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  #1  
Old July 28th, 2009, 10:27 AM
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Smile The Future of the Muster Drill?

This was in Richard Fain's latest blog entry...

Every ship needs a good system for mustering the guests in times of emergency. Furthermore, safety regulations require that our guests practice mustering at the beginning of every voyage. This drill is a good safety protocol that ensures that every guest is familiar with the safety procedures.

But it is a royal pain in the ass - an important pain, but a pain nonetheless.

Under our current system, the guests all have to go back to their staterooms, get their lifejackets, and walk through the hallways carrying or wearing their lifejackets. The lifejackets are uncomfortable and bulky and many guests leave the belt hanging. After the drill, they have to take their lifejackets back to their staterooms. It’s also a time consuming and difficult process for the crew. All in all, it’s a laborious, uncomfortable, manual process that can actually distract from the important safety purposes for which it was designed.

So for OASIS we decided to see if we could make it better and more efficient. Our initial idea was simply to automate the record keeping, which we have done with a wireless system that allows for real time accounting of guests at their muster stations. The team however did not stop here and ended up with a dramatically new process that greatly improves the effectiveness and convenience of the drill.

The team quickly realized that the biggest issue was making the guests return to their staterooms to get the life jackets. But there really is no benefit to making them do this and we intend to get away from this practice. On OASIS, they decided to store the lifejackets at the mustering stations instead of the staterooms. This takes up more space at the mustering stations (lifejackets are very bulky) but we have the space. It also frees up a smidgen more space in every stateroom.

The advantages are so overwhelming that you have to wonder why we haven’t done this before. The only answer we have come up with is that we never looked at this process as carefully before OASIS. Just to make sure this is as big an improvement as it seems, we’ve been running extensive testing on other ships. The universal reaction is that this is a dramatically better system. Amongst other benefits, it is safer - the guests can go directly from wherever they are to their muster stations and we don’t have all of the cross traffic with guests wearing bulky lifejackets.

Of course, now everyone wants this on all the ships and we intend to do so as quickly as we can - the NASA effect lives on.
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  #2  
Old July 28th, 2009, 01:18 PM
smoosh21 smoosh21 is offline
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Default Makes sense

This makes sense. Especially since I seem to recall from my last two muster drills was to head straight to the muster station if you heard the emergency horn, not to go back to room first. Since the only time most passengers are likely to be all in their rooms is at night, it seems this is a better plan.
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  #3  
Old July 28th, 2009, 02:27 PM
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Default Great Idea

Sure makes much more sense - especially should there be a "real" emergency and you weren't close to your room and had to go directly to your muster station where the vests are actually kept.....
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  #4  
Old July 28th, 2009, 02:32 PM
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the only real problem I see is that for years they have said to grab any medications etc before going to the muster station, since you don't know how long you could be in the life boat. So unless you carry that stuff on you 24/7 you would have to go back.
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Old July 28th, 2009, 03:46 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tahqa View Post
This was in Richard Fain's latest blog entry...

Every ship needs a good system for mustering the guests in times of emergency. Furthermore, safety regulations require that our guests practice mustering at the beginning of every voyage. This drill is a good safety protocol that ensures that every guest is familiar with the safety procedures.

But it is a royal pain in the ass - an important pain, but a pain nonetheless.

Under our current system, the guests all have to go back to their staterooms, get their lifejackets, and walk through the hallways carrying or wearing their lifejackets. The lifejackets are uncomfortable and bulky and many guests leave the belt hanging. After the drill, they have to take their lifejackets back to their staterooms. It’s also a time consuming and difficult process for the crew. All in all, it’s a laborious, uncomfortable, manual process that can actually distract from the important safety purposes for which it was designed.

So for OASIS we decided to see if we could make it better and more efficient. Our initial idea was simply to automate the record keeping, which we have done with a wireless system that allows for real time accounting of guests at their muster stations. The team however did not stop here and ended up with a dramatically new process that greatly improves the effectiveness and convenience of the drill.

The team quickly realized that the biggest issue was making the guests return to their staterooms to get the life jackets. But there really is no benefit to making them do this and we intend to get away from this practice. On OASIS, they decided to store the lifejackets at the mustering stations instead of the staterooms. This takes up more space at the mustering stations (lifejackets are very bulky) but we have the space. It also frees up a smidgen more space in every stateroom.

The advantages are so overwhelming that you have to wonder why we haven’t done this before. The only answer we have come up with is that we never looked at this process as carefully before OASIS. Just to make sure this is as big an improvement as it seems, we’ve been running extensive testing on other ships. The universal reaction is that this is a dramatically better system. Amongst other benefits, it is safer - the guests can go directly from wherever they are to their muster stations and we don’t have all of the cross traffic with guests wearing bulky lifejackets.

Of course, now everyone wants this on all the ships and we intend to do so as quickly as we can - the NASA effect lives on.

Glad they are trying new ideas and implementing them fleet wide. Muster has always been a pain especially when the drill is not close to what they want you to do, ie go directly from where you are to your muster station, so eliminating the need to go to room/bring life vest makes sense.
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Old July 28th, 2009, 03:47 PM
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I think it is about time the muster drill became less stressful. To me, it is the worst part of the cruise.

Last edited by RCCLCARIB; July 28th, 2009 at 03:47 PM.
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Old July 28th, 2009, 04:10 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sue L View Post
the only real problem I see is that for years they have said to grab any medications etc before going to the muster station, since you don't know how long you could be in the life boat. So unless you carry that stuff on you 24/7 you would have to go back.
certainly an issue, but many of us do not take daily meds and will not be in your way as you head for your cabin.
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Old July 28th, 2009, 04:11 PM
RetireeWannabee RetireeWannabee is offline
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I've also not understood why some musters are in the auditorium. Not great access to the lifeboats and not at all good for peaceful exit.
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Old July 28th, 2009, 05:13 PM
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Originally Posted by RetireeWannabee View Post
certainly an issue, but many of us do not take daily meds and will not be in your way as you head for your cabin.
I don't either, but I know they stress the importance of having your meds with you and while neither you or I have any, many do!!!
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Old July 28th, 2009, 05:26 PM
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What a great plan. Someone up there is thinking. I wonder what's next?
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Old July 28th, 2009, 05:36 PM
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Sounds like a great improvement by not having to drag the lifevests through the hallways. While muster may be considered distasteful to most veteran cruisers, it surely is an important and critical component to safe cruising. Kinda like CPR - a refresher can only help should a situation occur. And besides, the muster can be a great way to meet some new cruise buddies
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Old July 28th, 2009, 05:46 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sue L View Post
the only real problem I see is that for years they have said to grab any medications etc before going to the muster station, since you don't know how long you could be in the life boat. So unless you carry that stuff on you 24/7 you would have to go back.
That's an issue I never thought about. Maybe they should tell people to leave their important medications in a bag (marked and given by RCCL) on a designated shelf. Then on the first day when you meet your cabin steward one of their check list items would be to find out if you have medications. They could then send the stewards around to any of their cabins that have medications to retrieve them and bring them to the muster stations as all their passengers should be at the same location. The only issue their would be liability and I'm not exactly sure what other responsibilities a steward would have in an emergency situation.
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  #13  
Old July 28th, 2009, 05:51 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RetireeWannabee View Post
I've also not understood why some musters are in the auditorium. Not great access to the lifeboats and not at all good for peaceful exit.
Where the muster drills are held is a very minor issue. Wherever they can hold the drills where passengers can listen to and absorb the information being provided is what really matters. If it is better to impart that information in a venue such as the theater rather than out on deck where weather conditions may distract guests, then I see no problem if they hold the drill in the theater. It should be understood that in an actual emergency it may not be possible or safe to head blindly to the designated muster station. What is most important is knowing to follow the instructions of the crew who are trained to handle a variety of scenerios including some where certain muster stations will not be accessible.
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Old July 28th, 2009, 06:04 PM
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I slightly disagree... I think the muster drill serves two purposes, the first being to make sure you know where your particular station is and how to get there... then once you are there, to teach you what to do when you do get there. The second part could be done anywhere but obviously the only way to make sure you know where it is is for you to be in the right place, at least once.

Having muster stations on external decks has always been a bit of a puzzle to me. In an emergency, the weather may very well be a factor already, I can't imagine trying to organize and load lifeboats with all those people standing right there, especially if there is high wind and heavy seas.

Some ships have the muster stations inside, in spaces near the doors to the lifeboat area. Seems a lot smarter, you can lead the people out as they are ready for them to get into the lifeboats.

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  #15  
Old July 29th, 2009, 06:35 PM
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I think it is about time the muster drill became less stressful. To me, it is the worst part of the cruise.
I totally agree!!!!
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Old July 29th, 2009, 06:50 PM
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There could be a situation where a ship is listing and life boats cannot be launched from one side of the ship. In that case, having a muster station on the starboard side of the ship would be useless if they were unable to launch lifeboats from that side. Having muster stations inside allows the crew to direct people to any one of a variety of life boats as opposed to being restricted to just one.

And as for the new procedure - brilliant. While it's true that a lot of people will have to go back to their cabins for medications, hats, warm clothes, etc., at least they won't have to be carrying all that stuff AND a life jacket while making their way through narrow corridors.
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Old July 29th, 2009, 07:36 PM
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sounds like a good idea!!
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Old July 29th, 2009, 07:59 PM
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Thumbs up Terrific Idea!!

I think this is a brilliant idea. Aside from the many benefits such as freeing up space in the stateroom & not having to lug the things to the drill there is also less work for the stateroom steward in having to provide the adequate amount & type (adult/child) of jacket for each cruise as well as less wear & tear on the life jackets themselves.

The only thing is that because your life jacket has your assigned muster station on it, the crew can direct you where you should be going. I think during a real emergency most people would not remember what their muster station was.
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Old July 29th, 2009, 08:07 PM
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The only thing is that because your life jacket has your assigned muster station on it, the crew can direct you where you should be going. I think during a real emergency most people would not remember what their muster station was.
However, as someone has already noted your assigned muster station might not be accessible in a real emergency. I am sure that the crew will have contingency plans to direct people to accessible stations in such situations. The most important thing to take away from the muster drill is to listen to, and follow, the directions you receive in the event of a true emergency.
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Old July 29th, 2009, 08:53 PM
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The most important thing to take away from the muster drill is to listen to, and follow, the directions you receive in the event of a true emergency.
So true . . . too many people don't treat the drill seriously and don't pay attention.
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