Emergency Situation Training…

Hi, I have always wondered where and when the crew are trained for all of the emergency situations that can arise while a ship is at sea. You had a post about when your ship lost power and I know it has happened to Carnival ships as well – can you please elaborate on the training process?

That’s a great question! It is very important that the crew are well trained for emergency situations because help is rarely close by unless something happens while the ship is docked in port. Depending on the position, crew are required to join the ship with certain safety certifications. As a Youth Staff member, I was required to obtain my CPR/First Aid prior to getting hired, and it was my responsibility to keep that up to date – re-certifying every two years.

Further to that though, there is a general “Basic Safety Training” course as they called it that every crew member was obliged to complete at some point during their first contract. This course lasted about 4 weeks, and was taught by the ship’s safety officer as well as other officers depending on the topic (firefighter, nurse, environmental officer). The majority was done in a classroom setting; however there were also practical portions as well, such as firefighting training for example.

Upon completion of the basic safety course, crew members were considered available to be assigned a safety card – which indicated their role in an emergency situation. Every crew member from the captain on down had a numbered safety card and a defined role. These rolls included but were not limited to muster station leaders/assistants, life boat operators, fire fighting team, wheelchair team, medical response team, etc. Depending on which role you were assigned, there was most likely an additional training session to get you familiar with the role. My role as a member of the youth team was to ensure than any children in our care were brought to the children’s muster station where their parents would be able to pick them up.

In order to make sure that everyone was comfortable with their roles and knew exactly what to do, the safety officer held weekly crew boat drills. Newer crew members who hadn’t yet been assigned a role, known as supernumeraries, held the highest numbered safety cards and just assembled at a muster station for crew. The safety officer would also frequently ask several supernumeraries to role play during boat drills. They would be given a sign to wear stating their age/gender and it would be up to the emergency response teams to assess the situation and handle it appropriately.

There are also usually fire drills, man overboard drills, pollution drills, or damage to ship drills that initiate the boat drill prior to the general alarm being sounded. As a passenger, you are unlikely to witness these drills as they are done when the ship is in port after the majority of the passenger have gotten off the ship.

Man Overboard!…

Have you ever seen a passenger jump overboard from a cruise ship?

This question comes up every now and then. The reality is that people do jump overboard from time to time, although it never happened on a ship that I was working on. It extremely dangerous to jump off a moving ship – your chances of being recovered are extremely slim unless someone is witness to the jump and emergency procedures are commenced immediately. Most jumps are the result of a suicide attempt and/or murder in the event of someone being pushed. There have however been recorded cases of people jumping as part of a drunken bet or something along those lines. It is illegal to jump overboard, and if a jumper happens to be saved, heavy fines would be levied – it takes quite a bit of effort on the part of the ship’s staff and crew to recover a man/women overboard.

In the event of witnessing a man overboard, emergency procedures called for the staff member who witnessed the jump to keep an eye on the person in the water while having a second crew member contact the bridge with the location of the person in the water (port or starboard). If the person is close enough, there are also lifesaver rings with lights and beacons on them to help in recovery efforts. All too often though, people jump or are pushed over when nobody is watching or in the darkness of the night, and it is next to impossible to save them.


I Recently Applied For A Position With NCL…

I recently sent my resume in to NCL for a Seasonal Youth Counselor Position. I have worked in two daycares and many customer service jobs. I was wondering how long I should wait before I should just assume they are not interested? Would you recommend sending a follow up email?
Also, if by some miracle I get hired along with two friends of mine, would it be even remotely possible to get on the same ship? What ship doesn’t matter, just the same one?
When I was hired by NCL, I was first contacted by email. Really excited to hear from them, I responded almost immediately. Several weeks later, I still hadn’t received a response back so I was puzzled as to what had happened. I followed up with a couple of different email addresses and eventually found out that the person who had contacted me had been let go by NCL and nobody had gone through his inbox to check his emails. When I finally got a reply back, the person was very apologetic and scheduled me for a Skype interview shortly thereafter. That being said, I would give it a couple of weeks, but definitely follow up!
As far as scheduling is concerned, there is one person responsible for scheduling all of the Youth Staff, but you wouldn’t be able to make any requests for your first contract. Should you and your friends successfully complete a contract, you will be given the opportunity to request a ship for your second contract – nothing is guaranteed but you could all request the same ship and hope for the best. Among other things though, they consider languages spoken when placing YCs, as different ships may have different language requirements. Additional languages such as Spanish or French give you a leg up if you want a ship in Europe. No matter which ship you were to end up on though, the YC team is always very friendly and I am sure that you would have no problems making friends!