A couple of really good bits of information, especially about the orange smoke flares for night time use.
During my days of Captain
of a container ship, we use to do 1 or 2 out of the 12 listed disaster drills each month. Everything generally went pretty smoothly and I thought we were pretty much prepared for whatever came our way.
One day I decided to change things around and went out on deck
amongest the containers and lit a small smokey fire in a 5-gallon metal pail (having a garden hose & dry chem nearby, just in case).
First surprise was that it took 20-minutes for anyone to find the fire. Second surprise was once found and reported to the bridge, the officer on watch said he was correcting charts
and to get the Captain
involved. Not what I was expecting to hear.....
Once I told the 2nd that I was trapped in the fire, and fire was all his to deal with, things began to change - mostly for the best.
My third surprise was once everyone did get suited up and hoses run out, the AB that was supposed to turn on the deck
hydrant was late in getting to the scene - so a fully dressed fire fighter was standing there with an empty hose for 5-minutes with no water
. Definitely what I did not expect to happen...
So the entire way I/we/the ship dealt with any fire event radically changed from the lock step pattern in the previous drills to a "think on your feet" approach where whomever discovered the fire notified the bridge and then laid out a hoseline and turned on the hydrant themselves and began to fight the fire from a safe distance until the AB's in turnouts & SCBA's arrived.
By doing this, we were able to get water on the "fire" in less than 2 minutes vs. 5 minutes the old way. Faster response, smaller fire.
I also removed myself from most future drills and let my junior officers handle the entire event, including positioning and slowing the ship to get the smoke over the side. Sometimes I would stay at the scene and change the events
that were happening so the officer on watch and the crew at the scene had to react and handle the "change of events".
The entire crew enjoyed the drills more as they were far more lifelike and the officers learned what it was like to really be "in command".
It all paid off on a midnight when we had a major engine
room event. From dead asleep, the crew was mustered, fully suited up and entered the engine
room with a AFFF foam line and PK extinguisher in just under 5-minutes.
Another thing I did was to combine several drills into one, with my record
being 12 different events
combined into one drill. I never set a time limit on drills and the multi-event drills could take up to 2-hours to do. Again, real world.
So drill realistically on yachts. I had a 10-man crew on the container ship, a yacht will generally only have a 2 to 4 man crew, so you better know what you are going to do and have the equipment
onboard to do it.
Safe sailing, and learn from your mistakes!