Procedures for Abandoning Ship 

  • Emergency Signals*
  • Send out MAYDAY message.
  • Master to notify all on board to abandon ship.
  • Broadcast distress alert. 
  • All to muster on deck.
  • All to don warm clothing, waterproofs and lifejackets.
  • Fetch grab bag.
  • Ship log.
  • Fetch EPIRB.
  • Headcount.
  • Launch liferaft(s) ensure liferafts painters are attached to the vessel.
  • Embark passengers and crew in liferafts.
  • Rafts to stay together and within safe proximity of vessel or last known position.

Abandoning to the Liferaft

Put heaviest, strongest crew in first to stabilize the raft and also they can assist others in boarding.

On board the liferaft

  • Cut painter.
  • Paddle away.
  • Close door.
  • Take seasickness tablets.
  • Keep warm and dry.
  • Ventilate interior every hour.


*Emergency Signals: This signal consists of seven or more short blasts followed by one long blast sounded on the ship’s whistle or siren and on a bell, klaxon or similar warning system on ships required to be provided with such systems.

MGN 71 (M) Musters, drills, onboard training and instructions, and Decision Support Systems.

BML Boatmaster Licence Notes