Patrol boat crew expands skill sets

Published on LEUT Gary McHugh (author), LSIS Yuri Ramsey (photographer)

Able Seaman (AB) Maritime Logistics - Chef Luke Barton from Attack Four, onboard HMAS Larrakia.  Along with his core role as a chef, AB Barton is also a member of the Ship's Medical Emergency Team and the Boarding Party. (photo: LSIS Yuri Ramsey)
Able Seaman (AB) Maritime Logistics - Chef Luke Barton from Attack Four, onboard HMAS Larrakia. Along with his core role as a chef, AB Barton is also a member of the Ship's Medical Emergency Team and the Boarding Party.

It’s a part of life at sea that you wouldn’t usually see on a major fleet unit: Sailors performing Officer of the Watch tricks at the rank of Leading Seaman, and chefs forming an integral part of a busy boarding team - it’s multi-tasking at its best.
 
Welcome to life on an Armidale Class Patrol Boat.
 
One such vessel is HMAS Larrakia, which recently sailed from Darwin for a six-week deployment to South East Asia.
 
Commanding Officer of Attack Four (currently embarked in Larrakia), Lieutenant Commander Dave McPherson said it is imperative that crew members are proficient not only in their own area of expertise, but also in a number of other areas.
 
“Yes, this makes life at sea very challenging when we are on patrol, but it also brings its own rewards,” he said.
 
These rewards include the significant sense of camaraderie that is evident throughout the patrol boat force.
 
“It gives crew members an expanded skill set that will prove invaluable for the rest of their professional careers,” Lieutenant Commander McPherson said.
 
Able Seaman Maritime Logistics Chef Luke Barton, who as well as being part of the Boarding Party is also a member of the Ship’s Medical Emergency Team, has only been part of Attack Four for a few months, but is already an integral member of the crew.
 
“I really enjoy the diversity that patrol boats give me,” he said.
 
“As well as doing my own job in the galley, I also get to work in a number of other areas of the ship - it’s a really high tempo job and very satisfying.”
 
HMAS Larrakia will head back to its home port of Darwin in late October.