Monday, January 28, 2008


The decision to abandon ship is usually hard to do. Here is a list and some things to keep in mind.

Put on all available waterproof clothing, including gloves, headgear, and life jacket.

Collect survival kit.

Note present position.

Send out MAYDAY message.

Launch life raft attached to ship.

Launch dinghy attached to life raft.

Try to enter life raft directly from the boat (if impossible, use minimal swimming effort to get on board).

Don't forget the EPIRB (emergency position indicator radio beacon).

Get a safe distance from the sinking vessel.

Collect all available flotsam. The most unlikely articles can be adapted for use under survival conditions.

Keep warm by huddling bodies together.

Keep dry, especially your feet.

Stream a sea anchor.

Arrange lookout watches.

Use flares only on skipper's orders when there is a real chance of them being seen.

Arrange for collecting rainwater. Ration water to maximum one-half quart per person per day, issued in small increments.

Do not drink seawater. If water is in short supply, eat only sweets from survival rations.
Emergency Communications

There are many ways to communicate your distress and seek help.

Use your VHF or single-sideband radio and follow the procedures for distress.

There are three levels of priority communications: distress, urgent, and safety, identified by MAYDAY, PAN-PAN, and SECURITE.

Panicked radio communications can confuse a rescue effort. Learn the proper procedures. Try to stay calm.

Use the distress signals found in the Navigation Rules. Flares are fast and effective, red for distress. Also it is nice to have a GRAB BAG anything you may want to take with you, safety gear, extra food, water etc.