Saving lives - Emergency role
Today I would like to show you how to prepare your crew for the trip. There are so many stumbling blocks to consider. In an emergency, it's a matter of life and death.
The safety briefing should not be unwound like a checklist but should be presented to the crew clearly and interestingly. Do not forget to document the safety briefing in the logbook. A part of the briefing is the emergency role. Very important and yet often not considered as so by skippers.
The emergency roles define specifically which task is assigned to which person in an emergency. The role, as well as the individual steps, are explained by the skipper before the first departure, written down by the crew and placed visibly in the ship. Following, various emergencies are discussed: Fire on board, water ingress, person overboard.
Generally in an emergency
In case of any danger to people, a MAYDAY must be dropped off immediately (according to the skipper's instructions). You go to the radio and press the red button for three seconds until it beeps. You can then repeat the emergency call on channel 16.
Remember that it is safer on the boat in an emergency than in the open sea. If you still have to leave the boat, eject the life raft and take the life-saving equipment and drinking water with you.
Whenever you perform any action in an emergency, it is important to stay calm, give loud feedback, and think about your next task.
The most dangerous thing on board is fire. Sounds strange, surrounded by water it seems to be able to control a fire easily.
A fire onboard can be caused by the engine starting to burn, for example. If this is the case, the fuel line should be disconnected immediately. This can usually be done in one of the aft cabins. In the companionway, you will find an opening, which is intended for the fire extinguisher. The fire extinguishers are usually located near the engine, near the galley and in the bow.
A fire can also occur during cooking. You forget to turn off the gas or oil will start burning. There is a fire blanket for this purpose directly near the gas stove. You throw it over the fire so that the oxygen is extracted from the fire. To prevent this from happening, always empty the gas pipe after cooking, the gas tap can remain open.
Equally critical is water ingress into the ship. For small leaks, the bailer may be sufficient. But it is important to find the leak and to plug it as soon as possible. Listen carefully from time to time when you are below deck. If the electric bilge pump is running, this could be a sign of water ingress. There is also a manual bilge pump available to pump out the water.
The most common cause of water ingress is that sea valves have not been closed. Therefore the entire crew must be aware that there are openings in the ship which need to be closed.
Person overboard (former man overboard)
It can happen faster than you think. A person does not pay attention, is not secured with a life belt, or is simply careless when heeling heavily and falls overboard. Here, very fast action is required. This is defined with the emergency roll Person overboard. The most important thing is not to let the person out of sight and to press the MOB button to secure the position. If it is not the skipper who went overboard, he will perform a rescue maneuver (Q-turn, Hamburg maneuver, quick stop).
No fear! These are only roles that are set for the case of an emergency. Sailing is also no more dangerous than driving a car. Nevertheless, I ask you to take the emergency roll seriously so that you know what to do.