Cordova uses friendly competition to promote marine safety

The Prince William Sound fishing community of Cordova celebrated its 58th annual Cordova Iceworm Festival this winter, and as usual, Alaska Sea Grant was there to help.

One of the festival’s main events is the survival suit race, where teams of four people run down a dock to where their suits are placed. They don their survival suits and swim to an inflated life raft. The time stops when the last person in the group makes it into the raft. Eight teams participated this year.

Sea Grant is a strong supporter of this fun and challenging event as a way to promote marine safety. Our local agent in the community helps organize and run the race.

“Being a coastal town that relies on our fisheries, everything that we do revolves around the water. So making sure that everybody understands survival suits, and turning the once-a-year races into a friendly competition and main event for Cordova’s annual Iceworm Festival, is an important way to promote marine safety in our town,” said John Williams, a commercial fisherman and Alaska Sea Grant Marine Advisory agent in Cordova.

The most creative team was Space Trash, whose members came dressed in an interesting array of cosmic space garb. The crew from USCGC Sycamore incorporated synchronized swimming moves as they dove into the harbor to swim for the raft.

Next year’s Cordova Iceworm Festival will be held January 25 to February 1, 2020.