Cruise lines adopt new lifeboat-training procedures

By Tom Stieghorst
Lifeboats will be fully manned during training exercises under a new policy adopted by the Cruise Lines International Association and the European Cruise Council.

Effective immediately, lifeboats will be filled to capacity with crew members and maneuvered in the water during drills. Lifeboat drills will occur at least once every six months, exceeding international standards, CLIA said.

In the past, some lifeboat exercises had been conducted with a skeleton crew or empty lifeboats. Training accidents led some cruise lines to curb the number of crew that would be exposed to injury if lifeboats snagged or dropped unexpectedly.

CLIA said the new policy was an outcome of the cruise industry's operational safety review launched in January after the Costa Concordia accident.

Previously, the review led to a policy tightening passenger attendance at muster drills, a new policy for recording passengers' nationality and other reforms.

Passengers on the Concordia said the extreme list of the ship to one side after it was maneuvered toward shore made lifeboats difficult to deploy.

Follow Tom Stieghorst on Twitter @tstravelweekly.
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