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Know Your Vessel
Posted: Wednesday, July 6, 2011 6:50 PM
Joined: 02/05/2008
Posts: 392

Safety First is a new bi-monthly forum on written by maritime safety experts offering captains and crew safety tips, drill suggestions and strategies for handling real-life onboard safety scenarios.


Firefighters always identify different ways to exit a structure so if a fire occurs and panic ensues, all are aware of safe, alternate means of escape. The same should be true for those living and working on a yacht.


Know your vessel like the back of your hand. This way, if a fire starts in the middle of the night, you can get to safety, assist others to safety, and safely mitigate the situation.


If you’re, say, the engineer, you not only need to know the engine room, but also the galley, the crew quarters, the staterooms, etc. Being aware of all spaces on the vessel, regardless of if you usually work in them or not is key. Know more than the obvious — where you work, sleep and eat — and get to know more than one way out of all spaces.


Captains must make sure everyone knows where the firefighting lockers are, what equipment is in the lockers and how to use it. Know where extinguishers are kept, the proper way to release them and how to use them. This sounds simple, but on many vessels equipment is hidden for aesthetics. During an emergency, when stress levels are elevated, life saving equipment may not be easy to find.


Review the vessel’s fire plans as often as possible. Be sure all crew know how to use the vessel’s construction features to contain the fire, such as closing doors and other openings in the area of the fire to help contain it. Use the fire plan to locate hidden areas on the vessel such as stairwells. Be sure everyone knows how much open space is between the stairs and the structural bulkhead behind it. Knowing the difference between structural bulkheads and decorative bulkheads is important. If you need to boundary cool a bulkhead, be sure it’s structural, as spraying water on the decorative bulkhead will not work.


Knowing the essentials before a real emergency arises is paramount.  In an emergency, when rapid and effective action is required, taking time to try to learn or recall the appropriate action never ends well.  


By Tom Jones, Resolve Maritime AcademyTom Jones is an instructor at Resolve Maritime Academy, 1510 S.E. 17 St., Suite 400, Ft. Lauderdale, Fl. 33316, Tel: 877-975-3473, info@,

Minimise Fire Risks
Posted: Sunday, July 1, 2012 2:33 PM
Joined: 30/06/2012
Posts: 35

Contact me... I would love to further discuss this topic. David Hill