Safety aboard your vessel

Dear Mariners,

For my scripture in my naval acadamy i have been assigned is daily safety issues and how they are dealt with. So with my limited knowledge I am hoping some more seasoned officers can share some stories on how safety issues were handled aboard your vessel! anything regarding drills, logbooks, video instructions. Anything is welcome!

Best regards, Dutch maritime shipping college

Welcome to the forum ThijsdeJ! You might get a couple of informative replies but I have to tell you that many seasoned officers would rather discuss root canals, passing kidney stones or jock itch compared to all the lawyerish boring safety crap that is shoved down our throats. When someone does like to discuss safety stuff they are usually so obsessive about it & talk so much that you’ll wish you never asked. Good luck.

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SAFETY4SEA is good, run by Captain Parani author of the book Golden Stripes. Suggest you spend some time looking at his site.

One thing that often gets missed in dealing with safety aboard ship is the usefulness of tracking shipboard accidents and their causes, and basing safety programs on the history. Time can be wasted talking about accidents which could occur, but which are unlikely to occur.

For example, in our operation we use yard-and-stay cargo gear to move cargo. People unfamiliar with the operation see rapid speed of the gear, watch the gyrations it goes through when the ship is doing cargo transfers anchored in rough seas, and come to the conclusion that we must kill or maim a person every year. When in fact, it is vanishingly rare for anyone to get injured by the gear. Therefore, we don’t spend a lot of time talking about it.

When we track the injuries aboard our ships we find the leading cause of injuries is simply slipping on a deck. So we spend far more time trying to prevent people slipping from oil on deck, or ice, then we do preventing people from being crushed by the cargo gear. The former happens a couple of times a year. The latter has never happened in 35 years.

You can only target your safety program on reality by tracking accidents and their causes. We spend very little time talking about mooring line accidents, because no major accidents of the kind has ever happened here. But the second biggest cause of accidents here is falling down ladders and stairs. When you break down this cause even more, you find that sailors are more likely to fall down internal stairs in a berthing area than they are a rickety portable ladder in a cargo hold.

In the latter case, the person understands the danger involved and pays attention. But sailors blithely go up and own stairs at home all the time, without a thought to the danger. So they do the same aboard ship. A bad ship-roll and they fall. Hence they are more likely to get hurt on interior stairs at sea, than using a sketchy portable ladder. Therefore, our safety talks make a point about this particular hazard, which would not come to light unless someone is tracking injuries and their causes, and we all but ignore mooring line safety talks.

Again, the knowledge comes from carefully tracking accidents and their causes aboard your own vessel(s) over years, rather than resorting to general information or common wisdom.


We call “yard and stay gear” “ Union Purchase” and you are correct in saying it is safer when working cargo in an exposed roads like transferring seafood from a trawler to a reefer ship.

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As you stated Sand Pebble. I concur.

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The question in the OP is too broad. It’s like asking how are ships navigated or similar.

If that is a true story that captain (not using term Master on purpose) is an idiot.