EMERGENCY DRILLS - A fire and abandon ship drill must be held within 24 hours of leaving port and once every seven days thereafter, by Coast Guard regulation. Fire and abandon ship station bills are posted throughout the ship. Individual responsibilities are posted on small cards near each bunk. There are U.S. Coast Guard-approved "personal flotation devices" (lifejackets) in each stateroom for the occupants. Upon room assignment, all scientists should familiarize themselves with their fire and boat stations. It is also important to learn where the lifejackets are stored and how to wear them properly. Life jackets should be worn during all drills.

With the captain's permission, the chief scientist may assign a "skeleton watch" to continue working during fire and boat drills. Proper dress (i.e., long pants, hats, shoes, shirt, etc.) is required at all drills. Bare feet, flip-flops, and shower shoes are unsafe on deck. Sproul also carries cold water immersion suits for all people onboard, which are in the staterooms.

MAN OVERBOARD - If someone has the misfortune to fall overboard, first pass the word to the bridge, "MAN OVERBOARD," designating which side of the ship they fell over if possible. Next throw anything that floats, including one of the strategically located life rings, over the side to mark the spot and provide flotation. At all times, you should keep your eyes on the person. When the person is in your sight, you must point to the victim. This helps the mates and Captain on the bridge locate the victim while maneuvering the ship.

The alarm signal for a Man Overboard is three long blasts on the general alarm and ship's whistle. If you hear this alarm, muster on the main deck and attempt to maintain visual contact of the victim while pointing in the victims direction when in sight.

FIRE – If you see or suspect a fire, notify the bridge immediately. If you feel comfortable doing so, use a fire extinguisher and attempt to put the fire out. If it is too large, close hatches and doors as you evacuate the space.

The alarm signal for a Fire is one long blast on the general alarm and ship's whistle. If you hear this alarm, muster on the main deck with your life jacket and immersion suit. Await instructions and be prepared to assist in fighting the fire.

ABANDON SHIP - The alarm signal for Abandon Ship is seven short blasts followed by one long blast on the general alarm and ship's whistle. If you hear this alarm, muster on the main deck with your lifejacket and immersion suit. Await instructions and be prepared to assist in launching life rafts.

PERSONAL FLOTATION DEVICES - You will find your life jacket in your assigned room. It should be equipped with a whistle on a lanyard and a waterproof light. All life jackets also have reflective patches attached front and back near the shoulders. Life jackets are important safety devices, and should not be left about the ship, or used as cushions/pillows. If you think there is a problem with your life jacket or it is missing a light or whistle, notify the mate on watch who will make arrangements to take care of the problem.  

Immersion suits are also located in your assigned room.  Immersion suits are important safety devices, and should not be left about the ship, or used as cushions/pillows. If you are unsure how to put on an immersion suit, a mate or the Restech can show you the proper donning procedure.

Work vests are provided by the ship and are located in the wet lab. These vests must be worn when the safety lines are down or if you are involved in over-the-side handling of equipment.

LIFE RAFTS - The ship carries two automatic-release, self-inflating life rafts. They are in cradles on the port 01 deck, and atop the computer lab van (starboard). Each have a 20-person capacity.

ENGINEERING SPACES - These spaces are off-limits to scientific party members except by permission of the engineer. These can be dangerous areas and caution must be taken when maneuvering within them.

BRIDGE - If you wish to visit the bridge or engine room, please request permission from the watch officer. These are busy places, so you may be asked to come back another time, depending on the current operation.

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 Internet. The best course of action is to prevent emergencies.

  • Prevent injuries by thinking safety all the time. Watch for dangerous situations and fix them or bring them to the attention of someone who can (for example the Restech or one of our mariners).
  • Robert Gordon Sproul has access to medical guidance using a telemedicine service provider.  In the event medical assistance is needed, the Master or assigned crew person will contact the on-call medical staff over the phone or via internet.
  • If you have a medical condition that may become acute at sea, please discuss with the chief scientist or Master, as described in the Scripps Physical Ability to Work at Sea document provided to you before sailing.  Our objective is to understand your desires for proper care in the event of an emergency.

DECK SAFETY - Seagoing operations are by nature hazardous. Consistent compliance with safety policies and practices is necessary to prevent injury to personnel and damage to the ship.

Deck operations should be discussed in advance with your Restech. The bridge should be informed of all deployments before anything is put over the side. 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.

Hard hats are required for any over head operations (e.g., crane lifts, over-the-side deployments, etc.). These are provided by the ship and are stored in the wet lab. Wear proper shoes when working on deck. Work boots are best, and sneakers with closed-toe and closed-heel designs are acceptable. Not acceptable for deck work are sandals, flip-flops, or other types of footwear that cannot be securely fastened to one's feet.

Stand clear of all wires, ropes and blocks which are under stress. Do not handle any moving wire or rope.

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 Restech or any crew member for assistance. Pick up, clean up, and securely stow all loose gear after each use. Do not walk away from any piece of loose equipment.

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