Is it archaic to instruct in the muster drill that women and children are first in the life boats should an emergency arise? I mean get real. On our last cruise during the drill the staffer stated this ridiculous directive. Is that 18 year old boy's life less valuable than that 65 year-old woman? I doubt my grandmother would agree she has more to give society than the 25 yr. old just married groom. I would agree with this IF everyone was guaranteed a spot in the life boat regardless of the circumstances. But if the ship is sinking and survival meant reaching the life boat ...........................
Interesting question. I honestly can't recall 'women and children first" in any lifeboat drill I have attended, but I take the responsibility upon myself to know where the boat stations are, just as I take responsibility for knowing how to get out of a hotel in case of fire and where the emergency exits are on airplanes and how to operate them.
It's impossible to make a comparison as to value of liife between an older woman and a younger man. Or children.
With today's sophisticated ships, the idea that everyone would not have a place in a lifeboat in an orderly process unless the ship were, say, hit by a meteor or an atom bomb, is ludicrous. There are DOUBLE life vests for the passenger and crew complement on every ship. There is one in your cabin, a back-up on deck.
There is a place in lifeboats for every soul on the ship, passengers and crew alike.
Perhaps there is a chauvanistic attitude that men are better than women and children as to getting the 'lesser able' on board a lifeboat.
I am sure that someone will be along to correct me, but I can't recall loss of life on a cruise ship due to disaster since the Andrea Doria/Stockholm incident in the 1960's.
What worries me is the status of the physically challenged ... people in wheelchairs, those who use walkers, those who depend upon external apparatus for their day-to-day survival, the blind who are accompanied by seeing-eye dogs. Should they be put to the end of the line? Or to the front of the line?
Me, I certainly intend to save myself but not at the cost of sitting smugly in a lifeboat seat when there is chaos all around. If I can help, I will. But I keep in mind that the staff is trained and I might only get in the way.
Maybe the rule should be changed to "Men in tassled loafers and cellphones first, they are the most important." At least in their own minds.
I think you're the sweetest, you know that. But, to think that:
"With today's sophisticated ships, the idea that everyone would not have a place in a lifeboat in an orderly process unless the ship were, say, hit by a meteor or an atom bomb, is ludicrous."..................Pamda
is really ignoring recent history. Nobody thought pre-9/11 anybody could hijack a jetliner with boxcutters. But post-9/11 the idea of terrorist attacks on a cruise ship is REAL and I personally believe they are pretty good and easy targets.
So getting into a life boat in an orderly process may not be that easy. And having an available life boat for every person is also not guaranteed.
Those who fail to remember the past are doomed to repeat it.
Actually, I have heard the "women and children first" instruction in recent cruise lifeboat drills. Never thought much about it, as we were then in very warm waters of the Caribbean or the South Pacific. I thought "oh well, if she goes under, i'll just snorkel around until someone comes to fish me out". Now, as our next cruise is to Alaska, your post causes me to rethink my position. So, what do I say? How about "Oh, yeah, women and chilren, and ME first"?
Not only is there a place for everyone in the powered lifeboats, there is also enough room for every single passenger and crewmen in liferafts even if not a single motorized lifeboat is used! All of those white 'barrels' that you see scattered all over are inflatable liferafts. As Pamda said, there are more than double the amount of lifejackets needed onboard and more than double the number of spaces in liferafts available. Additionally there are all kinds of safety devices that will reach out and tell the entire world the ship is in trouble and with the amount of traffic on the seas in all likelihood nobody would spend anytime drifting around at all, just board a 'tender' and transfer to another ship. As for being a chauvinist, no way, but I am also a gentleman and it is women and children first IMHO. As to whose life is more valuable, who cares, it doesn't really matter. It is just the way things are and always will be, or hopefully always will be. Lots of Police, Firemen, and military folks have laid down thier life for those that were not as 'valuable' as those they saved, it is just the right thing to do.
Sorry but I have to dispute your and Pam's contention that any emergency will allow ALL passengers and crew ample time to find and board some type of life saving vessel. Therefore allowing us gentlemen time to assist the less able aboard. I think it's risky to believe this.
Here's a scenario: Terrorist one sneaks 1lb. plastic explosive aboard in his pockets through the metal detector. Terrorist 2-15 do the same. A detonator and time piece and 16 hours into the ocean then blewy, 1/2 the life boats are gone in the explosion. Passengers can't get to the muster stations because of fire, smoke, congestion, wreckage, casualties, chaos and disorientation. The nearest rescue vehicle or cruise ship is 5 hours away. You can't get to your cabin to get your life vest, your cabin is scattered throughout the ocean. There's some life boats floating but every one of them is already overloaded and there are no crew members aboard. Do you have time to go to your assigned muster station?
In this (very possible) scenario how can you say:
"with the amount of traffic on the seas in all likelihood nobody would spend anytime drifting around at all".....Robocop
I'm helping Mrs. Thomas and me aboard the first life boat I find. Sorry. And that's "just the way it is!"
I agree with Robo- I am a middle aged women- but even with all the chaos that could arise I would definitely make sure any children would get into the boats before myself! Thomas what about the senario with one boat left - room for only one person left or it would capsize, and your wife was already on and it was between you and a 10 yr. old- would you leave that child?
This is a tough one. For sure, nobody could have contemplated 9/11 in the private sector. Utlimate evil is impossible to think about. But it happened. One friend's father, one friend's son died at the WTC. Another friend's husband just strolled out and started walking across the Brooklyn Bridge to home talking to his wife on the cellphone.
When I was flight attendant back in the ages when we just strapped passengers on the backs of ptradactyls, we were told, "When the smoke is too thick, the fire is too hot, or the water is too deep, save yourself first." Why? Because the airline had a significant investment in crew that they didn't want to lose through unguided heroism.
Confession. When we boarded our plane in MSP a week ag today, the crew was looking for two individuals who seemed NOT to be on board with decidedly third-world names. I asked the head flight attendant what the deal was. Seemed that these people with those names had baggage on board but were not on board themselves or would not admit to being on board. Long hold for their baggage to be removed. I was ready to cut and run and wait for another flight. Was I worried? Yeah. And I could see that the flight crew was worried, too.
Do I think that our flight was targeted? Maybe. The blessing was that there was a mechanical failure that kept us about an hour late. IF there had been terrorists on that flight, they were not willing to suffer the gate wait and the suspect luggage WAS removed.
Me, I would do all I could to help everyone whom I could, but if it came to a choice between my life and someone else's I would probably choose my own. If it came to a choice between my life, my husband's, or my children's, I would choose theirs before mine.
Then they could tell all sorts of horrible stories about me after I was gone.
There is only one person that I would give my life for and thats my Deb. As one who has looked death in the eye on a few occasions, I can tell you that Mr. Death is some one I do not want to travel with until that decision is not mine. It sounds so noble to say "I would give my life to save a childs" but the reality is that NO sane person wants to die. As to Jim's comment.ie..firemen..police..military.......well thats an entirely different thing IMHO which I see no need to get into on this post. Don't misunderstand that....I hold Jim's opinions in high regard.
Your 'scenario' is way out in left field to say the least and quite frankly is not appreciated by me and probably a number of others given the current problems in the world today. Again, it is a fact that there are more than twice the number of spots onboard liferafts than needed, there are more than twice the number of lifevests needed, ships are very safe and compartmentalized, the seas are quite crowded and 5 hours for assistance to reach anyone is unimaginable and unrealistic, people are better than mindless panic-sticken beings in most emergencies, there are many that can and do assume positions of leadership. Many of us are willing to help others and risk our lives doing so, I would be ashamed to admit if I were not. Like I said, it is the right thing to do. Ships are the safest means of transportation period. Additionally they are the safest type of vacation, period. Statistics prove this without any room for arguement.
"Me, I would do all I could to help everyone whom I could, but if it came to a choice between my life and someone else's I would probably choose my own. If it came to a choice between my life, my husband's, or my children's, I would choose theirs before mine."..............Pamda
I agree completely and hold the same position.
That's why I regard the "women and children" first directive to be 1) archaic or 2) insulting.
I'm not debating whether or not ships are a safe way to travel and vacation. But c'mon Jim, on a transatlantic cruise a 5 hour rescue is not "unimaginable." For a ship doing 25 knots that's merely 125 miles from the downed vessel. A flight (500 mph) from Atlanta to London is 8 hours long.
A man died last weekend on the First Coast, your area I believe, who was caught in a rip tide with life guards and people all over the beach. He drowned in a matter of minutes and no boat was able to get to him in time.
I'm sorry if this subject is uncomfortable to you and others.
I believe my memory of the holing of the Dream is accurate ... the Captain attempted to come into a harbor WITHOUT a harbor pilot to evacuate a seriously ill passenger.
I'm certain Sun Vista's problem was a fire in the laundry room ... my husband and I remarked on it because when she was still Meridian it seemed like every safety drill involved a fire in the laundry room.
Enough disaster for one day. I think I'll go find a Marine to hug.
No doubt that Queeg is THE MAN. We are small boat sailors and are as careful as can be.
On airplanes, in hotels and cruise ships we are safety-ready at all times. And would never think twice about helping the people who DON'T pay attention until MY life, or the lives of those whom I love are threatened..
When it comes between us and the idiots who choose NOT to pay attention, they can watch my (very small) butt going in front of them.