"" Writer's Wanderings: Can You Pass Muster?

Tuesday, August 27, 2019

Can You Pass Muster?

Recent reports from a team of researchers that went down to the wreck of the Titanic show that it is deteriorating more rapidly than first thought. Bacteria in the water is actually eating away the metal and the projection is that in around 25 years it will be reduced to sandy "dust". While our fascination with the whole story of the Titanic is at times romantic or shockingly disastrous, it is often overlooked that many of the rules we have for voyages at sea come from the experience of that ship's sinking.

One of the things we don't necessarily think about when we are required to report to muster stations for a drill at the beginning of any cruise is that this is a result of the Titanic disaster. After all who wants to think about a ship sinking when we're about to spend a week or more on one. We all know the story about not enough life boats. The requirement for sufficient lifeboats for passengers and crew is now set.

Also set is the requirement of the muster or lifeboat drill within 24 hours of the beginning of a cruise.The usual procedure is to warn passengers after all have embarked that there will be a drill. We all tend to groan about it especially if we have cruised numerous times. And who wants to don a bulky lifejacket and stand on the deck outside for fifteen minutes or more while roll call is taken? You do. Why? Because if you don't, you won't be allowed to sail and more importantly because you need to know if there are any procedures that you may not have realized are changed since the last time you cruised.

Every ship is different and every crew conducts the drill just a little bit differently. Most of them have it down to a quick and orderly procedure. What slows it down? Those guests who decide they don't need to report or report late or create havoc because they know it all and have done it all before. To those I say, "Great! Then you are prepared to help the ones who haven't done it countless times before and in an emergency (while rare, they do happen) you can help others." In a perfect world that would happen.

My question to you if you are set to cruise: Will you pass muster? Will you measure up to the standard required of you when it's time to drill and practice donning those lifejackets? I'm sure the passengers on the Titanic would have liked the opportunity that is afforded us today because of their experience.

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