The odds of you being trapped on a sinking boat are low, but you never know. It could happen to anyone. Despite the advanced technology and developed safety procedures nowadays, there are incidents where accidents still occur with car and passenger ferries. It is best to always be prepared in case such life-threatening events do happen to take place, so here are some tips to help increase your chances of survival.
1. You must understand and familiarise yourself with what happens when a ferry boat starts to sink. Doing so will give you a sense of what to expect if an incident like this should happen to you. When ferries begin to sink, water usually would enter the lowest point, the bilge area, first. Once the water reaches a certain level, boats use bilge pumps to dispose of the water. A boat that suddenly takes on water will start to rock less and less because of the sudden weight gain. If a boat moves too much, it means that it is in less immediate danger compared to one that is not moving at all. If the crew did everything they could, but the water is still filling up the boat, the captain of the ferry must now decide whether everyone should abandon ship or not.
2. Look out for the locations of flotation devices upon boarding and remember where they are. Also, look for lifeboats and where they are stationed, or you could stay somewhere nearest to a lifeboat for easy access.
3. Read instructions on how to put on a life vest and how to use it. You can always ask the crew of your ferry service for assistance, if needed.
4. Listen for the evacuation signal. The standard one consists of 7 short horn blasts, finishing with one long one. The captain may also announce over the speakers to evacuate.
5. You can grab any additional items that you think are important, but only if you have time.
6. If you are with children or pets, make sure that you have your life jacket on before attending to them. But you must move quickly and carefully.
7. Follow instructions. This is the most important thing that you have to do. You should have common sense and proper etiquette, especially in life-threatening situations. Whatever the captain or crew says, you must follow, because they know best. Each and every professional ferry service in the world, have gone through expert and proper training in rescue operations, so it is 100% certain that they know better than you in what to do in order for you and every other passenger to be safe.
8. You have to stay calm and not panic. The more you panic, the higher you will increase your chances of not surviving. If other passengers are panicking, do the best you can to calm them down, as panicking will only slow down the evacuation process, especially when people start to push and shove one another, injuring others as well. The best way to remain calm is to just breathe slowly, like you would in any relaxation breathing technique, and to listen to what the captain or crew says.
9. If possible, before evacuating the area, bring some food, a compass, water and blankets just in case you may be stranded for a few hours.
10. Stay strong and do not give up. Testimonies from survivors at sea have always mentioned that one needs to stay strong and be patient because the ones who have survived are the ones who could wait even the longest hours, for rescue.