Frequency of Drills/Training


Just curious how often you conduct drills and training on the vessel you’re on. Does it vary by type of vessel?

On all of my cruise ships you had a mandatory passenger drill, 1-2 crew drills (sometimes back to back fire/man overboard/abandon ship), and often other training-each week.


In my experience it really varies by the type of ship on the tugs in Valdez we never had a drill. When I was taking work out of the MM&P hall the ships typically had one drill per trip and those were typically just show up and make sure your turnout gear fits drill. For MSC we drill every week and they drill really seriously going through difficult scenarios a real pain in the a**.


Most ships try for a fire&boat drill every Sunday but they are occasionally canceled due to ops or bad wx.

Here’s what the CFR’s say about them:

[B]§ 122.520 Abandon ship and man overboard drills and training.[/B]

(a) The master shall conduct sufficient drills and give sufficient instructions to make sure that all crew members are familiar with their duties during emergencies that necessitate abandoning ship or the recovery of persons who have fallen overboard.
(b) An abandon ship drill must be conducted as follows:
(1) Each member of the crew shall participate in at least one abandon ship drill each month; and
(2) If more than 25% of the crew have not participated in an abandon ship drill on board that particular vessel or sister vessel in the previous month, a drill must be conducted before the vessel gets underway with passengers aboard.


That’s cause you got Tony as the mate.


On all the boats I’ve ever sailed on in the gulf we would rotate fire, MOB, and abandon ship every week. When doing yearly inspections the CG wants to see one of each done every month at minimum. I have been know to do all three in a row when I feel that it’s been paper whipped in the past.

Also the bigger oil companies will want to see the last time you had one of the drills, just went through this with BP.

Also I know with the larger boat companies have there own on board training thats part of the ISM that you do every week. Stuff like lock out tag out, proper rigging, slip trips and falls. That type of thing.


ah if it were only that simple the coolest mates in MSC train the exact same way


Going to resurrect this thread, with a continuation question.

Would you rather have good quality drills were you learn something, or just go through the steps in pure show?

There are a lot of topics that are required to be covered monthly, quarterly, and annually that don’t leave much time for “bread and butter” fire drills. Just a fact of the job that we are “all hazard” responders. We are the cops, fire, EMS, Hazmat, etc for the ships (plus have worries that donut munchers never dreamed of… like sinking.)

As I’m writing this, I’m thinking about all those other drills. How many times do we do the same thing or hear the same instruction every quarter. What about doing things differently? What about trying to put on your survival suit blindfolded (power’s out and its night-pretty plausible situation) as an example.

Basicly, do you like your drills plain vanilla or do you like some flavor? or do you like to go all out and get the cherry and sprinkles on top?


Since I am in charge of most of the drills on my ship, I always try to mix them up. I usually get a lot of flak from Engineering and the Steward’s department for the length of my drills.

I find that the Captain’s influence the regularity of the drills more than the CFR’s. I have had captains that I need to really push to schedule even a monthly drill, and others who want them every week.

Frankly, monthly boat drills are not enough as they all forget their jobs in a month and it’s a real disaster. I prefer weekly boat drills at least as SOLAS requires weekly “remove boat from stow” anyhow, and why not get everyone involved?

I also like having say a fire drill of some depth and complexity and then a boat drill another day, so there is no feeling of being rushed. Security drills are also something I like to do seperately.

Since I am on a MSC Pre-po ship, I have lots of time to do these things. I would probably do things much differently if I was on a feeder ship or coastal tanker hitting ports every day or two.