Post Construction / Yard Certifications
Shipboard operations during new construction, overhaul, service life extension program (SLEP), or selected restricted availabilities (SRA) of greater than six months duration differ markedly from those of ships operating in a normal deployment cycle. Specialized skills and procedures which have limited use and application during normal operations are critical to safety and productivity during an extensive repair period. Conversely, some skills and routines essential to normal underway operations are relatively unused until the final stages of a shipyard period. Consequently, a specially adapted training plan must be developed each time a ship enters one of the repair periods listed above.
The training plan for a repair period must be prepared well in advance of the scheduled start date. It must consist of two overlapping phases the first teaches the crew necessary skills to ensure a safe, productive repair period; the second prepares the crew to operate the ship's systems and return the ship safely to sea following completion of the repair period. Successful progress of the second phase is checked by a crew certification process conducted shortly before sea trials by the group commander (ISIC), assisted by the type commander's staff. Dock trials and fast cruise provide the means to verify the crew is prepared to take the ship to sea, and sea trials mark completion of the repair period.
Preparations for a repair period planned for greater than six months duration must begin at least six months prior to the scheduled start date. Anticipated changes in the ship's manning levels must be carefully compared to watch bill requirements and needs for special skills required for ship's force work and quality assurance. Training should begin far enough in advance to ensure that the crew is ready to start work safely the first day of the repair period. Shipyard specific training should continue throughout the repair period to refresh experienced crew members and to properly indoctrinate new ones. Overlapping the shipyard training slightly at first, then gradually supplanting it as the repair period draws toward its end, is training aimed at preparing the crew to safely return the ship to sea. Requirements for school quotas and team trainers should be anticipated and requested as soon as possible so that these training resources may be used to the maximum extent practicable from the outset of the repair period.
Training in the Yard
As discussed above, the first phase of training for a repair period focuses on repair period specific subjects such as:
- Shipyard organization and protocols for interface between shipyard and ship's force personnel;
- Shipyard production procedures and related documentation, including planning documents, work authorization documents and discrepancy reports;
- Procedures for planning, accomplishing and documenting ship's force work;
- Skills and knowledge required to support shipyard activities, such as fire watch, habitability projects and quality assurance; and
- Shipyard/repair period safety procedures. Most of the subjects listed above should have been covered in detail by the time the ship enters the availability. Heavy emphasis must continue to be applied during the first part of the availability, gradually tapering off as sea trials approach but sufficient to ensure newly reporting personnel can function safely and effectively in the shipyard.
Operational training should continue during the repair period, building in intensity as completion approaches so as to ensure a qualified crew is ready to support testing of shipboard systems, and ultimately to man underway watch stations. However, emphasis on operational training should not begin so early in the repair period that it distracts the crew from the job at hand, which is to ensure the highest quality work. All formal school requirements, including operationally oriented courses, should be completed well before crew certification. Coverage of operational topics is necessary during the early part of the repair period in order to keep the crew from losing sight of the ultimate goal and to aid with advancement and professional development. The PQS system also should be used to orient personnel toward preparing themselves to discharge their responsibilities competently when the ship returns to sea. A shipboard operational training program designed to peak in intensity shortly before sea trials will ensure the crew is ready to pass certifications and to operate the ship safely during the first underway period.
In accordance with COMNAVAIRLANTINST 9080.2 (CV)/9090.2 (CVN), crew certification is the process by which the group commander (ISIC), assisted by the type commander's staff and Afloat Training Group (ATG), ensures a ship is ready to proceed safely to sea with a qualified crew upon completion of new construction or a repair period of six months months or greater duration. This is accomplished through a series of visits by group and type commander representatives tasked with confirming that the ship has (1) appropriate administrative programs in place, (2) required instructions and bills in force and up to date, (3) an effective PMS program and (4) meaningful training and PQS programs in place. Ships completing new construction, SLEP or a complex overhaul scheduled to last more than two years will have a three part crew certification phase 1A, phase 1 and phase 2. Ships completing an overhaul of less than two years duration or an availability of greater than twelve (CNAL) or six months (CNAP) months duration will have a two part (phases 1 and 2) crew certification. A description of each of the three phases follows:
- Phase 1A. This phase is only applicable to ships completing new construction, SLEP or an overhaul scheduled to last more than two years. A phase 1A visit normally will be conducted approximately four to six months prior to fast cruise and will last one day. It consists primarily of a review of the ship's training plans and schedules but shall also include a review of milestones to be achieved, as well as reviews of PQS progress, PMS implementation, technical documentation and logistic support.
- This phase, applicable to all ships completing new construction, SLEP, overhaul or an availability which lasts more than twelve months (CNAL) or six months (CNAP), will be conducted one to two months prior to fast cruise. A two day assessment conducted aboard the ship which consists of a qualification review, a level of knowledge evaluation, an administrative review, and a checklist review of key areas.
- Phase 2. Crew certification phase 2 consists of a shipboard evaluation by the group commander (ISIC) of the crew's ability to perform routine and emergency procedures during simulated underway operations. For conventionally powered ships, it will be conducted coincident with the final fast cruise preceding sea trials. For nuclear powered ships, it will be conducted during a two day simulated underway training period prior to fast cruise per OPNAVINST 9080.3G. Portions of this phase can be consolidated with CART II in some cases.
The objective of fast cruise is twofold: (1) to train the crew in a simulated underway environment, and (2) to give the commanding officer a final opportunity to confirm his crew is ready to take the ship safely to sea. In addition to carrying out the normal underway routine, the commanding officer shall have all equipment actuated to check for proper operation and to determine the state of crew training. Fast cruise shall, as far as is practicable, simulate at sea operating conditions. It will be conducted by the ship's force and is to be unhampered by construction or repair or by movement of shipyard personnel through the ship. Neither the shipbuilder, supervisor of shipbuilding conversion and repair, nor shipyard commander shall schedule any trials, tests or other work to be performed on the ship during this period. Specific requirements for fast cruise in nuclear powered ships are in OPNAVINST 9080.3G. For conventionally powered aircraft carriers, the required duration of fast cruise depends on the type and length of the overhaul. A five day fast cruise is required for ships completing construction, conversion or SLEP per OPNAVINST 4700.8H. Ships completing regular overhauls or SRAs may schedule a shorter fast cruise, but under no circumstances should it last less than 32 hours, including an overnight period. It may be divided into sections, but should be completed within a five day period. It should end not more than three days and not less than one day prior to underway trials.
Sea trials shall be conducted upon completion of all availabilities. Primary emphasis during this nominal 5 day underway period is focused on testing equipment and certifying systems and capabilities. However, training in basic underway functional areas should be conducted as well, especially in the areas of navigation, CDC surface operations, deck seamanship, flight deck operations and damage control.
Shakedown training is conducted for ships completing new construction, SLEP or overhauls of greater than one year's duration if significant at sea operations are scheduled between completion of construction/overhaul and commencement of the pre-deployment work-up cycle. The purpose of shakedown training is to ensure the crew is capable of safely performing routine at sea operations, including flight operations. Primary emphasis shall be on engineering casualty control, seamanship, navigation, damage control, flight deck operations, communications and safety related exercises. The ISIC will liaison with ATG to determine shakedown training requirements and schedule shakedown training periods. They will normally be one to two weeks in length; schedules will be individually tailored based on the ship's requirements and expected operational cycle, but should include shakedown exercises identified in Appendix I unless specifically waived by the ISIC. Shakedown training is not required for ships commencing a pre deployment work-up cycle immediately after overhaul, since they will receive normal Basic Phase training.
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