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5 Things to Know about Yacht Safety Drills

Posted October 30 2014


MHG58At MHG Insurance Brokers, we make sure that our yacht crew clients are insured in the event of a medical issue or an accident, but we also take an interest in the everyday health and safety of our clients. Today we would like to provide a round up of information from our friends and partners that are experts on Yacht Safety Drills. If you have a story or comment about onboard safety drills, including ways to make a drill fun or memorable, please leave us a comment or join the discussion on our Facebook page. 

 

1. Make drills fun. 

A common discussion in yacht captain forums is how to run safety drills. As one commenter in YachtForums.com mentions, anything that breaks up the monotony of daily tasks is usually a welcome break, but making a safety drill fun and competitive will not only help get crew involved, but also makes it easier to recall the procedure under times of stress, when you really need it.

We have an annual contest to see who can get into their survival suit the fastest- you'd be surprised how fast those times are when there is an iPod or $100 (plus bragging rights) on the line for the winner.
To read this discussion in full, click here 

2. Spread the knowledge. 

Our second point is a reminder that all crew need strong safety skills, even those skills that may not usually fall under their responsibilities, and it comes from Dockwalk's article on Safety Drills.

Know your stuff. Throughout your yachting career you will receive varying levels of safety training from sea survival to first aid, but keeping these skills fresh could prove to be invaluable in an emergency. “Recently, I was running a drill during which the crew role play. [In this drill,] a lot of the crew had been seriously injured, including the boats medical officer,” says Capt. Nick. “Our allocated deputy [medical officer] had to step up to the mark. I asked her to talk me through the CPR procedure. It was fairly obvious that she had forgotten much of the basics and I realized that refresher courses should be part of our training schedule.”
To read this article in full on Dockwalk's webpage, click here. 

3. Consider the learning styles of your crew when going through drills. 

There are three types of learners: visual, auditory and kinesthetic. In other words, we all commit things to memory using sight, sound, or touch. In order to help all crew remember procedures, consider testing them in using each of these ways. For example, demonstrations will help visual learners, asking crew to repeat information will help an auditory learners and hands-on practice will aid kinesthetic learners. For more on learning styles, click here.  

4. Consider security drills as well as safety drills.

According to a recent article in The Triton by megayacht stew Alene Keenan, safety is just one important drill that should be considered part of crew responsibilities.

The importance of security training is finally being recognized and is now mandatory for all crew on ISPS-compliant yachts. Many young crew think the STCW code consists simply of the four modules of Basic Safety training required to get our first yacht job. Perhaps we don’t think about the relevance of security awareness training unless security issues touch us individually. For me, the relevance of this came about as a direct result of the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center on Sept. 11, 2001. I was the new chief stew on a yacht based at Chelsea Piers on 23rd street. We saw it all happen. We were not able to move the vessel because our engines were disabled and so we ended up volunteering. Security drills are mandatory and best practices have been formulated to mitigate risks of a security breach. Ship security plans detail the procedures to follow in the event of an incident. But on that morning, we did not know what to do or what to expect.
To read Alene's article in full, click here. 

5. Take responsibility for yourself. 

Regulations and drills are one thing, but when it comes down to it, safety is everyone's responsibility. If you are a chef onboard and cannot tie a knot, you may come to regret not taking the time to learn basic seamen skills. No matter what position you are in, ask questions, grasp as much familiarity with the boat and the tasks that each mate manages, and consider the additional learning not only a resume builder, but a potential lifesaver.