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Dive Into the Naval Academy Yard Patrol

May 30, 2019 1:11:48 PM

USNA Yard Patrol Summer CruiseA classroom is the traditional place to acquire knowledge, but some skills are best developed through hands-on experience. Classroom instruction is reinforced and retained when students put it to use. While lessons in maritime topics such as navigation and seamanship may begin in the classroom, they require practical afloat training to be mastered.

The mission of the United States Naval Academy’s Yard Patrol (YP) Squadron is to deliver realistic at-sea training for midshipmen in a realistic environment under the mentorship of qualified personnel. This specialized training teaches participants seamanship, navigation, naval tactics, communications, naval phraseology and standard procedures. The training received aboard the YP fleet is an early step in a midshipman’s journey toward an Officer of the Deck (OOD) qualification, and Command at Sea.

During the summer training period, Atlantic Professional Afloat Training (LANTPAT) provides midshipmen, Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC), and international students with hands-on training in seamanship, navigation, and engineering during an immersive experience commonly referred to as the YP Summer Cruise. Not only do students receive practical at-sea training, but they also begin to develop the leadership skills necessary to become effective Naval Officers.

LANTPAT’s training program is delivered in three phases. During the first phase, students learn about shipboard roles and responsibilities, navigation basics, chart plotting, standard commands, and maritime rules of the road. This segment of the training is held in the classroom, using ship simulators, and aboard pier side YP craft.

During the second phase of training, YP craft become the classroom. Participants become familiar with the ship itself and practice safety-related skills such as egress, damage control, sea survival, and man overboard drills. At the conclusion of the second phase, students will demonstrate proficiency in readiness and operations to the chain-of-command.

All of the skills acquired in prior phases are required and must be pulled together for the third phase of LANTPAT’s training program.  During this phase, students take the ship underway and are responsible for all operations of the ship during a deployment to Boston, Philadelphia, New York, and Newport, before returning to Annapolis.

While underway, students will have their new skills put to the test when filling demanding shipboard billets, including Navigator, Executive Officer, and Commanding Officer. Along with the regular duties associated with these roles, challenges will arise, requiring critical thinking, problem solving, and leadership to resolve. A YP Summer Cruise is a constant learning environment where mistakes can be made and learned from.

In addition to the learning experience, the underway period allows students to have a little fun in port, as well as interact with and educate local communities. When pier side, they may provide the public guided tours of the YP craft, instructing them about the ship, its operations, the Navy, and the Naval Academy.

LANTPAT’s training program offers midshipmen real-world small unit leadership experience in a maritime environment. YP Summer Cruises are held during the summer training period in blocks lasting for three weeks. This training program is available to midshipmen beginning with their 3rd class summer. Learn all about USNA's YP Summer Cruises, including packing lists and training instructions here.

Topics: Insider

Bill the Goat
Written by Bill the Goat

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