When abaord a ship, there is always the threat of faling overboard so ship carry alot of survival equipment to deal with the problem.
Ready Lifeboat: A boat rigged and ready for lowering in the event of a man overboard. A boat crew consists of seven crewmembers; a boat officer, coxswain, signalman, corpsman, engineman, gunners mate, and boatswains mate (bow hook).
CO2 Inflatable Life Rafts: Provided to keep personnel out of the water and to provide shelter from the elements in the event of abandon ship. Constructed of neoprene coated fabric (cotton or nylon). Life rafts can be released one of three ways:
- Trip manual release.
- Cut retaining straps.
- Water pressure, in excess of 5 ft. lbs., will trip the automatic release. (Approx. 10-40 ft. deep in water)
Raft equipment includes:
- Survival Gear: Gear is packed in a nylon bag with food and water for 25 people for 5 days. It includes an air pump, dye marker, first aid kit, flashlight, knife, paddles, sea anchor, signaling gear, water desalting kit, and a whistle.
- Hydrostatic Release: It is secured by two nylon bands, one end of each secured to the outboard section of the rack and the other to a hydrostatic release. It is released by pushing the pin located on the backside or by water pressure automatically when the ship sinks.
- Sea Anchor: A canvas, cone shaped object that open at one or both ends that is designed to keep the bow of the life raft heading into the seas. It is equipped with a towline at the large end and a tripping line at the other.
- Medical Kit: It contains emergency supplies, such as seasick pills, bandages, splints, etc.
- Signaling Equipment: It has a mirror which can be seen from a distance of 8 to 10 miles, whistles, dye markers, and pyrotechnics. Distress flares are for day and night use. One end of the signal tube produces an orange smoke for day use and the other end produces a red flare for night use. The flares burn for approximately 18 seconds. The night flare can be identified in the dark by a series of small bead-like projectiles embossed around it.
CO2 Inflatable Lifejackets: Used to keep personnel afloat. Carried in a pouch and fastened around the waist. It is inflated by CO2 cartridge or mouth. Enter the water by lowering yourself down a line or similar method. If it is necessary to jump, enter the water feet first on the windward side of the ship with arms crossed over the chest. Do not inflate the lifejacket until in the water. To inflate, pull the pouch around to the front of the body, remove the preserver, slip it over the head, and jerk the lanyard downward. In the event of failure to inflate automatically, inflate using manual tube.
Inherently Buoyant (KAPOK) Lifejacket: Used by personnel working topside during hazardous conditions or evolutions to ensure flotation in the event the wearer falls overboard. UNREP and boat crews wear them at all times. It is sometimes nicknamed the Mae West, so called the wearer often appeared to be as physically-endowed as the as the mid-1900s actress, Mae West. Tie the upper tape at the waist fairly tight to keep it from sliding up in the water. Adjust the chest strap and fasten the snap-hook into the ring. Tie the collar tapes to keep it snug under the chin, and pull straps between the legs from behind as tight as possible without discomfort. Enter the water same as with the CO2 inflatable lifejacket.
Yoke Lifejacket: Primarily designed for pack-carrying troops in an amphibious operation. It will keep a person afloat even with a full pack of gear. The preserver is placed about the neck and brought down in front. Tie tapes at the neck so they may be untied with one hand if necessary. The waist strap is passed to the front of the body and strung under the segment of straps stitched to the life preserver and snapped into quick disconnect studs. Adjust studs and straps snugly. Enter the water same as with the CO2 inflatable lifejacket.
MK-1 Lifejacket: Primarily designed for carrier flight deck personnel but it is also used by other topside working personnel. Slide arms through armholes and snap in front. Enter the water same as with the CO2 inflatable lifejacket.
Ship's Boat (excluding amphibious assault craft): May be any such designated boat that is continuously made ready for contingency operations in emergency operations, or as directed. A MK-10 is a 26 ft. boat with a capacity of 18 people that carries 30 gallons of fuel. The hoist weight is 6800 lbs.
Overcrowding of boats or rafts: The senior officer or petty officer in charge of a raft or boat is responsible for ensuring it does not capsize or overturn due to overcrowding. If too many personnel are in the boat or raft, they must be shifted to another less crowded craft. Shift personnel from boat to boat PRIOR to entering water.
Rotating personnel in the water with regard to time and water temperature: When in cold water, everyone must get into the craft as soon as possible. If it is necessary to stay in the water, keep arms and legs moving to prevent numbness, which can occur in as little as 30 seconds. Personnel in the water should be rotated every 5 minutes in moderate temperatures, and more frequently when the water temperature is lower. Hypothermia, a condition where the body loses too much heat, may set in if a person remains in the water too long.
Food and water conservation: Survival at sea depends upon your knowledge, your self-control, and your training. The time to find out as much as possible about survival and rescue at sea is before you abandon ship not after you find yourself in the water. The one absolutely essential requirement for survival is drinking water. Without it, death will most likely occur in 8 to 12 days. Normally, a person needs about 2 quarts of water a day, but because of inactivity and lack of food, persons in a lifeboat can survive on as little as 6 ounces per day. If water is scarce, eat sparingly. Do not drink your entire daily water ration at one time, it is better to drink small amounts three or four times daily. Do not take any food or water the first 24 hours. Food is much less important for survival. With water, a person can survive for 4 weeks or longer without food. Never discard any article that will hold water. Cover all open containers to slow down evaporation, and use those open containers first. During the rain, drink all you can hold. NEVER drink seawater under any circumstances.