With the recent tragedy that took place on the Costa Concordia it seems everyone is talking about ship safety and muster drills. Because of this I decided it was only right to also cover this in my own blog.
So just what is a muster drill? Well, a muster drill is an exercise carried out onboard ship by the ship’s crew prior in most cases to embarking on a voyage. The muster drill is also sometimes referred to as the lifeboat drill or boat drill.
The intended purpose of the muster drill is to educate passengers on how to safely evacuate the ship, familiarise themselves with escape routes and learn the correct way of wearing a life jacket. The muster drill will always be conducted by the ship’s captain and during the drill he will make all passengers aware of the general emergency signal, this is several or more short blasts followed by one long blast on the ships whistle.
It is a legal requirement that a passenger muster drill must be carried out by the ship’s company within 24 hours of the vessel leaving port, however, in most cases it is conducted before the ship is even untied from the dock. Usually, a muster drill is not always carried out onboard riverboats or short trip ferries.
So how do you know when there is an emergency? Well, if there is an emergency that the passengers and all crew must be made aware of the captain will sound the general emergency signal. This usually is several or more short blasts followed by one long blast on the ships whistle. It is important to know that the general emergency signal is NOT the signal to abandon ship. Should it be necessary for this procedure the captain will make the announcement from the bridge.
If you hear the general emergency signal and an announcement was not made prior that it was for exercise purposes you should, unless instructed otherwise, return to your cabin. Once back at your cabin quickly put on warm clothing, gather any medication you may need, collect your life jacket and head directly to your muster station. Avoid the ships lifts if you are able to do so.
The importance of knowing what to do in an emergency can mean the difference between an emergency and a sheer catastrophe as evident in the recent Costa Concordia incident.
Whether it is your first cruise or your 50th cruise YOU MUST ATTEND YOUR MUSTER DRILL!