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Old 02-13-2012, 05:36 AM   #1
AaronK
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Hi Ned.

I do have a few comments about your latest article requiring muster drills. I fully agree that everyone should properly demonstrate how to put on a life jacket. However, it is my understanding that it was done away with due to the fact that people couldn't figure out how to fold them back up for safe transit back to their cabins. I guess there were more injuries from people tripping on straps that they decided not to have people bring them.

I am also in favor of the cruise lines not selling alcohol until after muster.
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Old 02-13-2012, 09:03 AM   #2
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Hi Aaron. You bring up interesting issues.

I believe we took our first cruise in 1992, and we've been taking about 1 cruise per year. We've been on different cruise lines, and different ships of the cruise lines we've used.

None of the life vests get folded to be stowed away.

The life vests on ships are not like the life vests on airplanes which have to be inflated (Some members of the crew use inflatable life vests at times, such as when running the life boats when they are used as tenders, so they are more comfortable to wear all day long.). The life vests on ships are fitted with solid buoyant materials and they donít need to inflate.



They do have straps that hang from them when you carry them loose, and the straps can hang low enough that they can drag on the floor when walking. While someone could trip while carrying them, that's not been my personal experience, but I'm sure someone or a group of someones have been tripped and fallen over the years.

I have been hit in the head by life vest straps from people going to muster stations and putting on their vests just before arriving at the muster station. I've also been hit in the head by life vests themselves as people swing them around to put them on in the hall ways going to the muster stations.

In speaking to some ship's crews in the last year, I was told passenger complains led to eliminating wearing the life vest at the muster drill. There were complains about getting hit in the head, as has happened to me, and complaints about the straps hanging on the floor where people could trip, and as I've said above, while I haven't seen it, I'm sure someone has been tripped over the years.

The major complaint though, has been that people hated to wear them for as much as a half hour, sometimes longer, first during the crew check that the life vests were put on properly (They are so simple to strap on its amazing that anyone could do it wrong but they do. I've seen people actually tie the straps because they couldn't figure out how to tighten them. It's unreal.), and then when you walk to the life boats and stand there, sometimes in the hot sun sweating (They can be very hot when worn in warm weather in the sun.) while the crew finishes what they need to do during the drill.

From what I gather, the cruise lines wanted to eliminate this source of complaint. They didn't want passengers getting into a grumpy mood after coming aboard happy. Many passengers consider the muster drill a "major" imposition or infringement on their cruise, that they "paid good money for" as one man put it to me. I was on one cruise that the crew had to almost literally drag a passenger to the muster station. Some people purposefully ignore the ship's klaxon, as long as possible, because they feel they don't need to and absolutely don't want to participate in the muster drill. I'm sure the captain could throw them off the ship for being a drill hold out until summoned from their cabins, but I've not seen that happen.

As to the cruise lines not selling alcohol until after the muster drill, that's not going to happen, even now that the drill will take place before the ship leaves its port of embarkation.

It takes several hours to get all the passengers aboard the ship, as well as their luggage. While passengers generally take their own carry-on into the ship, suitcases, garment bags, etc. are brought aboard separately, loaded into the ship by the crew, then brought to the staterooms. On all my cruises, this process took place during lunch, or while a major buffet of sumptuous food was offered. The cruise ships are going to have unbelievable numbers of complains if they refuse to serve alcohol during this time. On many cruises I've been on they've had servers walking in the public areas of the ship offering wine, mimosas, etc. to passengers as they boarded and explore the ship.

My wife and I always bring bathing suits, etc. with us in our carry-on, so we have them, even if our luggage isn't yet in our stateroom. After boarding our ship, if it's lunch we sit down to an enjoy a leisurely lunch, then go to the cabin. If our luggage is there, we'll unpack, otherwise we'll go to the pool and/or hot tub if open (Sometimes they are and sometimes not at that point.). If it's later in the afternoon, we'll usually enjoy some of the buffet, then follow the same after lunch procedure. We always take note of what time the muster drill will be held, so we are dry, dressed, and ready for it. During that time, most people will have a couple of drinks.

While I'm sure it's happened, I've never seen anyone drunk at the muster drill. That's happens later that night .

Personally, I don't think it's necessary to have no alcohol service on the ship prior to the muster drill.

Thanks for reading my columns.
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Old 02-13-2012, 09:42 AM   #3
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Ned, I have seen people coming to muster with their DoDs, their beer buckets, etc. Like I said, I know its never going to happen, but if the crew want to show that muster is that important, perhaps not selling alcohol would be the way to prove it.
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Old 02-13-2012, 10:31 AM   #4
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Aaron, I think your suggestion is a good one, but as you also stated, it ain't gonna happen. We were two sheets to the wind on our very first cruise during the muster drill. I missed my name being called and couldn't have told you were I was to go in case of an emergency. Sad, but true and while it never happened again, I have seen others since and age doesn't matter.

After 9/11 I have noticed more people paying attention to the safety talk on planes. Perhaps a few more people will pay attention to the muster drills due to this recent incident.
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Old 02-13-2012, 11:45 AM   #5
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I'm sure you're right, but I haven't seen that.

I've written about drunkenness on board ships in the past. Being drunk on board a ship is a dangerous proposition, at any time, which in my opinion should be curtailed by the crew. It's not like getting drunk on land where you could be seen and treated. Go over a railing aboard a ship and you'll likely never be heard of again, even if you survive the fall.

I believe that IMO should be requiring the same kind of DRAM laws as most states in the US have in their regulations and requirements for cruise ships, which include civil and criminal liability for what happens to and by patrons, they have served alcoholic beverages, while they are under the influence of the alcohol. I think that would have a definite effect.

Both you and B have talked about this same problem. To me that means even more that the muster drill must have passengers putting their life vests on during the drill to make sure they know how to do it.

You know another problem that's far, far more serious than coming to the muster drill high, is if they are come to their muster station drunk in a real emergency where the ship must be abandoned.

Merely not permitting people to drink prior to the muster drill isn't going to help that, and that's when people could really die.

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Originally Posted by AaronK View Post
Ned, I have seen people coming to muster with their DoDs, their beer buckets, etc. Like I said, I know its never going to happen, but if the crew want to show that muster is that important, perhaps not selling alcohol would be the way to prove it.
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