Emergency Training Saves Lives

Table of contents

Late last year, a fire occurred on a passenger vessel in a busy harbour. The master and crew took immediate action and followed emergency procedures to disembark and transfer 73 passengers safely to another ferry. The vessel’s structural and fixed firefighting systems worked effectively to contain and extinguish the fire.

What happened? 

In the evening, a timber hulled passenger vessel carrying 73 passengers was performing a charter tour on a busy harbour. A fault in an oil pressure sensor caused an oil fire in the engine compartment, activating the fire alarm. The Master determined there was an active fire, made the order to the crew to prepare to abandon the vessel, closed the fuel shut offs, closed the engine room vents, and then returned to the wheelhouse to shut down the engines and activate the fixed firefighting system. 

The Master notified Vessel Traffic Services (VTS) via radio and instructed a deckhand to perform an emergency anchor drop. The remaining deckhands instructed the passengers to put on lifejackets. The Master applied various fire extinguishers to the fire to ensure it was fully extinguished and would not reignite.  

A ferry was despatched by VTS and arrived alongside the passenger vessel within 5 minutes. All 73 passengers were transferred safely onboard. The quick response meant the fire caused minimal damage. 

AMSA findings 

The AMSA investigation identified the following factors in the overall safety outcome: 

  • The fast-acting crew and the systems on board did their job well in notifying authorities, combating the fire, and mustering and evacuating the passengers in a timely manner.  
  • The fixed firefighting system worked and the fire was extinguished with minimal damage. 
  • The structural fire protection contained the fire and stopped it spreading. 

AMSA acknowledged, as do we, the crew reacted and acted appropriately which in turn saved lives and minimised damage to the vessel.  How did they know to do this?


Regular crew training and drills in emergency procedures such as fire and evacuation and the use of life-saving equipment is an essential part of the vessel’s safety management system.

Outside of the obvious, the law states that as an employer you are responsible for providing health and safety information and training to your employees! 

Even if you are a recreational boat owner, ensuring everyone onboard including those operating your vessel should have clear knowledge and understanding of what to do to survive!

Also, just having equipment onboard is great – but do you, crew, owners and operators know how to use it?  Many have never even seen a distress flare, let alone ignited one!

Looking at Training, there is just so many facets to ensure safety and survival of all onboard, your vessel and your livelihood can be overwhelming.

Here at Shorlink, we offer several training courses.  You are welcome to engage us, however, you may also review our content to ensure you, your crew and passengers are all educated and you are satisfied that your crew onboard would act in the manner as per the incident above.  

Let’s look at Shorlink Training courses more closely:

Onboard Safety Training

Learning and understanding the safety of your vessel, its equipment and emergency response scenarios including fire, person overboard, collision, sinking and more! This training is conducted on your vessel to ensure full knowledge and experience is shown to operate and survive. 

Inflatable Life Raft (ILR) Training

Never seen, used or inflated an ILR – this course is for you.  We provide a full review, demonstration and understanding of ILR’s and their equipment.  We also demonstrate response scenarios and how to survive.

Distress Flares Training

Same for Distress Flares. Have you and anyone onboard ever actually let off a distress flare?  Would they know the different types and which to use? Providing an introduction to distress flares, we conduct this course in a specific location as we ensure all participants have ‘hands-on training with distress flares. 

Fire Extinguisher Training

Again, the same for Fire Extinguishers. Have you and anyone onboard ever actually activated a fire extinguisher?  Would they know the different types and which to use? Providing an introduction to fire extinguishers, we conduct this course in a specific location as we ensure all participant’s have ‘hands-on training with fire extinguishers. 

We also offer Commercial Vessel Inductions and Onboard Emergency Response Training and also bespoke training courses that meet your requirements and budget.

Here at Shorlink, we have and will always remain about Education and Safety.

Whilst we hope that this newsletter will bring to your attention the upmost importance of ensuring all who are onboard your vessel are fully aware of the vessel, its equipment, safety appliances, emergency scenarios and survival skills should the worse ever happen!

The life saved by that training provides could be yours, your friend or your family!

Shorlink’s Recommendation

Review your operations and vessel.

Review who is operating your vessel… owners, crew, passengers!

Are you confident that every single crew member knows what to do in an emergency and how to protect themselves, all other persons onboard, the vessel and how to survive should they need?


Look at your training requirements.

Here at Shorlink, you are welcome to visit our website training to seek what may be needed or if you would be interested to engage Shorlink for your training requirements.  Click Here for more information.

As always, our priority here at Shorlink is the safety and education within the marine industry.  If you have any questions or concerns at all, please feel free to always pick up the phone and call our office on 07 4242 1412 to discuss without any obligation.

Please let your fellow mariners in the industry know we are here for them too! Safety is Paramount!

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