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I Passed The AMS Exam!

I have been looking forward to, and dreading this exam for years.  Last month I drove down to the SAMS headquarters in Jacksonville, FL to finally take this 4-hour beast of a test. THE PROCESS For those who don’t know, just qualifying to take the AMS exam is a gauntlet in itself.  Obviously the first step is getting accepted into SAMS (Society of Accredited Marine Surveyors).  An aspiring SAMS surveyor must first submit their entire marine background and resume.  And unless you spent the last 10 years as a tug boat engineer, some kind of survey-specific education is also required.  Once accepted, you are designated as a Surveyor Associate, or SA.  What this means is you’re a SAMS surveyor, but you’re still in the early stages of surveying and/or still honing your craft. This is a very effective and efficient way to prepare potential AMS candidates.  You throw yourself into the water and see how well you can swim.  In order to survive, SA’s must...

Special Delivery: 2016 Viking 52′ Express

Day 1: The Viking Factory: New Gretna, NJ It took me about 5 seconds to realize I dressed poorly for my first trip to the Viking factory. I knew it would be cold but I didn’t think it would be that cold. In my defense, we had just flown in from sunny 70-degree Charleston so my internal thermostat was a properly calibrated yet. Put it this way, I was the only idiot stomping around the snow-covered docks in boat shoes. [caption id="attachment_723" align="aligncenter" width="300"]Viking Factory Viking Factory[/caption]We spent the entire day at the factory provisioning and prepping the boat for the trip south. Several hours and several Wawa sandwiches later, we drove down to Atlantic City. Viking is tucked away a few miles inland and the only way to get the boats from the factory to the coast is to navigate through a maze of shallow and shoaly creeks...

The SpaceX Autonomous Spaceport Drone Ship

Last Friday, SpaceX made history after successfully landing their Falcon 9 rocket on a football field-sized floating platform in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean. A lot has been written about the Falcon 9 rocket and Dragon spacecraft, but there is a surprisingly scarce amount of information regarding the landing platform that made this aerospace-milestone possible. Let’s take a closer look at what we know about this mysterious vessel named, “Of Course I Still Love You”. Construction First of all, this landing platform has an official vessel designation as an Autonomous Spaceport Drone Ship, or ASDS. The ASDS started out as a simple barge but was converted into one of the most sophisticated objects on the water. marmac 304 The barge is a Marmac 304 built by McDonough Marine Services in Belle Chasse, Louisiana. Most of the barge is built using cold rolled steel with built-in...
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