Entry 81, June 3rd, 2011, 10:43pm (ship time GMT +2)
I have a new emergency station. This is my second week at my new post – if you will recall, I used to be in the “Assistance Group,” along with everyone else who had no real useful skills in an emergency. Well, apparently my escapades riding wheelchairs through the dining room and saving dozens of people from an imaginary fire caught someone's eye, because I've been moved to a davit team on the starboard side of the ship.
A davit is a type of crane that is used to lower things over the side of the ship – in this case, life rafts full of crew members. In the event of a sinking, the idea is that we'll hook a life raft up to the davit (they come in big white canisters a bit bigger than a 55 gallon drum), pull the inflation ripcord, load it with crew members (35 per raft) and then lower them into the water. This is the preferred, perfect-world version of events . . . the less preferred methods (in order of undesirability) are 2. chucking the canister into the water, diving in after it, and pulling the ripcord, and 3. waiting for the ship to sink and the pressure activated release to send the raft back up to us.
We have four rafts at our station, stacked two by two. There are eight more that could become our responsibility as well, stored on the fantail (the very stern). There's a block and tackle mounted to rail that we're supposed to use to haul them from the fantail to our station, but considering that the assistance group meets right next to them (remember them? No useful skills? Lots of extra muscle?) my team leader said that we'd probably just carry or roll them over because it would be faster (if we were abandoning ship, I'm sure that the crew would be sufficiently motivated to help).