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Gard Guidance Masters


Training and drills are an essential part of developing and continuously maintaining emergency preparedness and the growth of a safety culture rather than mere complying with regulations, such as mandatorily required under section 8 of the ISM Code.

Training and drills involve familiarisation with emergencies and procedures, so that when the safety or security of persons, property and/or the maritime environment is at risk, the situation is managed in the best possible way. Training and drills also include familiarisation with, and awareness of, applicable rules and regulations. In a real emergency, when chaos threatens, people often become afraid. Experience shows that people who regularly train and exercise in safety drills

  • are less frightened
  • do not panic
  • respond in a controlled manner
  • do exactly what they have been trained to do
  • handle the situation much better than before the training.

    The Master should not forget that if he/she requires his/her crew to respond in a real emergency he/she must be prepared. He/she should bear in mind that

  • there is no substitute for training and drills
  • everybody on board should be familiar with the procedures to be followed in an emergency
  • the individual emergency procedures need to be followed
  • a well trained crew and their experience of and ability to manage emergencies will prove invaluable should it be needed.

    The Master should

  • strictly adhere to the frequency of lifeboat, abandon ship, fire, ship security and other drills as prescribed by international laws and conventions
  • use every opportunity to improve the routines of such drills
  • conduct training as frequently as possible
  • ensure that everybody attend any training provided
  • have the training conducted and supervised by experienced officers, to show commitment from the highest level.

    All of the above should be followed up with a debriefing session where important lessons can be learnt and corrective action prescribed.

    Training and drills should be

  • as realistic as possible to minimise fear in a real emergency situation
  • carried out wearing full emergency equipment, whenever possible, to familiarise the crew with such equipment
  • recorded in writing in the appropriate log book.