Why do we do a muster drill onboard?

Safety onboard our vessels for our crew and guests is paramount to us at Master Liveaboards. On any Master Liveaboards cruise you join, you will be asked to do a muster drill at the start of your trip. While this may be seen as a hilarious photo opportunity, it’s begs a question. Why do we do a muster drill onboard? Let’s explore the what, why, and how!

What is a muster drill?

The emergency muster station call is the general call to emergency aboard any vessel. It is the first action that will be taken in the event of any emergency on board. At a simple level, the muster ensures that everyone is in the same place and can be accounted for.

In case of an emergency, it helps to be familiar with the escape routes and procedures. In our drills you will typically practice how to evacuate, with several of the routes explained. You will also learn how to don your lifejacket properly. A muster drill prepares everyone onboard for what to do in the event of a real life emergency.

Muster drill aboard Galapagos Master
Muster drill onboard Galapagos Master – May 2021. Photo: Otmar Schmitz

Why do we do a muster drill onboard?

While not all of our vessels are subject to the International Convention for the Safety of Life At Sea (SOLAS Convention), we strive to meet these requirements across our fleet. But what is the SOLAS convention?

SOLAS a maritime treaty which outlines the minimum safety standards in construction, equipment, and operations of merchant ships. It was first developed in 1914 after the tragic sinking of the RMS Titanic and was completely re-written in 1974. As of 2018, the convention has 164 signatory states. 

One requirement from the SOLAS convention is to conduct a passenger muster drill within 24 hours of departure. The aim is to be able to get all passengers into lifeboats and away from the ship within 30 minutes. This familiarisation exercise helps ensure this limit can be maintained and that all our guests and crew are familiar with the vessel. In an event of an emergency, you do not want to suddenly wonder where your life jacket is!

Emergency evacuation plan for Bahamas Master
Emergency evacuation plan for Bahamas Master

How do we do it?

As part of your welcome briefing you receive a full explanation of how the drill will go and roughly when it will take place. The timing of the dill is key as we do not want anyone to panic when the alarm goes off.

The Captain or a ranking officer will sound the alarm at the agreed time. Following this, all Crew Members will take their positions as stated in the station bill. All remaining crew members, along with customers, will don life jackets and move to the muster station. Lastly a head count will be taken to ensure everyone is present. In a real situation, everyone would now be ready to evacuate as per the planned evacuation route/s.

We take your safety seriously and strive to meet the highest standards. The muster drill is one of many other drills we conduct onboard. As such, you can book with peace of mind on any Master Liveaboards vessel!

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