Lifeboat drill

10th March 2009, 15:48
I passed my lifeboat cert sept 57 and 5 days later sailed on the peleus and was given an extra 1 a month on my wages " was this the norm"? Anyway on the return leg home in the Indian ocean we had a drill and I was in the galley at the time and only had my blues and chainbreaker vest on I put on my life jacket and went up top to my station, boy did I get a surprise my boat was put over the side and I was in, it the ship steamed away and we were told that we had to make are way back to her, but to be honest the officer with us did not have a clue about rigging the boat to get us back to her. Their was a deckie I think his name was Mc'ivor "I could be wrong" who soon took charge and got us up and running I handled the sails and he handled the tiller and tacked us back to the ship,It was about three hours later, It was only after a few hours that the sunburn started to come out on me and how bad It was,no sympathy from the guys and I just had to get on with it,The chef said imagine the men who had to endure it for real some times for days during the war years, I never said another word about it till now,cheers Tony Allen

Chris Isaac
10th March 2009, 17:52
A blueies officer unable to rig a lifeboat.....find that hard to believe from what they tell me!

Peter Martin
10th March 2009, 18:38
Under sail? I remember learning the theory at Mann Island but I don't remember actually rigging the lifeboat in the dock. There was a model which we manoevered on a table accompanied by the mantre..."Sailing 6 or 7 points to the wind; sheets trimmed on the leeside. Down helm. Back the jib to bring her round...." My only time adrift was on a drill in the Indian Ocean on an 'A' Class. No gravity davits in her! Lowered into the water and ship sailed off for a mile or so then heaved to. We had to make our own way back which would have been quite simple had the engine started. It didn't. Toss oars; give way together while the 4th Engineer & Assistant Engineer fiddled about. They got started abou 50 yards from the ship. Toss oars and boat oars again; glide alongside and under the falls in regal style. Hooked on and winched up manually (or once a year). Gripes fixed and all out for a beer. Ah! The joys of Board of Trade Sports Day.

Pat Kennedy
10th March 2009, 20:43
We did this every trip in the China, usually in the Indian Ocean. Sometimes we had to rig the sail, others the motor was used. I seem to remember only two of the four lifeboats on the 'A' class had an engine, the other two were driven by wind or 'Norwegian steam'.
On the Achilles, my first trip, the ship cast us off and steamed away until out of sight. We rowed for an hour, then rigged the sail and bowled along in a good stiff following wind for another hour, and then spotted the ship sneaking up behind us. Radar Robb, the captain, had circled round behind us.
The only other company I was with that actually launched a lifeboat at sea, as opposed to launching one in the dock, was Lamport and Holt, Ronsard.
Never had to do it in anger though, Thank God.

11th March 2009, 13:02

Lifeboat drill before every sailing on voyage ex Birkenhead and Liverpool (Aussie run).

Drill every Monday on Autolycus and Hector. Others not so frequent in my time.

One AB to the wheel -even if it was on "iron mike" (where does that term have its genesis)? Another assigned to the "painter".

Boat launched in Indian as PK contends. Also launched in Trinco on homeward voyage - but was a dual purpose exercise.



11th March 2009, 13:54
In Bibby's we had regular boat drills and often took boats away on "Jollys" when anchored in suitable ports. Whilst our drills were probably no different than any other shipping line, an air of humour was always added by the insistance of wearing uniform caps. Deck cadets and mates were ok because the cap was normal wear for entering leaving port etc however, some of the head gear sported by the engineers had to be seen to be believed. I believe they went out of their way, to subvert the requirement to wear one.
It was particularly daft as most of them would turn up in boiler suites. I think this was probably a leftover from passenger ship days when authority would need to be recognised. Caps were always swapped to ensure maximum effect.
We used to say that if we sank, everyone would know is was us because of all the caps floating in the water(==D)


11th March 2009, 15:04
Engineers with caps, On the QE1 the senior 2nd Engineers ALWAYS wore caps when on watch. one of them had an American policeman's cap(6 sided) with the Cunard badge on. But nobody really noticed the caps as it was de riguer for S2.

11th March 2009, 16:30
Recalling my post. In the lifeboat if memory serves me right beside myself and the AB 2 eng roomies the officer 3rd or 4th not shure, a cadet, 2 more deckies, 2 stewards, and 3 chinamen, and two male passengers, 15 in total. I was tought to rig a sailboat on the hms Eaglet based on the docks in Liverpool the old guy who took us for lifeboat certs really did not impart to much except to be able to row a boat,I thought all ABs and officers knew how to step a mast? any thoughts on that point Cheers Tony Allen

11th March 2009, 17:12
We were taught how to step the mast for Lifeboat certificate. It was not possible to obtain AB certificate without having previously obtained the Lifeboat certificate.

In theory this was fine, but in practice we all made a cats **** of it. Always embarrasing as your credibility took a serious blow in the eyes of the Chief Officer who would report to the Old Man.

Attempting it whilst rolling about in the Indian ocean almost always became a bit of a farce.



11th March 2009, 17:23
JMCG, Thanks for clearing that up for me,Tony

Sarky Cut
11th March 2009, 17:34
Life boat drill in the middle of winter at 0330 in Dover docks.

Boat down and a ride around the harbour, stowed and awaiting loading of punters for the first crossing in the morning.

Sun burn in the Indian Ocean?

Pah, you know nothing about hardship.(EEK)

11th March 2009, 17:36
Guess I don't, but it was bloody sore at the time. Tony

11th March 2009, 18:45
Took my lifeboat ticket while on the Arcadia, I think it was the second mate who took the lessons. First funny was in Tahiti when we had a lifeboat drill and it was decided to take a cruise around the bay.The tannoys called out "the number two boat will be launched all passengers stand clear". The boat was launched and up with the sail and off we went all taking turns at the tiller, we then realised we had a extra crew member,"who are you aked the 2nd"? "I,m a passenger" came the reply, the look he was given would have felled an elephant. After we had all had a go at being the cox it was time to go back, no wind! out with the oars and we all settle down for blisters all except one,"theres no passengers in a lifeboat" says the 2nd and a very unhappy blood joined us in the stocks.Funny number two was taking my ticket in windy welly. having had the orals it was off round the harbour taking turns as cox and bringing the boat alongside under the blocks, came my turn and it was all going well untill I bought her alongside ship oars I cried up they went and we gathered speed as the wind drove us into the blocks oars going everywhere like skittles in a bowling alley, I had come in with the wind not against it. "You won't do that again" said the examiner,"no" I said, I passed,Phew.

Pat McCardle
11th March 2009, 21:51
All the Gravesend lads had a good tutor 'inn' Mr. McGorahan. A load of 16 & 17year olds passing their practical side of the lifeboat ticket on the Thames, no mean feat against the tides & in winter. In class we had a model & we all took turns as cox'n tacking & wearing & always remember 'Leo'

12th March 2009, 00:18
The Tarkwa had a lifeboat which would supposedly be propelled in our hour of need by a four cylinder petrol engine which I recall was named a Morris Vedette. When trying to start it, it was called a variety of other names.
The acid test of an engineer's skill was 'sailing inspection' on a wet, cold, January morning in Liverpool. There was no chance whatsoever of starting this thing to the satisfaction of the 'march of the unemployed.'
The trick was to remove the sparking plugs and magneto (yes magneto) and cook them in the galley stove for half an hour, screw everything back in while it was still hot, then, maybe, it would start and hopefully keep running until such time as the inspection party wandered past - without giving it so much as a glance.

Sarky Cut
12th March 2009, 01:11
Guess I don't, but it was bloody sore at the time. Tony

Remember my first sunburn well, went to sleep first trip going south in the Bay of Biscay on the Monkey Island, I grieve with you.:sweat:

12th March 2009, 10:58
# 15

Still good practice today when trying to start Briggs & Stratton and Tecumseh lawnmower engines. Have a Honda lawn tractor that never requires more than a show of the key.

Left a few plugs in the booby's oven one Sunday morning -all oiled up and carboned. Got the "picture - no sound" treatment for a month afterwards.