What to Wear When You’re Sinking

Put these on now!

On every cruise ship, before you leave port there is a Life Boat drill. The announcement is made to go to muster stations; the ship’s whistle blows the proper cadence, seven short blasts and one long blast. Along with the loud horn there is an ear splitting electronic screech over all the inside speakers. Yes, those in your cabins too. I think there is money to be made by putting a short advertising message at the end of the high pitched squeal, like, “Today’s emergency warning courtesy of Widex hearing aids.”

At that point you go to your cabin, grab a life jacket and start for the muster station marked by map on your door. Larger ships for the most part have you gather in the theater, or large bar area. Personally, I like to muster at the bar. If I’m going, I’m going happy.

Here’s the dim-witted at work. You are told to put your life jackets on in your stateroom. There are directions on the inside of the cabin door. This is pretty easy stuff. From there to muster……where, duh, they show you how to put your life jacket on.

Muster station hint: if your muster station is a large gathering place, be the last to leave when asked to follow the guide to your lifeboat station. You’ll be the last to arrive at your life boat, and therefore be in the front row where there is air. Just for fun, look around and see if you really want to spend time in a small closed boat with these people.

Royal Caribbean’s new Oasis is changing this a bit. You will no longer have life jackets in your cabin, but stored at your muster station.

This saves almost nothing except a few more people can be contiguous coming down the stairs. I was on Royal Viking Sun when we hit a reef in the Gulf of Aqaba. I grabbed my life jacket and had it on before the emergency whistle blew. Stepping on the balcony, it was obvious we were listing 10 degrees or more and still going over.

Getting to my life boat station I found passengers without jackets wandering around having no idea where to go. Our assigned lifeboat would not lower to the deck; watertight doors on a lower deck were closed as that deck flooded. For all I knew we might have had to jump into the ocean.

Thanks for the thought Oasis, but I want that “bulky’ lifesaver in my room, easily within reach in case I leave the water running.



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