Please note: You are viewing the unstyled version of this website. Either your browser does not support CSS (cascading style sheets) or it has been disabled. Skip navigation.

Dispatch 3: Safety First!

   Print Change text to small (default) Change text to medium Change text to large

Gerty Ward

July 19, 2008

The first thing you learn when you get on a ship is how to get off. Today we went through several safety drills. We had a Ship Familiarization Session led by 3rd Officer Marian Punch. She instructed us on general ship safety and etiquette, and how to use the very important flotation suit.

Flotation Suit Flotation Suit Mit

3rd Officer Marian Punch demonstrates how to correctly put on the flotation suit.

Kenny Scozzafava seals up the mit on the flotation suit. Knowing how to properly seal the openings to prevent water from coming in is critical!

While it may feel awkward and funny now, understanding its features, practicing putting it on and sealing up all the exits will greatly increase your chances of survival. Shortly afterwards we had fire and abandon ship drills. We donned our life jackets and warm clothes. We checked each other's equipment to ensure all is in order.

Roll Call
Checking lights

DFO scientist Edmand Fok listens to the Third Officer call roll for the fire drill. In the background is the MB105 helicopter.

PolarTREC teacher Gerty Ward checks the water-activated light on Alice Orlich's life vest. Note that we are dressed for the extreme cold, even in a drill. Photo by Kelly Young.

We then mustered at our assigned life boats. Chief Officer Stan Nunn called roll and ensures that we are all familiar with the life boats.   Each has food, water, a med kit and a GPS beacon.   While chances are very slim that these procedures will be ever be needed, familiarity and practice ensure that we will all be safe under any circumstances.

Port lifeboat roll call Lifeboat

Chief Officer Nunn calls roll at the port life boat during our abandon ship drill.

We checked out the inside of the life boat, while Chief Officer Nunn explained its features.

Because I will be joining work on the ice, I also went to a Helicopter Briefing Session led by Chris Swannell. He made sure we understood how to get safely in, and out of, the helicopter. Of course, it is a very cool machine. Check yesterday's journal for a video of my fly-in to the Louis.

New Words-
Muster: to go to, to gather.
Pipe: to call over the loud-speaker. Because the Louis operates 24 hours a day, there are, at any time, many people sleeping. So the scientists and crew try to limit pipes and none are permitted after 21:00.

All photos by PolarTREC teacher Gerty Ward unless indicated.

Last updated: October 7, 2019

whoi logo

Copyright ©2007 Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, All Rights Reserved, Privacy Policy.
Problems or questions about the site, please contact