BOATS - The ship carries two lifeboats. Both are motorized. Lifeboat number 1 (starboard side) has a capacity of 37 persons. Lifeboat number 2 (port side) has a capacity of 28 persons. All personnel aboard are assigned to one of the lifeboats (see the station card attached to your bunk for boat assignment). In addition, there are 6 automatic-release, self-inflating life rafts. One raft on each side is set up to be boarded from the main deck just aft of the hangars should additional capacity be needed. The capacity of the lifeboat/life rafts is one and one half times the total complement of the ship, (62 persons) on each side. The port lifeboat doubles as the "Rescue Boat". This boat can be quickly deployed and would be used by the Rescue Squad in an emergency, such as "man overboard", where ship recovery is not possible.
EMERGENCY DRILLS - A fire and abandon ship drill must be held within 24 hours of leaving port and once every seven days thereafter. Fire and abandon ship station bills are posted throughout the ship. Individual billet numbers and responsibilities are posted on 4 x 6 cards near each bunk. For convenience individual billet numbers also correspond to cup and glass numbers. There are two U.S. Coast Guard-approved "personal flotation devices" (lifejackets) in each stateroom for the occupants. Additional lifejackets are stored in the lab and on the flying bridge. Upon room assignment, each scientist should familiarize himself with his fire and boat station, memorize the billet number, learn where the lifejacket is stored and how to wear it properly. Lifejackets are to be worn during all drills.
With the captain's permission, the chief scientist may assign a "skeleton watch" to remain in the lab during fire and boat drills. In case of a real emergency, scientists will be responsible for preserving their own data. Proper dress (i.e., long pants, hats, shoes, shirt, etc.) is required at all drills. Bare feet, flip-flops, shower shoes, and thongs are unsafe on deck.
Life rafts and the lifeboat are for emergency use only. Melville carries 65 cold water survival suits, which are in the survival suit locker on the 03 deck just forward of the bridge. When Melville is operating in waters that warrant the use of survival suits, they will be issued.
MEDICAL MATTERS - The ability of the ship to handle medical emergencies is limited. There are first aid kits, a stocked sick bay, officers have limited first aid training and help can be summoned by radio. The best course of action is to prevent emergencies.
To this end: Do not try to disguise or pass over any abnormal conditions you may have, especially any which might erupt suddenly and require treatment. Prevent injuries by thinking safety all the time. Watch for dangerous situations--fix them or bring them to the attention someone who can.
Melville currently has Medical Advisory Services (MAS) contracted to provide medical assistance via radio.
PERSONAL FLOATATION DEVICES - You will find your lifejacket in your assigned room. It should be equipped with a whistle on a lanyard and a waterproof light. All lifejackets also have reflective patches attached front and back near the shoulders. Lifejackets are important safety devices; they should not be left about the ship, used as cushions or pillows, etc. If there is a problem with your lifejacket or it is missing notify the mate on watch who will make arrangements to take care of the problem. Work vests are provided by the ship and are located in a locker in the aft section of the main lab. These vests must be worn when the safety lines are down or if you are involved in over the side handling of equipment.
SHIPBOARD SAFETY - Seagoing operations are by nature hazardous. Strict compliance with safety at-sea precautions are necessary to prevent injury to personnel and damage to the ship.
There should be someone in the lab whenever deck evolutions are being conducted to maintain the communications link between the lab and bridge. Deck evolutions should be discussed well in advance whenever possible with safety and efficiency foremost. The bridge should be informed of all deployments before anything is put over the side and then deployed only from the designated place. At night or during heavy weather no one should go out on the working deck without informing the bridge. Permission must be obtained from the bridge prior to turning on any deck lights or operating any equipment on deck. Work vests shall be worn by everyone on the working deck whenever the lifelines are down. Safety is everyone's business.
Due to vessel motion in heavy seas, the scientific party members should insure that all of their equipment is securely lashed down and properly stowed. It is the chief scientist's responsibility to insure that this task has been accomplished. If you see any items not secured properly and are in doubt as to how to stow or lash it down, ask the resident technician or any crew member for assistance.
A shipboard fire is the most dangerous and most prevalent hazard encountered at sea. It is also a hazard that can be easily prevented by common sense and simple precautions. Careless smoking habits are responsible for the majority of shipboard fires. Remember: while at sea you can't run away from a burning ship.
Keep all doors and hatches secure at all times. Either latch it open with the hook supplied or close it tight. Never allow doors or hatches to swing freely with the roll of the ship. Be aware of air conditioning boundaries and leave these doors shut at all times. When opening and closing doors, be courteous to sleeping shipmates and do not let the door slam shut.
Stand clear of all wires, ropes and blocks which are under stress. Do not handle any moving wire or rope.
Pick up, clean up, and securely stow all loose gear after each use. Do not walk away from any piece of loose equipment--even if it is not yours, tie it down.
Wear proper shoes when working on deck. Sandals or other flip-flop type of footwear which cannot be securely fastened to one's feet are unsafe and will not be tolerated for deck work.
MAN OVERBOARD - If someone has the misfortune to fall overboard, first pass the word to the bridge "MAN OVERBOARD" designating which side if possible. Next throw one of the strategically located life rings over the side to mark the spot and provide floatation. At all times you should keep your eyes on the person, it helps if you point to the victim. This assists the bridge and other watchers to keep the person in sight. If underway the bridge watch will maneuver to keep the props clear and recover the person, or if circumstances permit launch the rescue boat. The sound signals for MAN OVERBOARD are 3 long blasts on the general alarm and ship's whistle.