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It is a well-known fact that maritime workers face great risks, even with extensive regulations and protective procedures in place. That’s why lifeboats exist to carry passengers and crew members to safety in the case of a capsized or sinking ship.

Unfortunately, lifeboats themselves can also pose dangers. With over 20 years of experience in Louisiana and nationwide, George Vourvoulias at The Maritime Injury Law Firm has seen it all when it comes to common maritime accidents, including lifeboat accidents.

Keep reading to learn more about common injury risks during lifeboat drills, and what you can do if you are injured during a lifeboat drill.

What is a lifeboat drill?

The maritime industry is full of many unique roles that have their own responsibilities. For those crew members who work offshore, it is likely that you will have to participate in a lifeboat drill once a month.

During these drills, you will have to practice getting into the lifeboat while wearing life vests, then lowering it into the water as if you were trying to escape a sinking ship. You may even have to practice moving the lifeboat a safe distance from the vessel, and following the drill you will need to re-stow the boats back on the main ship.

There are risks associated with all of these processes, so there is a chance offshore workers can get hurt during safety drills.

Common Lifeboat Drill Injuries and Causes

It is not uncommon for accidents and maritime injuries to occur during lifeboat drills, even with adjustments made to lifeboat maintenance and safety precautions. It is important to know some of the most common accidents, so you can know what to look out for.

Many common accidents fall under just a few categories:

  • Insufficient maintenance and equipment failure
  • Poor practices, including training
  • Poor communication

Insufficient maintenance and equipment failure

Some of the most common lifeboat drill accidents occur due to insufficient maintenance and, subsequently, equipment failure. This can include failure of lifeboat release mechanisms, which can lead to lifeboats falling from great heights and causing injuries and deaths. There can be other injuries based on poorly maintained hooks, wifes, tie-downs, or even the lifeboats themselves.

Poor lifeboat drill practices

There are several practices required for good lifeboat drills. These include training for crew members, as well as frequently practicing lifeboat drills, so everyone is confident and capable during each drill.

Poor communication during lifeboat drills

Due to the frequency of lifeboat drill accidents, there have been international efforts to enhance crew and passenger safety during drills.

For one, there are new laws that require regular inspection of lifeboats and equipment by external experts, or even the manufacturers.

Additionally, lifeboat launch can even be tested while crew members are not situated in the lifeboats, in case of an unknown malfunction or danger.

There are also new guidelines for the release mechanism, since they were such a common cause of accidents and injuries.

How can I minimize risks during a lifeboat drill?

Poor communication can also cause injuries at times. This can occur with offshore crew members who aren’t familiar with each other, and can include misunderstandings or even language barriers. Some large boats may even lack the communication equipment for so many people to communicate across a large range.

What should I do if I was injured in a lifeboat drill?

No matter how careful you care during lifeboat drills, there are still unfortunate accidents that can lead to injury. 

If you were injured in a lifeboat accident, you might feel panicked or overwhelmed, but as long as you follow our recommended procedure, then you will be in the safe hands of a maritime injury lawyer and legal protections.

Here are the steps to follow if you are injured in a lifeboat drill:

  • Seek Medical Attention: Your health always comes first in an offshore injury. Not only is it important for your healing and recovery, but a medical record and recovery projection will be crucial should you seek legal action in the future. If possible, you should also contact your own medical professional for your care.
  • Notify Your Employer: Contact your employer soon after the accident, so they have a record of your accident as well. 
  • Gather Relevant Information: It is also a good idea to keep your own written record of the accident, including dates, times, locations and other details. You can also take photographs and collect information from witnesses.
  • Remain Silent: Anything you say to your co-workers and employer can be used against you during court proceedings. So it is important to stick to the facts and avoid oversharing information that can be twisted against you.
  • Contact an experienced Maritime Injury Lawyer: It’s crucial that you have a dedicated maritime injury lawyer on your side. This is a unique area of law, and someone with maritime experience will be the best choice to fight for your rights in court.

Contact a Gulf Shores maritime accident lawyer at the Maritime Injury Law Firm today

If you have been injured in a maritime accident, or during a lifeboat drill, don’t give up hope for your future. Put your trust in an experienced and knowledgeable maritime accident lawyer like George Vourvoulias at the Maritime Injury Law Firm. George has over 20 years of experience advocating for injured maritime employees nationwide. He knows what tricks employers have up their sleeves, and more importantly, he knows what it takes to win your case for compensation.

Contact George today to schedule your free, private consultation.

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