger (Miami)
(Sept. 15, 2011) -- National Weather Service Port Meteorological Officers (PMO) have completed the agency's first Maritime Safety course at the National Weather Service Training Center in Kansas City.
Funded by the Voluntary Observing Ship (VOS) program, the course was presented by Frank Strasheim, a trainer from the Texas A&M Extension Institute; a former regional director for the Occupational, Safety and Health Administration (OSHA); and a retired Naval Reserve officer.
Topics included port terminal safety, fire and chemical hazards, shipboard safety, personal protective equipment and applicable OSHA and U.S. Coast Guard regulations. Working in conjunction with Texas A&M staff, the course was developed by National Weather Service Southern Region Safety Officer Terry Brisbin and VOS Operations Manager and former PMO Paula Rychtar.
"Going forward, each Port Meteorology Officer will now summarize specific hazards of their respective ports for future officers and will identify any personal protective equipment that may be needed when dealing with those hazards," said Rychtar.
Port Meteorological Officers are responsible for recruitment of new vessels for the Voluntary Observing Ships program and for ensuring the quality of observations from vessels already participating in the program. They spend a major part of their time visiting ships and assisting deck officers with marine weather observation practices, weather codes and report transmission procedures.
They distribute observing forms, handbooks and operating instructions, in addition to calibrating some of the ship’s weather instrumentation. They review completed observation forms on board, point out omissions or errors and suggest methods for improvement. PMOs also maintain contact with ship owners and agents, port operators, shore radio stations and maritime academies to secure the cooperation of the maritime community.
The United States VOS program is part of an international scheme involving thousands of ships reporting meteorological observations throughout the world.