Many different people may come and spend time on board a vessel either when it is moored or at anchor or in dry dock or during a sea passage. Making sure a visitor is safe while on board is essential.
s soon as they arrive, the visitor should attend a safety briefing, carried out by a responsible member of the crew.
Other factors should also be taken into account during the briefing including:
- The age and physical capability of the visitor
- The visitor’s prior experience of attending a vessel
- The purpose and scope of the visit
- The activities which may be undertaken by the visitor while on board
- The activities of other people on board during the visit
- The operations the vessel will perform during the visit
- The duration of the visit
Besides the measures taken by the ship crew members regarding the safe embarkation and disembarkation, the visitor should also be mindful and respectful of the guidelines as outlined in the safety briefing. More specifically, the visitor should:
- Wear suitable clothing and footwear
- Be provided with PPE as appropriate while instructions should be given regarding correct use
- Stay out of the prohibited areas, as discussed
- Understand the emergency signals as explained together with action to be taken if heard
- Remember the muster station(s) assigned
- Be aware of the location of lifejackets and donning instructions
- Be informed who to contact on board in the event of injury, illness or safety concerns
- Be careful of the hazards onboard (eg mooring lines, slippery decks, enclosed spaces)
- Adhere to drug, alcohol, smoking, garbage disposal and mobile phone policies, as explained by the crew members
Tips for embarking and disembarking
- Take note of conditions: Consider elements like icy and slippery decks and/or ladders, poor weather, darkness, wind, tides and currents.
- Wear a PFD! Being prepared with proper class and fit of personal flotation device is the first line of defense in the event of an accident.
- Make sure the gangways or ladders used to board are properly secured. If applicable, check that safety nets are in place and properly angled and that if you’re boarding during nighttime, the gangway is adequately illuminated.
- You are not alone: Remember a ship’s crew member should always be present during embarkation and disembarkation.
- Boarding is not a good time to carry anything, so keep your hands free at all times so you can hang on the rails while on the gangway.
- Do not try to jump on board, as you may slip or fall.