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Shipboard Drills: 2012 [paper]
Conducting drills at regular intervals is the best way to prepare your crew to deal with likely emergency situations that may arise onboard. When planning a drill, it is better to have a meaningful one where the crew use the life saving and fire fighting systems on board, as this will build confidence that the systems will work effectively in an emergency.
This book is a practical and up to date guide to undertaking and managing drills onboard.
It is the responsibility of each crew member to know where their emergency station is and what their responsibilities are for each drill or emergency. Nobody should be excused from drills unless their attention is required elsewhere for operational or safety reasons, and then only with permission from the Master.
It stands to reason that conducting frequent drills provides the crew with the opportunity to gain experience and confidence in the safety equipment in addition to developing as a team. Where possible, you should use any available time in port or while awaiting orders to conduct drills so that the ship’s business is not delayed.
Frequent crew changes can make it difficult to ensure that all the crew have taken part in drills. It is therefore important that drill scheduling is properly implemented and adhered to.
In order for drills to have the best benefit, it is important that these skills are exercised regularly. This is why there is a mandate for both statutory and non statutory drills, therefore, where possible drills should be held each week to either meet or exceed the requirements of the Flag State and other guidelines.
Each drill should be planned to ensure that, on a rotating basis, all safety equipment is used and training is given in its use. They should never be regarded as an obligatory task that is merely carried out to meet regulatory requirements. Whether they are emergency drills required by SOLAS or additional drills designed to improve crew competence, they should be carried out with the same amount of diligence and seriousness. They should not be rushed; regular practice will improve the efficiency in performing the tasks. Remember, a drill can be paused, so that any difficult elements can be explained. The crew’s experience is important in determining how quickly a drill or certain elements of a drill can be carried out.
SOLAS requires drills to be conducted, where possible, as if it were an actual emergency. It is important that drills are carried out in a safe manner, and therefore, any elements that may involve unnecessary risk will require special attention or should be removed from the drill.