The first ever Motorboat Operator Certification Course (MOCC) and Open Water Module (OWM) were conducted September 16-19 and 23-25, 2013 respectively, in American Samoa. The courses were held in large part to fulfill the needs of National Parks Service (Department of Interior, DOI) and NOAA (Department of Commerce, DOC) to have additional coxswains and boat crew in American Samoa. Therefore, these organizations worked hard to help each other.
DOI and DOC boating programs have made their basic training requirements the same and often conduct the MOCC and OWM together. This allows for efficient use of resources, and starts to develop the relationships between DOI and NOAA employees that may need to work with each other in the future. As part of the ongoing collaboration, Erik Norris and Jamie Barlow of the Pacific Islands Fisheries Science Center flew to American Samoa September 12 to instruct, along with Tim Clark and Jim Nimz of National Parks Service (NPS), a MOCC and OWM. The courses were also opened up to the American Samoa government agencies, Department of Marine and Wildlife Resources (DMWR) and Marine Patrol.
Overall, the course was extremely rewarding for all those involved. The students walked way with a greater foundation of boating safety and operations. Instructors were rewarded with having months of planning and labor come to fruition. Additionally, the courses served as an example of how different government agencies can work cohesively to carry out missions safely and efficiently.
The folks at PIFSC would like to thank all the agencies involved for their assistance, especially NPS for hosting and providing the personnel to carry out some of the logistics and errand running that made the whole event possible.