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funtimefrankie

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Life boat drill
« on: October 30, 2009, 04:53:33 PM »

Some years ago I met Pete, an ex-colleague who had gone off to be a DJ. He was telling me about working on cruise ships.

He said they had practice drill where they lowered a llifeboat and sailed it round the ship, and pulled it up again not sure it was all the lifeboats or just one.

When I repeated this story to another mate who used to go on cruises he said this wasn't true it never happens and  Pete was telling porkies.  This second mate is the sort that is "always right" so he tells me !!!.

Anyone tell me who is right???
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rsm

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Re: Life boat drill
« Reply #1 on: October 30, 2009, 05:40:42 PM »

I went on a Royal Caribbean cruise with my wife and while we were in one of our ports of call the crew lowered a number of lifeboats and proceeded to drive them around the harbour. They were all raised and stowed by the time we got back on board.
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Bryan Young

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Re: Life boat drill
« Reply #2 on: October 30, 2009, 08:17:59 PM »

I believe the DJ in a lot of cases. Putting a heck of a lot of the crew into boats as an exercise would most certainly cause mayhem in the catering department!
Having been (once...and that was enough) crammed into a lifeboat with over 100 others I can assure you that Economy seats in an airliner are a luxury. The lowering of the boat even in still water is dependent on the skill of the lowerers...zero. Quite scary when one end of the boat hits the water before the othe end....especially if it's one of the more modern covered boats. Heaven help those who have to do it for real, and not just for Board of Trade sports. BY.
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BarryM

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Re: Life boat drill
« Reply #3 on: October 30, 2009, 11:07:29 PM »

Some years ago I met Pete, an ex-colleague who had gone off to be a DJ. He was telling me about working on cruise ships.

He said they had practice drill where they lowered a llifeboat and sailed it round the ship, and pulled it up again not sure it was all the lifeboats or just one.

When I repeated this story to another mate who used to go on cruises he said this wasn't true it never happens and  Pete was telling porkies.  This second mate is the sort that is "always right" so he tells me !!!.

Anyone tell me who is right???


Never - ever - believe a Second Mate. Too little to do and too much time to do it in.

Barry M
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derekwarner

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Re: Life boat drill
« Reply #4 on: October 30, 2009, 11:28:22 PM »

They don't do life boat drills on warships....... <*<.......in a previous life I sailed on quite a few DDG's & FFG's [inspecting our handy work from the refit of the missile launcher & gun mounts with live T-SAM's & various shells in action shooting over the horizon :-))] however never once did I consider that we would sink  :o .........Derek  {-)...
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Derek Warner

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justboatonic

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Re: Life boat drill
« Reply #5 on: October 30, 2009, 11:50:15 PM »

Surely they have to practice lifeboat drill sometime!?
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derekwarner

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Re: Life boat drill
« Reply #6 on: October 31, 2009, 12:06:50 AM »

justboatonic ....on warships = no life boats .....they may have a work boat & a ships boat  ....but the latter is used to transport the Caption to another vessel to attend the Admiral's dinner party  {-) O0 Derek
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Derek Warner

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farrow

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Re: Life boat drill
« Reply #7 on: November 04, 2009, 08:14:52 AM »

Life boat drills are a legal requirement on all commercial ships, in a class 7 vessel the boat must be lowered and run up at least once every 6 months. In passenger boats the boats are lowered more frequently, also life boat station drill should be carried out within 24 hours of sailing. All the drills have to be entered into the official log book for inspection by a State Port Authority, if not done the Master will receive a very heavy fine if he has no just reason.
All life saving equipment must now be operated by a competent person, not necessarily a seaman, on the cruise boats all the bar managers and senior caterers have to have a certificate to take charge of lowering and operating lifeboats/liferafts. As there is not enough seaman carried aboard operate everything and possibly the hotel staff are the best people to control the passengers in an emergency.
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Re: Life boat drill
« Reply #8 on: November 06, 2009, 07:27:19 PM »

Between early 1961 and late 1992, I sailed in 19 ships.   Ten cargo ships and nine passenger ships (Merchant Navy).   Boat drills were compulsory every week, but boats were NEVER lowered at sea for drills.    They were often lowered in harbour and always before we sailed from Southampton (Union-Castle Mail Steamship Co.).      Apart from the deck crew, a certain number of the remainder had to have lifeboat certificates, but they were not eligible to sit for the test until they had served six months on the articles of a Merchant Ship.   
Bob
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farrow

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Re: Life boat drill
« Reply #9 on: November 06, 2009, 10:45:22 PM »

As I said boat drill within 24 hours of sailing, but lowering boats was once every 6months in class 7 boats, class 1 the rules are I believe different. Deep sea probaly every friday(Board of Trade Games) for life boat stations and fire drills, but in the official log it had to be once a month I believe. Yes seaman were the only ones to get a lifeboat cert, but now it is called a Survival craft cert and is open to anyone on articles including the hotel staff, no longer the preserve of seaman. When I did one some years ago I along with others helped a bar maid on the Sea Princess get one.
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Re: Life boat drill
« Reply #10 on: November 07, 2009, 07:45:54 AM »

In 31 years at sea, I never saw a lifeboat put in the water for a drill whilst the ship was at sea.     The passenger ships I sailed in were Class I passenger ships and I obtained my lifeboat certificate in 1965 aboard the RMS TRANSVAAL CASTLE.    I was 4th radio officer at the time and others taking the certificate at the same time included stwwards, stewardesses and cooks.

At the weekly boat drills, all the boats were lowerd to the embarkation deck, but no further.    On the one occasion that I was involved in a serious fire at sea aboard the RMS ST, HELENA on Halloween Night, 1984, off the West African Coast,  We were on the points of abandoning.   I had sent the dsitress message and the tabker OVERSEAS ARGONAUT was on its way (25 miles off).    The boats were lowered to the embrakation deck and all the passengers and most of the crew embarked in them, but it was still not considered wise to actually put them down until absoluetly necessary.     By the time the OVERSEAS ARGONAUT arrived in the early hours of the morning, the fire had been sudued by flooding the engine-room with CO2 gas.    Fortunately, it was never necessary to actually put the boats in the water.    We drifted for 3 days with the tanker standing by.    Then when the fire was declared completly extinguished, we released the tanker, but drifted for another week until the German salvage tug FAIRPLAY 9 arrived and towed us to Dakar for a one-month refit.
Boats were always put down in Southampton and Cape Town on the mail ships.   On the REINA DEL MAR, they were put down in Southampton and various cruise ports.
Bob
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Bunkerbarge

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Re: Life boat drill
« Reply #11 on: November 07, 2009, 09:23:16 AM »

Interesting question and interesting experiences.  I have to say that in my many years on cargo ships putting the boats into the water was a very hit and miss affair and very rare although I did once man the engine when we put a boat down in the Medditeranean to pick up a doctor from a Russian Trawler as our cook was very ill.    Puting a boat down at sea is actually quite a hairy experience  and what may look like a slight swell from the boat deck is going to give you a serious challenge when you actually get down to it.  Even with the ship turned to give us a lee we ended up with only one fall clear and very nearly turned he thing over. Unfortuately the cook died, only 21 years old as well.

Today it is quite a different level of focus, particularly on passenger ships.  It is controlled by the Flag State and the Bahamian regulations require that all boats must be lowered into the water, I think monthly.  Consequently we lower one side every second week and the boats do a quick tour around the harbour before stowing them again.  Also the boats Cox has to hold a Certificate of Proficiency in Survival Craft so you can't simply stick anyone in the seat.  Any passenger ship nowadays that doesn't lower it's boats regularly are simply irresponsible and questions should be raised by anyone who experiences this.

I agree it is a major inconvenience to the hotel team however every one on board accepts it has to be done and the schedule for the day is designed to acomodate it.  It's all to do with the attitude of the senior officers and if they remain clear in the directives that there is no compromise as regards aspects of safety drills and training then the crew start to reflect this and take it with good heart.

We do fire drills every second week with all teams fully booted and spurred, lower the boats afterwards and send the fire teams ashore every other month for live fire training at a local fire station.  On the weeks when we don't do a fire scenario we do individual team training which could be anything from BA demonstrations to hose handling or maybe even just a chat about any relevent subject that has come to light during a drill.

I agree, I would be very surprised to see a boat lowered at sea for the sake of a drill. For a start no ship has that much flexibility in it's itinery and, as I've said, it can be a hazardous thing to do so you would only want to do it if you had to.
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HS93 (RIP)

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Re: Life boat drill
« Reply #12 on: November 07, 2009, 10:24:28 AM »

In the late 60s I was on a boat going to the Cannery Isles from Liverpool and they did a drill apparently they had to do one every six months as it was carrying passengers (only 100) I don't know about it going around the ship but it was lowered and realised and then brought back on board , it was a Spanish reg boat.

Peter
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funtimefrankie

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Re: Life boat drill
« Reply #13 on: November 07, 2009, 07:42:02 PM »

Thanks for the replies it would seem that DJ  Pete was right. I don't think it was at sea when he did the practice.
Alyn must have been on some dodgy ships.
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Colin Bishop

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Re: Life boat drill
« Reply #14 on: November 07, 2009, 09:15:44 PM »

A lot of cruise ships lower their tenders to put passengers ashore when visiting ports of call. Do these lowering and recovery operations count towards the official drills?

Colin
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Re: Life boat drill
« Reply #15 on: November 08, 2009, 08:36:25 AM »

My last two ships ST HELENA (I) AND st helena (II) In which I sailed from 1979 to 1992 called regaularly at anchorange ports i.e. Ascension Island and St. Helena Island (South Atlantic).       Passengers were always taken ashore and returned at these ports by harbour launches specially provided for that use.    We never transferred them in lifeboats.      The gangway was lowered to the water level and they would step across into the launch.    Less agile passengers got into a cage on the ship's deck and that was hoisted into a cargo lighter.    They were then hoisted off again at the shore.    Putting a boat down at sea was not exactly safe at the best of times.   The heavy steel blocks were difficult to handle and in the slightest swell they would jerk back and forward in a very dangerous manner.     I did go down in Nr 11 boat from the WINDSOR CASTLE in 1972 when we went across to the tanker DAGMAR MAERSK to take off an injured seaman.    Whilst we waited alongside the tanker for him to be brought down, I noticed the swell read from the tankers draught marks down the side was in excess of ten feet.    We had a hard time hooking back on to the WINDSOR CASTLE and that was on what appeared to be a calm tropical night.    Happy ending, seaman recovered before we reached Southampton.
Bob
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farrow

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Re: Life boat drill
« Reply #16 on: November 20, 2009, 07:17:17 PM »

Some one has misunderstood me, I never meant lower the boat at sea underway, as someone said it is too dangerous. But boats are lowered at sea for genuine emergency's weather permitting. Boats are lowered regularly in harbour though to comply with Port State Authority requirements, the drop over the stern on class7 vessels where once every 6 months. But lifeboat drills are held regularly where everyone musters to there respective station, booted and spurred to embark. The boat may on occasion then be lowered to deck level only for everyones training benefit, depending on the individual masters
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Bryan Young

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Re: Life boat drill
« Reply #17 on: November 21, 2009, 03:19:01 PM »

Anyone who read my blurb about my C&W time in c/s "Mercury" may recall the time when our mad Captain stopped the ship in the middle of the Pacific and called a full "abandon ship" about an hour before dawn. Then drove the ship away leaving about 130 of us drifting around before setting off for some island or other a few hundred miles away. He (the mad one) circled the ship below our horizon and came up astern of us. Quite a night....but what a lovely and peaceful dawn it was! But more of that in the original blurb. BY
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lifeboatpaul

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Re: Life boat drill
« Reply #18 on: November 25, 2009, 10:41:35 AM »

I went on a Royal Caribbean cruise with my wife and while we were in one of our ports of call the crew lowered a number of lifeboats and proceeded to drive them around the harbour. They were all raised and stowed by the time we got back on board.
My wife and I have just come back from a cruise with royal Caribbean and witnesses the same when we docked at Madeira , I was quiet impressed with this ! , It reminded me of a American war film I think staring John Wayne ,where he was a loadmaster on a landing craft ship in the pacific and the landing craft crews were not good at lowering and retrieving the craft so he made the practice it all day and set up patterns in the water a bit like a aircraft holding stack .
Paul.
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ajb68

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Re: Life boat drill
« Reply #19 on: November 25, 2009, 01:16:59 PM »

Just a point what is the point of a drill on a lifeboat ? i would rather have an outboard  {-) {-) {-)
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funtimefrankie

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Re: Life boat drill
« Reply #20 on: November 25, 2009, 01:33:48 PM »

Just a point what is the point of a drill on a lifeboat ? i would rather have an outboard  {-) {-) {-)

It's to make holes in the bottom to let any water out of the bilges >>:-(
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Admhawk

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Re: Life boat drill
« Reply #21 on: November 29, 2009, 12:11:38 AM »

Just to add my own recent Caribbean experience. Sailed out of Miami on Carnival, had a life station drill as we left port, all crew and passengers reported to the proper life boat station, were counted and dismissed. Did not enter the boats. No boats left the ship for the duration of the 7 day cruise.

While in port at Nassau, a Disney ship beside us, lowered 3 life boats and drove them around. I wouldn't class it as a drill, they only had 2-3 crew each and no alarms. They just motored about making sure the boats worked, then hauled them up within a few hours.

This corresponds with the legal reqmnts stated by Old dodes.
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Bryan Young

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Re: Life boat drill
« Reply #22 on: November 29, 2009, 05:38:54 PM »

Notwithstanding anything that has been said earlier....a lifeboat needs to have its full complement of "passengers" in it to enable the boat to work properly. A boat that can carry 120 people needs that weight just to get the prop working with some efficiency. We tried (in harbour) stuffing 120 troops wearing lifejackets into one of our large lifeboats. Chaos!. Even the troops moaned about the lack of space. They were 3 layers deep in the boat, so the ones at the bottom had not just lack of space but had to cope with the 2 layers of people above them. It wasn't very nice....but it is a lifeboat, and not part of a cruise. The fully laden boat itself was excellent now it was "down to its marks". BY.
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Bunkerbarge

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Re: Life boat drill
« Reply #23 on: November 29, 2009, 11:52:19 PM »

Just to add my own recent Caribbean experience. Sailed out of Miami on Carnival, had a life station drill as we left port, all crew and passengers reported to the proper life boat station, were counted and dismissed. Did not enter the boats. No boats left the ship for the duration of the 7 day cruise.

While in port at Nassau, a Disney ship beside us, lowered 3 life boats and drove them around. I wouldn't class it as a drill, they only had 2-3 crew each and no alarms. They just motored about making sure the boats worked, then hauled them up within a few hours.

This corresponds with the legal reqmnts stated by Old dodes.

I happen to know that the Disney ship you refer to lowers one full side of it's boats every other week so all boats are tested in the water once a month.  If you saw three boats in the water then this would have been on the other weeks visit in Nassau and the boats would have been in the water to either provide additional training for the boat crew or lowering crew or to test the boats after maintenance has been carried out.
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Admhawk

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Re: Life boat drill
« Reply #24 on: November 30, 2009, 10:46:01 PM »

Here are some pics. :-)



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