Life Raft Safety for Offshore Evacuations

All offshore vessels are required to have a sufficient number of life rafts in case an emergency evacuation of the crew is needed. Life rafts save lives by preventing workers from drowning or freezing in cold waters. However, all offshore workers need to be properly trained on how to safely deploy and board life rafts or further accidents can happen.

Topics for Life Raft Safety Training

  • How to board a life raft safely
  • Maintenance, storage, and launching procedures
  • Emergency supplies and first aid kits
  • Survival techniques, such as treating illnesses and injuries

The International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS) is a treaty that is responsible for setting minimum safety requirements and standards for manufacturing offshore safety equipment such as life rafts. The guidelines set minimum requirements regarding the buoyancy and resistance to holes, tears, and fires that all lift rafts must meet.

Safe Life Raft Practices

Offshore workers should also be trained on standard practices for life raft safety, including:

  • Always have a lookout posted
  • Launch the raft before detaching it from the vessel
  • Do not forget to launch the dinghy that is attached to the raft
  • Keep the raft at a safe distance from the abandoned vessel, but in sight of the vessel if possible
  • Always try to stay aware of your geographical position
  • Do not waste flares
  • Try to stay as dry as possible, with particular attention paid to the feet
  • When possible, collect rainwater for drinking purposes

Life rafts have saved thousands of offshore workers, but they are far more effective when used properly. If a crew is forced to abandon a vessel, following safe life raft practices is vital to ensuring the crew reaches shore safely.

If you have been injured while evacuating an offshore vessel, you should consult with an experienced maritime lawyer about your legal rights. Contact Arnold & Itkin for a free consultation.

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