Survival Tips for Shipboard Emergencies

Surviving a day in a ship is tantamount to miraculous. Every single day is full of new and unforeseeable occurrences that can potentially kill a sailor. As such, sailors train on different survival tactics and safety measures on a weekly basis. However, the survival tips that we are trained don’t simply ship specific and can often be applied in a multitude of scenarios. They might not seem like important, but trust me though, they can potentially save your life.

1. Tripping and Falling During a Stampede

Let’s say, for example, there is an abandon ship. During abandon ship, all members of the ship are assigned to specific lifeboats that are placed in key locations and sailors are expected to run towards the location of the lifeboat muster for his or her group. When this happens tripping and falling is a real possibility, and to avoid being crushed to death, you must take the following steps.

When people trip and fall in the middle of a crowd it’s a normal reaction to assume the fetal position by covering their head with their hands and bringing their knees to their abdomen. However, this is counter-productive to their end goal. Instead, focus on grabbing the nearest pants possible and use their momentum to drag yourself upwards in order to continue running. If you’re lucky, the person behind you will take notice of you and stop until you can fully stand up and continue.

2. Filtering Smoke Through Wet Cloth and Egress

Surprisingly enough, wet cloths can help filter out the particles of smoke from the air. A person that is caught in a space that is filling with smoke can use a wet cloth to help them breathe through the smoke. While it’s not 100% effective, it can help prevent you from inhaling too much smoke, but it will not stop the inhalation of CO2. When you’re on a ship surrounded by a space-filling with smoke, this is one of the alternatives that are possible during egress. The other alternative is in the racks where the emergency escape breathing devices (EEBDs).

All sailors are trained to escape from the berthing and their regular work environments in smoke and low visibility environments. Additionally, if you find yourself without water or something to dampen the cloth with… urine works in case of emergencies. Keep in mind that smoke rises and as such it’s better to crawl through the smoke than walk as you’ll have better protection from the environment.

3. Treating Open Wounds

Injuries and open wounds are very real possibilities in the world of a ship. Treating an open wound requires you to assess the situation and use all the basic first-aid training to help your shipmate survive the injury. From puncture wounds to loss of limbs, and even a split skull, sailors have lived through some horrible events in their lives.
When treating a simple wound don’t rub alcohol directly on it instead rub it around the affected area. Proceed to cover the area with a clean cloth or another absorbent like an open tampon and seal it shut with an adhesive including duct tape.

For puncture wounds, you’re supposed to cover the affected area and tape it shut in three sides and leave one side open (the bottom) to allow the release of pressure. However, puncture wounds that travel from front to back require the rear portion to have a similar cover with the clean cloth except all four sides will be covered with tape to avoid loss of blood.

In the case of loss of limb, a tourniquet will be applied to control bleeding, but only as a last resort. All other ways to control bleeding are preferable to the tourniquet, but they’re not always possible. However, members who lose a limb are typically at high risk of death and as such will be the first to be helped if there is a chance for survival.

4. Cave-Ins Take Cover

This one is more in the case of earthquakes, and in case the overhead is ever caving in. But, if you ever need to take cover underneath a table because the floor is shaking, and you fear something falling from the roof, please take cover at the edge of the tables. The legs of the table provide extra support and an added layer of protection in case something does make it through the table.

When this happens, the table will typically have broken in the center where there is the least amount of support, and if you hide directly underneath you will certainly be crushed.

These are basic survival tips meant to help you survive in a variety of environments. Most of them can be applied in an emergency situation, but I provided tips on how they can help us on the ship. Emergencies can happen at any time, and it’s better for everyone to practice these steps. Practice does indeed make perfect and drilling your families in these behaviors can prepare them to handle any situation. Stay safe and remember, nobody will protect you or your family better than you can.

Disclaimer: The content in this article is the opinion of the writer and does not necessarily reflect the policies or opinions of US Patriot Tactical.


Emmanuel "Dash the Bomber" Barbosa

Emmanuel Barbosa, AKA Dash The Bomber, is currently serving in the 7th fleet, and has over 8 years of experience in the military. A writer with a penchant for the humorous and informative, he loves to share his stories with those who would be willing to listen. Having served in deployments that have taken him around the world, Dash has seen and heard about many things that would be hard to believe. A loving father and a faithful husband, he is dedicated to protecting his family and country. For fun he enjoys cosplaying, videogames, and writing for online magazines.

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