A day in the life of a Safety Officer

You are 2 minutes late for my Safety Drill! Don't let it happen again or you will get a written warning!

My name is Ignazio Ravera and I am the Safety Officer on board this cruise ship, which probably makes me the least popular person on-board, but that just goes with the job.

Whilst I have gone through a typical Deck Officer education and career, hold a Captain's License and my rank is that of a Second Officer on board, I do not spend time on the Bridge as Watch Keeper or Navigating Officer.

My job is to take care of all the Safety issues on board, including giving safety training to all the crew. Everyone needs to know their duties in case of an emergency, especially if woken up in the middle of the night. Therefore I hold mandatory weekly safety drills, safety meetings and tests.

I know you find the additional drills, training sessions and duties bothersome, however I cannot stress enough how essential they are, and will help save your life if here is a real emergency on board.

We are on a ship, in the middle of the ocean and we cannot just walk out of the building if there is a fire. We all have a responsibility for our own life and of fellow colleagues, together with our passengers – who are not seamen.

Besides training the crew, I need to make sure all life saving appliances are properly maintained, updated, in place and ready to use at any time. This starts with the smoke detectors and sprinklers around the ship, through to the signaling equipment, fire extinguishers, water-hoses, finishing with the lifeboats and the davits used to lower the lifeboats and life rafts.

So you see I am continually checking and testing equipment and training crew to make sure everything is functioning safely at all times, and that everything is where it should be.

The entire crew on board are required to help with health and safety. For instance crew are responsible for knowing where the nearest fire extinguishers are located in relation to their work place and cabins.

The Cabin Stewards check the passenger cabins every week to ensure that the correct number of life jackets are stowed in each room. During crew cabin inspections we check that the life-jackets in their rooms are where they are supposed to be, and are not obstructed.

For all the technical checks and repairs I work closely together with the Engine Department.

But now let's get back to what you know so far.

Which fire extinguisher do you use when there is a fire in the Galley? How many life-boats do we have on board? Where is your Muster station? What is the signal for abandon ship?

Yes there is a lot to learn – so see you at the crew drill, next week. Don't be late!

Ignazio Ravera, Mexico