Thursday, February 2, 2012

The United States Marine Safety Association and Marine Safety: A history of support for marine safety.

Excerpt from U.S. Coast Guard Proceedings of the Marine Safety & Security Council magazine by Mr. Ed McCauley, president, United States Marine Safety Association;
Mr. Richard Hiscock, former member of Commercial Fishing Industry Vessel Advisory Committee; Ms. Kari Guddal, president, Guddal Enterprises LLC; and Mr. Tom Thompson, executive director, United States Marine Safety Association.

USMSA and the Immersion Suit
During World War II, the need for protection from hypothermia became apparent. Borrowing on work already begun by the British, U.S. and Canadian experts developed lightweight “exposure” suits. Production ceased, however, when the war emergency was over. Today, professional mariners are well aware of the importance of the immersion suit.


  • In the late 1960s Gunnar G. Guddal, founder of Imperial International, a USMSA member company, invented the modern-day neoprene immersion suit with a water-tight zipper.

  • In the 1970s, two major maritime accidents and an increase in recreational boating deaths due to cold water exposure focused new attention on cold water survival.

USMSA and Training
The United States Marine Safety Association has long been active in facilitating safety training for the commercial fishing industry. The regulations resulting from the Commercial Fishing Vessel Safety Act of 1988 required that drills be conducted monthly aboard fishing vessels by a trained individual.

USMSA partnered with the New Jersey Marine Sciences Consortium and the Alaska Marine Safety Education Association to develop the curriculum and infrastructure required for this training. This effort resulted in a comprehensive document containing guidelines, lesson plans for safety and survival training, and onboard drill scenarios.

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