Azura collaborated with Stockton University to develop and implement a Protected Species Observer (PSO) Certification Program. Funded by the renewable energy company Ørsted, this program provided training for six PSOs during the Stockton University’s Fall 2022 semester and focused on preparing PSOs for work on a variety of projects, including offshore wind construction projects in the Mid-Atlantic.
Azura assisted Stockton University in developing the course content and materials which met the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and Bureau of Ocean Energy Management requirements for PSO training.
During this 8-day in-person course, we trained the students via lectures at the Stockton Marine Field Station and field surveys in coastal New Jersey waters. The lectures included a variety of topics from relevant regulations/legislation and noise exposure thresholds to PSO roles/responsibilities and specific monitoring and mitigation methods used to help minimize potential impacts of human activities on federally protected marine mammal, sea turtle, and fish species. During the nearshore vessel surveys aboard the R/V Petrel, the students gained practical hands-on experience with typical PSO equipment and software, practiced monitoring techniques and scenarios, built communication skills, and learned how to identify marine mammal species occurring in the mid-Atlantic.
All of the students completed the course and passed the PSO exam to receive their PSO certification. In addition, the students completed Aton Maritime Institute’s Personal Survival Techniques (PST) training course to receive their U.S. Coast Guard-approved PST certification.