The average double-end lifeboat is exceptionally seaworthy, but it is not equipped to handle sail and gale at the same time. Do not attempt to use the sail in heavy weather-you will get nowhere and you will be courting disaster.

Under normal conditions, you can get the best results by keeping the sail as nearly as possible at a right angle to the boat. This drives the boat forward most effectively by applying the force of the wind in the direction of the keel line from aft.

Before you step the mast, reeve the halyard through the sheave. Then tighten up on the stays. Starting from the fore end of the sail, bend the halyard about one-third way up on the yardarm.

No tackle is needed to exert a downward pull on the sail. Bend the lower forward end of the sail to the stem or cross bows, depending on whether the wind is abeam or on the quarter, for your proposed track. Hoist the sail, then tighten up on the halyard. Secure the halyard at the foot of the mast, or use it as a stay. Haul in the sheet until the sail fills.

The great majority of lifeboats are equipped with the dipping lug sail. The dipping lug is secured forward of the mast, and in tacking must be dipped around abaft the mast. The yard also must be dipped. From this process of dipping, the sail takes its name. For speed and weatherliness, it is more efficient than the so-called standing lug. However, if the tack or yard is not dipped at the right moment the sail may be caught aback. Because the dipping lug is difficult to handle, the crew must be well trained.

Bend the halyards of a dipping lug one-third up the yardarm from the forward end. Usually the tack will be hooked to the stem. But if you

  are sailing free, shift the tack to the weather bow.

Because they are secured to the mast, the tacks of a standing lug sail do not have to be dipped around the mast in tacking. They stand; hence the name standing lug. Though safe and convenient to handle, the standing lug has not the driving force of the dipping lug.

In good weather, the handling of the tiller is a simple matter. This is the time for you to pick up pointers and gain confidence in steering. Learn to steer during the daytime.

When a following sea starts to break on you, do not pull the tiller away from the sea. Doing so will bring the boat broadside toward the oncoming sea, with the resulting danger of being swamped. In a following sea make certain to put the tiller toward the breaking sea. Hold it there for just as long as the sea rushes upon you, bringing the tiller amidship only when the sea has passed. Repeat this maneuver every time the sea is about to break.

Aboard ship it is correct always to seek shelter on the lee side. This is the reverse of what you must do in the lifeboat. The weight of several men on the lee side may capsize the boat. Keep on the weather side, and as far aft as possible, to help keep the rudder down in the water.

Watch main halyard. Do not chafe and part on a gaff or yard and come down with a run. Set up on both stays evenly.

Keep both jib and main sheets free for running-a jammed sheet may capsize your boat.

Do not get them tangled up in the oars, or sit on them.

Do not attempt to climb the mast. Unstep it if any repairs are necessary.

Do not make the sheets fast-a turn around


a thwart that can be cast off easily is quite satisfactory.

Do not hesitate to reef. If equipped with a boom do not make points fast around main sheet. Reef only around the sail and not around the boom.

Have men in your boat act as ballast to shift to windward as necessary and back inboard without being told.

Do not attempt to sail into the wind too high. You will only make more leeway and less speed.

The sailing gear in a lifeboat will not stand up in heavy wind, so take it down and save it for moderate weather.

Keep the jib and mainsails slacked off as far as possible (till the leading edge of jib and luff of mainsail just starts to quiver). This will give you the most drawing power from the sails.

A lifeboat heavily loaded will make less leeway than one lightly loaded. This enables the heavily-loaded one to point a little higher into the wind. About 6 points will be about as good as you can do.

When tacking or pointing, the spray shield will only cause more leeway so it should be taken down if possible. If excessive spray comes aboard it is time to reef or take down the sail altogether and lay for more favorable sailing weather.

When running free or with wind or quarter, have weight in stern as this will ease the tendency to yaw.

A bucket dragged astern will steady her up if she yaws excessively when running before the wind.

If a puff of wind or gusts of wind hit the sail causing you to list dangerously the boat may be righted quickly by letting go of main and jib sheets with a run.

If the rail goes under in an open boat she will capsize immediately.

A great deal of common sense is required when sailing an open boat-do not take unnecessary chances. If in enemy waters hoist the sail only at night as a boat is less visible in daytime without sails. If in friendly waters and becalmed keep sails up as you are visible at a greater distance and chances of getting picked up increase.

When you join your ship you should be prepared to sail a lifeboat anywhere. Remember, you learn to sail by sailing.

Reefing-When a boat begins to take water, it is time to reef; she should never, even in smooth water, be allowed to heel too much. A

  boat that is decked over may run her lee rail awash; but when an open boat is approaching this point it must be remembered that a fresher puff may bear the gunwale lower without warning. At the moment it dips the boat will almost certainly fill and capsize. The details of reefing will depend upon the rig, but a few general rules may be laid down. The men should be stationed before beginning, and should always remain seated. One hang lowers the halyards, as much as may be necessary. another hauls down on the leech and shifts the tack. The sheet is hauled in a little to let the men detailed for the reef points get hold of and gather in the foot. The sheet is then slacked and shifted, the reef points passed, the halyards manned, the sail hoisted, and the sheet trimmed. It is important to keep the boat under command while reefing. For this she must have way enough to obey her rudder. If she can be luffed a little and still be kept going through the water sufficiently to obey the rudder, then it is wise to luff, but not sufficiently to risk losing control.

If the boat has more than one sail, it is a safe plan to reef them one at a time when the sea is dangerously heavy.

Jibing-A boom sail is jibing when it swings from one side to the other, the wind being aft or nearly so, and the sail full, first on one side and then on the other. The jibe becomes dangerous when the sail is not kept under the control of a taut sheet or when the wind is of sufficient strength to list the boat and swing the stern violently when its force is shifted to the opposite side of the sail. The violent sweep of the boom across the stern endangers everybody in its path. To avoid jibing because of an unexpected shift of wind or a deep yaw when running off the wind or running free, the sheets must be tended smartly and the tiller put hard down. By doing so, the swing of the boom may be controlled and checked.

If sitting to windward in a fresh breeze, the crew should move amidships when passing under the lee of a vessel or other object, where the wind may fail or perhaps shift.

It is a universal rule in boat sailing that the sheets should never be belayed in any weather.

When sails are properly sheeted and drawing full, a careful watch must be kept for squalls.

As the wind will vary more or less (in apparent if not real direction), it is necessary to be watchful and to bring the boat up or keep her away, from time to time, in order that she may be always at her best.



26 & 27
Oversize page 26 &27 A drawing showing the equipment stowage of a lifeboat.


Drawing of boat showing rigging


Advantage should be taken of the increased wind velocity of a squall in a light breeze. The boat should first be eased off slightly and the sheets eased under the first impulse of the squall and when good headway is obtained, sheeted in and luffed up fully to gain way to windward.

In a stiff breeze the boat should be luffed for a moderate squall to prevent taking water. The luff should be only sufficient to shake, without spilling the sails, thus keeping headway enough to retain control, but with the sheets (as always) in hand. If the squall is a strong one, not only should the boat be luffed promptly but the sheets should be eased off at once. In a sudden emergency the sheets may be let go and control lost, but the longer the boat can be kept under control the better.

When running well off the wind or running free, squalls cannot be met by spilling the sails. More than a touch of the tiller would be required to do so. Accordingly, the only prudent thing is to slack the sheet while luffing.

The tendency of the wind to capsize the boat would be much reduced by running off. Ordinarily this it not a safe maneuver. If the squall becomes too strong there is no recourse but to lower the sails, and the chances are they will bind against the shrouds. There is always the danger of the wind shifting in the squall to such an extent as to gybe the mainsail with force.

When the sea is rough, the sail should be kept fuller than in smooth water. It is more important that the boat be kept going so as to be always under command of the rudder than it is to try to point high to windward. Also, more distance will be gained to windward.

If a heavy breaking sea is seen bearing down on a boat, she should be luffed up to meet it. The boat should be kept away again as soon as the sea has passed. The boat should not be luffed too high because if she loses way she becomes helpless at once.

It is dangerous to be caught by a heavy sea on the beam. Therefore, if the course to be made in rough water would bring the boat into the trough of the sea, the best plan is to run off for a time with the sea on the quarter, then

  bring her up with it on the bow, and so make good the course desired without actually steering it at any time.

Running before the wind in a fresh breeze in a rough sea is the most dangerous point of sailing. The danger of jibing is increased because the boat will certainly yaw considerably despite the very careful steering that will be demanded. As a precaution against jibing, the boom should be lashed to the rail or to a shroud by a lazy guy, which can be loosed quickly in an emergency.

A serious danger in running before a heavy sea is that of broaching to. The boat will yaw considerably, the rudder will be often out of water when it is most needed to meet her, and the sails will be becalmed in the trough of the sea. The situation here is much like that of a boat running in a surf. The yawing will be reduced by keeping the ballast aft and steering with an oar. The jib should always be set, with the sheet hauled aft. It helps to meet and pay off if she flies to against the rudder. A drag towed over the stern of the boat is also helpful. A long bight of heavy line used in this manner makes a rather effective drag.

A further danger is that the boom may dip in the water as the boat rolls and thus capsize the boat. The boom should be brailed up as necessary to prevent this.

The masts should be properly stayed vertical (in the athwartship direction) to the heel. If this is not done, the sails will not give the maximum drive on both tacks. Furthermore, dampening eddy currents will be set up about the mainsail. The masts should be stayed vertical to the keel (in the fore-and-aft direction) or preferably with a slight rake forward of not more than 4 degrees. A mast raked aft reduces the drive of the sail as the luff then does not enter the wind stream normally.

In a light breeze, the sails should be lifted as high as is practicable on the masts as the force of the breeze increases with altitude. As the breeze stiffens, the sails should be spread lower on the mast, in order to reduce the heel of the boat and the leeway.


The type of sail used in the average lifeboat is assembled from bolt width strips of canvas sewed together. Sails are usually reinforced by triangular patches in each corner.

The accompanying illustrations show rigged lifeboats with sails in place. Each part of boat and sail is labeled so that you may easily identify it. Supplement your study of sailing with practical boat handling experience on your own station. Ask your instructors. Make the most of every moment in a lifeboat under sail. Learn by doing because that is the best way to learn.

The clew of a sail is the lower after corner. The foot is the lower edge. The luff is formed by the lower edge. The peak is the after part of the upper corner.

Sails are equipped with reef points which are short lengths of line attached in a line parallel to the foot of the sail.

In the standing lug rig (most common for lifeboat use) the head of the sail is lashed to the spar which is called the yard. Standing lug sails are not secured to the mast.

A sail is hoisted by a block and tackle arrangement called a halyard. A halyard leads from the yard, thru a block in or on the mast and then down to a cleat.

The outward swing of the foot of a sail is controlled by a line called a sheet. It is standard safety practice never to make a sheet fast. This is important to remember because occasion may arise when the sheet must be completely let go to prevent a boat from capsizing. This is true when

  a boat heels (leans) dangerously to windward with the gunnels nearly awash.

A mast is a wooden spar on which sails are raised to give motive power to a lifeboat. It is "stepped into" a socket and embraced by a band attached to a thwart. Shrouds which lead down from the masthead (top of the mast) , lend additional support and are usually led through and made fast to rowlock sockets.

Broach to means to incline suddenly to windward, so as to lay the sails aback and to expose the boat to the dangers of upsetting.

To draw is to fill sails with wind so as to advance a boat on her course.

Luff means to turn the head of a ship toward the wind, to sail nearer the wind and to put the tiller on the lee side.

Reef means to take in reef points, thereby reducing the area of a sail. To make fast a rolled or folded part of a sail is to reef it.

Tack means to change the course of a boat by shifting position of the sails and rudder from one side to the other. When a ship is proceeding on an acute angle (less than 90°) with the direction of the wind on one of her bows and her head is turned toward the wind, permitting her to sail a course making the same angle with its direction on the other bow, she is tacking.

Wear is the operation of bringing a boat on the other tack by turning her around, stern toward the wind. To wear is to veer.

Yaw implies a temporary deviation (change) of a boat from the direct line of her course.

ship drawing



Men in boats should remember that their chance of survival depends primarily on their mental attitude and cooperation with the officer in charge. If you can't be cheerful, be quiet. Experience has shown time and time again that the comfort and the chances of survival of those adrift depend upon frame of mind.

It is recommended that vessels be provided with a few basket stretchers to handle injured men and lower them over the side.

Examine your lifeboats and round off the edges of thwarts, smooth off jagged corners of bolts, rivets, etc., in order that they may not cause additional discomfort.

It has been recommended that on tank vessels and vessels carrying deck cargo of an inflammable nature a wire pennant be attached to the sea painter on the end which is fast to the ship. This to prevent burning and drifting away before the boat is loaded.

Survivors report that persons finding themselves on coral reefs can usually obtain brackish water suitable for drinking by digging down from six to nine inches below the surface of the ground. The hole should be about six to eight inches in diameter. Surface water will collect after a short time and may be scooped out for use. Digging deeper will defeat the end desired as the surface water will be penetrated and salt water reached.

Spigots should be removed from boats even though wooden water breakers are still in use. Well-bucket type of cups now provide the best means of getting water. Spigots may be stepped on and broken off and are a menace under wartime conditions.

  Knotted man ropes down over the bridge front to the forward well deck and over the side of houses have been found extremely useful. Where ports in accommodation spaces are fifteen inches in diameter and over, it is recommended that a man rope be secured above and outside the port and of sufficient length to allow a person coming out through to provide a means of escape.

In order that the best use may be made of the portable emergency lights provided, at least two such lights should be ready for use on the boat deck. Men assigned to boat-lowering stations and their alternates should know the location of these lights. Some forethought should be given to where they are to be placed while the men are working and a hook or a lanyard provided in advance for that specific purpose.

A number of small, sharp hatchets in strategic positions around the ship adjacent to lifesaving equipment will be found useful.

Reels for use with rope falls should be provided with canvas covers to keep any oil thrown up by a torpedo or mine explosion from soaking the first layer. Such a cover also protects the falls from ice.

Boat compass cards with luminous markings, should be used if possible.

Salt-water soap has been found very useful to survivors on boats and rafts.

Whistle Signals-Be sure you know the signals of the whistle. For boat stations-six short and one long. Regulation signals for handling boats: lower, one short blast; stop lowering, two short blasts; dismiss from boats, three short blasts.

Do not sit on hatches or make your bunk on them for the night. Men have been lost because


they were on the hatches when the torpedo struck. The same applies to sitting on rails. Be in a position at all times to best maintain your balance and keep from going overboard should the ship be struck.

Difficulties have been experienced by survivors in lifeboats from torpedoed vessels in readily determining the position of the blade of the oar in the darkness, consequently, rowers "catch crabs" with consequent confusion to the boat's company. It has been suggested a flat place be planed on the loom of the oars near the handle to run parallel with the blade so that the position of the blade relative to the handle can be readily determined by touch.

Oil thrown up by explosions frequently has made lowering of the boats difficult. It has been suggested that boxes or buckets of sand near lowering positions would be extremely useful. In colder weather sawdust mixed with sand can be used.

Have the flashlight in its watertight container in the lifeboat in a definite place so that it can be found even at nighttime. Persons assigned to the boat should know its location in order that it may be used after the boat is afloat to locate and pick up persons in the water.

Lash all lifeboat gear securely in the boat. On a recently torpedoed tanker the lifeboats were dropped into the water from the after fall. Most of the equipment fell out. Don't let this happen to your boats. Be sure to lash the equipment into the boat. Don't forget to lash the oars.

Have the steering oar of the boat ready to use. It will have to be lashed in, of course, but paint the blade or perhaps the whole oar white in order that it may be readily picked out. Replace the steering rowlock with a wire grommet unless the steering rowlock is substantial and securely attached. This rowlock should be on the outboard side.

If your vessel has open decks below the lifeboat position, fit horizontal or vertical bars as required by regulation, to prevent boats' swinging in under them on the high side. Check all projections below and do something about them either with wooden plugs or other fittings. Watch wind chutes below the boat positions.

Free all watertight doors which have to be opened or closed at sea. If necessary, provide additional mechanism in order that they may be easily closed. Otherwise men will leave them open. Shaft alley doors are important in this respect.

  Lash fire extinguishers (portable type) into position. If needed, the lashing can be quickly cut with the sharp jackknife which all seamen carry. Otherwise, concussion will knock them down and they will be found operating and flooding spaces with foam or soda acid solution, which creates more confusion and makes decks slippery.

Check antenna halyards. Be sure the safety link recommended by the Federal Communications Commission is provided. Wire halyards are recommended. Emergency antenna should be strongly rigged to separate supports from those holding the main antenna.

Keep all accommodation doors lashed open. If hooked back, mouse the hook or otherwise secure it. Concussion will slam doors closed if they are not lashed and the alteration of the ship's structure may make it impossible to open them. Doors which are closed will probably be jammed closed. Put some handrails or lines in the alley ways. If the ship starts down by the head or stern, it is very difficult to get up through a fore and aft alley way unless lines or rails are fitted.

Secure all loose items of deck equipment, stores, and odds and ends. If you are torpedoed, this stuff thrashing around will cause you no end of difficulty. In one case a box of life preservers was not securely lashed and slid across the boat deck into a lifeboat. Battery boxes and all such items should be securely lashed.

Fire-resistant canvas-The use of canvas which has been treated with fire-resistant material in fabricating boat covers or awnings would be desirable. A fire-resistant paint that is fairly efficient is available to paint existing lifeboat covers.

In several casualties the whistle cord has been drawn taut by the change of the ship's structure after the torpedo struck. The continual blowing of the whistle consequently made it next to impossible to hear orders and instructions. It has been suggested that a long safety loop be inserted in the whistle pull and seized with material of sufficient strength to hold when the whistle is manually blown, but which would break under any undue strain, the release of the loop providing sufficient slack to allow the whistle valve to remain in the shut position.

Remember if you have to abandon ship you will need some warm clothing, even in the tropics due to the damp, cold night air. In this connection, protection from the sun is particularly


important. Take a hat. Keep these clothes where you can get them quickly at any time.

If you are engaged in converting air tanks for use as drinking-water tanks to provide the additional water now required, i.e., 10 quarts per person, be sure that the old tanks are not painted with red lead on the inside. Red lead or any lead-containing paint on the interior of drinking water tanks should be strictly avoided as even the smallest amount of lead dissolved in drinking water has extremely injurious results and causes lead poisoning. There are commercial preparations specially designed for painting the interior of metal fresh-water tanks. Information concerning them may be obtained from merchant marine inspectors or from Headquarters.

There have been several cases during the present war where survivors have been able after the initial abandonment, to reboard their ship and aid in bringing her into port under escort. In more than one of these cases it would have been possible to raise steam on the damaged vessel if, prior to the original abandonment, the fuel oil supply to the boilers had been cut off. The importance of carrying out this simple procedure, if the position where the shutoff valves are located (remember extensions above bulkhead deck are fitted) is accessible after enemy action, should be stressed and the reason discussed with the engineers and responsible members of the engine department. Drills should include instruction in shutting down these valves.

Every member of the crew should know the location of the releasing gear in the boats and its method of functioning. Paint the releasing rod or handle white as well as the surrounding area in order that it may be quickly distinguished.

Officers and men carrying out rescue work during the war have experienced many occasions where the difficulty of taking men rapidly from the water has caused considerable loss of life. Men adrift in life jackets and in a semiconscious or stunned condition cannot readily be taken aboard by a line unless some harness or belt is fastened around them to which the hoisting line can be fastened. Regular safety belts are recommended for use in this connection. Such a belt worn over a regular life jacket or an improvised safety harness fabricated of, say, one-inch rope can be utilized. If made of rope the two suspender ends should be spliced into the belt on the back and threaded through

  in a cross at the center of the back, the ends to lead over the shoulders. These ends should each be fitted with an eye splice through which the front part of the belt can be threaded and the free ends tied in front. Rescue vessels may utilize lines fitted with snap hooks which can be readily attached at the cross in the back thus allowing the man to be quickly drawn up over the side or into the rescue boat. It is recommended that the safety belt or harness be worn at all times when life jackets are worn.

The maintenance of bodily health and vigor while being confined to the space afforded in a lifeboat can only be accomplished by a certain amount of exercise. Sitting continuously in one position on thwarts or side benches impedes the circulation and the nervous supply to the legs. The remainder of the body suffers impairment due to the lack of exercise. Ingenious efforts on the part of the officer in charge can do much to improve this situation. For example, when under sail men can be exercised by placing the oars in position and rowing them back and forth in the air. In the lower latitudes survivors have reported enjoying swimming and hanging over the side of the boat thus obtaining refreshment from immersion in the sea. They have stated that such bathing allayed their thirst and improved their digestion.

Every opportunity should be taken to improve the knowledge of handling lifeboats under sail. Survivors have found that a lifeboat can be sailed closer to the wind by improvising a boom from a boathook to stiffen the foot of the sail.

Survivors adrift in lifeboats or on rafts are unlikely to have any bowel action. The small amount of food ingested and the limited amount of drinking water is responsible for this condition. Medical authorities advise that the use of laxatives under such conditions will do far more harm than good, inasmuch as their use deprives the body of large amounts of water. The action of laxatives further disturbs the digestion of the food already in the stomach. Do not worry about apparent constipation.


If you land on islands without people, follow these instructions:

Water-Dig a hole at low tide just below high water mark. The water which runs in may be salty and discolored, but it can be used. Drink moderately the first day, or it may make you sick.

If there is a salt marsh or pond behind the


beach, dig near the foot of the slope which runs to it. You find fresh water from three to five feet down. Since fresh water is lighter than salt, go no deeper than where you first find it.

On jungle islands, water may be found at the base of the leaves of air plants growing in the trees. Strain out bugs and wigglers. The water is good to drink.

Standing fresh water anywhere in the tropics is dangerous. Boil it, if you can, before drinking. You can boil water in a section of bamboo before the fire burns through. Or heat stones in the fire, pick them up with branches bent like tongs, and throw them in. Begin with a little water and then add more water and more stones.

Where there are no people, running water is usually safe.

Turtles-Turtles come ashore, mostly at night, to lay their eggs. Turtle eggs are good. Find them by following the trail the turtle makes across the sand to where the eggs are buried. Dig them up. When cooked, turtle eggs do not get hard like hen's eggs. Eat them cooked or raw. Bite a hole in the shell and squeeze.

To turn a sea turtle on land, catch it by the shell near a hind leg and lift quartering forward. Once turned it cannot get away.

Plants-Most tropical fruits, but not all, are good to eat. Some are unsafe. At the very top of many palm trees is a large tender bud or cabbage. Cut it out and eat it raw or cooked. The trunks of some palms, if cut into, will drip good water.

Rattans, long slender vines with sharp curved thorns, also have cabbages at the top. Good drinking water will often flow from the cut stem of a rattan.

The thick stem of a growing bamboo, like rattans and palms, holds drinkable water. Cut off the stem and catch the water as it drips. Bamboo sprouts up to a foot high can be eaten raw or boiled. So can young leaf sheaths of bamboo.

Coconuts contain delicious, cool nutritious water (called coconut milk) and valuable white meat. Strip off the husk and break in.

Breadfruit is oval, about six inches across, with a warty surface. To roast it, put it in a hole in the ground, cover it with leaves, lay hot stones around it, and cover the whole with dirt.

Food from Fresh Water-Fresh-water fish of any kind, fresh-water snails, shells, crabs, shrimps, and crawfish are all unsafe to eat unless thoroughly cooked. Cook fish like

  bread fruit. The snails and others, drop alive into boiling water. Use your dip net to catch freshwater shrimps. They often hang to branches that dip in the water, and can be lifted out. Or make a dam in a stream out of mud, sand, or whatever you have, and look for shrimps when the water drains out below it. Eat the shrimp meat but spit out the shells.

Food Along Shore-Fish are found in pools on reefs, in shallow water, or among rocks at high or low tide. Use your harpoon or block the opening of a pool at high tide so the fish cannot get out. Poisonous puffers sometimes go into fresh water. When cooked, the flesh of other fish in fresh water is never poisonous.

Fish are sometimes found out of water on rocks or trees. They are good to eat.

In parts of New Guinea there are great spiders which may help you. Make a flat net by bending a branch and passing it back and forth through a number of the webs. Then bait it with a bug and set it where small fish can see it. Their teeth will get tangled in the web.

By dragging several of the great leaves of coconut palms through shallow water, fastened together, fish may be driven ashore.

Shellfish-Shellfish and their juices are good to eat and drink, whether cooked or raw. Many bury themselves in the sand, leaving small holes. Dig for them. You may find shellfish also among the rocks, hanging to the branches of trees that dip in the water, or crawling on the bottom at low tide. Land crabs, carrying sea shells on their backs, are often very common.

Only two kinds of sea shells are dangerous. Each is in a single piece. One is shaped like a sharp spindle. The other is thicker, rounder, open the length of the shell, and shaped like a short flat cone at one end. They are found in tropical parts of the Pacific and Indian Oceans. The animals inside the shells have poison teeth and are dangerous. Let them alone.

Animals and Insects-All animals are safe to eat-monkeys, bats, lizards, land turtles, frogs, and even snakes, including poisonous snakes, if they have not bitten themselves. Snakes taste like frog legs or the white meat of chicken. Grubs found in the ground or in rotten wood make good food. So do grasshoppers, toasted on a stick. Pick off legs and wings before cooking. But do not eat any caterpillar. Many are poisonous.

Birds-All birds are good to eat, cooked or raw. Their blood and livers are eatable.

Birds will sometimes light on the boat or on


your back or head. Catch every bird you can. Save the feathers. Use them to make fishing jigs. Stuff them inside your shirt to keep you warm. Or skin the whole bird, take the meat and bones out of the wings, and leave the wings attached to the skin. Dry the skin with the feathers on it in the sun and use it to wrap around your neck or cover your back. The meat, guts, and even the toes of birds make good bait.

Birds follow schools of fish and show you where they are. When feeding on a school, birds sometimes get so excited that you can get right up to them and harpoon them. Watch for fish also.

You can sometimes catch small birds with your dip net. Larger birds will often take a bait of fish on a hook trolled or dragged on top of the water. If nearby, they will often come after chum or a piece of fish tossed into the air.

People-Nearly all native peoples are friendly to Americans. Show them that you are friendly too. Except along the coast and in the Northern mountains of New Guinea, you can almost always go to them safely for help.

Note-These instructions do not and cannot cover all cases. The best advice of all is to keep using your head. Many other men before you have saved their lives by doing just that.


Minimizing the Effect of Explosions-Blast-If bomb hits are anticipated and duties permit, lie flat on the deck with the head and body hard against a ledge side or deck, to minimize exposure both to the blast wave and to fragments, and to prevent being thrown. Standing with the head against something solid offers similar, although somewhat less effective, protection. Heavy clothing tends to cushion the impact of the blast wave against the body; the most severe cases of blast injury are likely to be seen in those who are lightly clad or stripped for action at the time of the incident.

Flash-The burns caused by flash from explosions are common and affect the parts of the body which are left uncovered. Therefore, when there is any risk of flash burns, keep the skin covered as far as possible, if only by thin clothing. The protection offered by your garments is increased if they are wet.

Going Overboard-If you do not get away in a boat, go over the lower side if the ship has listed. Use a ladder or a line, if available. If you go over the upper side you will be in danger

  of being badly hurt by barnacles and marine growths and of fracturing your ankles by hitting your heels against the bilge keel. When the lower side of the listed vessel happens also to be the weather side, take care to avoid being washed back on board, and in this case, if possible, take to the water from the bow or stern, whichever is the lower.

If you have to jump from the ship into burning oil you may, if you are a good swimmer, be able to avoid being burned. For best results, adopt the following procedure, which has been tested and proved successful: Jump feet first through the flames. Swim as long as you can under water, then spring above the flames and breathe, taking a breast stroke to push the flames away, then sink and swim under water again. Men have been able to navigate up to 200 yards of burning oil in this way. To be able to do this, however, you will have to remove your lifebelt and other cumbersome clothing.

In the Water-Many men have lost their lives through losing their heads and thrashing about in the water. Look for a lifeboat or raft, or some other floating object; swim slowly towards it and get on board or support yourself with it. Do not exhaust your strength by swimming about uselessly. Your red light will attract the attention of your mates in the lifeboat at nighttime. Remember that a red light indicates a man to be picked up, a white light indicates a raft, float, or buoy.

Protection Against Sun and Heat-Rig up an awning if you possibly can, and try to arrange some cover for the man at the tiller.

Do not take off too many clothes; they will protect your skin against sunburn. Do not forget this also applies to your legs and feet, which should be kept covered or in the shade. Remember that even in misty weather you can get badly sunburned. Protection against tropical sun can be secured by wearing a shirt or vest or some form of headgear kept wet by occasional soaking in sea water.

Various substances give protection against sunburn. Fuel oil will not give protection, and greasy preparations such as ointments tend to "fry" the skin and should not be used.

You can protect your eyes against the glare of the sun on the water by improvising some kind of eyeshade. Thus, you may tie a cloth or

bandage over your nose, so that when you look straight forward it hides the horizon and cuts off glare coming from the water. Sun glasses are good and may be included in a metal case


with your papers, et cetera; in your personal abandon-ship kit or money belt.


Keeping Afloat-The seaman who finds himself in the water miles from shore is certainly not going to try to swim to shore. Instead, he will try to keep afloat until such time as he is rescued. Keeping afloat in the water any length of time depends upon many factors. Energy must be conserved to remain afloat in the water. The seaman's ability and previous training in swimming will affect his chance of staying afloat. The type of sea-that is, cold, rough, warm, calm, or oily water-will in all probability play a great part in what the seaman can do to stay above the surface. In the following paragraphs these factors will be more fully discussed.

Life Jacket-Wreckage-Let us assume that a sailor finds himself in the water approximately 30 miles from shore. What can he do to help himself until he is rescued ? If he has had time to make use of a life jacket, then he is in a position of comparative safety for some time. However, if, as in many cases, he is not able to get to the life jacket, then it will be necessary for him to make some adjustment. Any floating debris that he can reach will be of help in keeping him up. If there is little or no wreckage, then he will have to depend upon his own swimming ability.

Methods of Floating-What can he do to maintain himself in the water? First, it must be remembered that he may have to remain in the water for some hours. For this reason, floating will be of great use to him. Most individuals can float on their back with a slight movement of the arms or legs. (It should be noted that the seaman should take off his shoes either before he enters the water or during the time he is in the water. Shoes or boots often fill with water and cause a "heaviness" in the legs.) In the position of floating on the back the seaman can rest and breathe without much difficulty. The arms should be kept in the water and moved slowly, approximately the same as the oars of a boat when rowing. They may be moved alternately or together. The leg action should be a slow kick, preferably an up and down kick of the legs. The arm stroke or the leg stroke should be carried on slowly and with a short arc of movement. Slow, relaxed stroking conserves energy and, hence keeps the swimmer afloat with a minimum use of energy.

  Dog Paddle-Breast Stroke-If locomotion is needed to swim to a raft or lifeboat or away from a sinking ship, then the seaman may employ the dog paddle or a modified form of the breast stroke. When the modified breast stroke is used the breast-stroke kick should not be used because it requires too great an expenditure of energy for the distance that the swimmer can get from that leg action. Instead, it is prescribed that the up-and-down kick of the legs with the breast-stroke movement of the arms be employed in this modified breast stroke. Both the dog paddle and the modified breast stroke are quite effective in sea water. These two strokes are extremely efficient in terms of the amount of energy needed to use them and the distance that can be covered.

Oil-covered Surface-These two swimming strokes are also advocated because they are most effective when swimming through oil-covered water. By using the modified breast stroke a path can be cleared through the oily water by pushing the oil away from and to the sides of the swimmer. Thus a clear path for swimming is opened in front of the swimmer. This same clearing of the oily water can be done when swimming the dog-paddle stroke. A few facts should be noted concerning the problem of swimming through oil-covered water. As has been indicated above, the strokes suggested are the most effective. However, it should be remembered that, when coming up through the oil surface after having jumped or dived into the water, the eyes and mouth should be kept closed until the shoulders are clear above the oily surface. With the shoulders above the surface the seaman can then open his mouth and inhale quickly. He should also open his eyes in order to check on his position in the water. It should be emphasized that the swimmer should not inhale until he has come clear above the surface of the oil-that is, approximately to the shoulders. Exhale through the nose and mouth. The sailor should check the direction of the wind before going into the oil-covered water. He should swim to the windward so that he can get away from the oil patch on the surface of the water as quickly as possible.

Underwater Swimming-Another good means of swimming through oily water is underwater swimming. While under water, the seaman should swim as far as he possibly can, by using either the dog-paddle stroke or the modified breast stroke. It will be necessary, of course, to change the stroke somewhat since the sailor


is swimming completely immersed. After swimming as far under water as possible, the seaman should then come up above the water so that his shoulders are clear of the surface before he inhales again. He then should submerge and swim as far as he can go before coming up again to breathe. These methods described above can help the seaman navigate though oily water if and when necessary.

Keep Calm and Relaxed-It must be emphasized that the safety of the swimmer under any swimming conditions depends upon the swimmer's own ability, calmness, and appraisal of the situation and his previous swimming training. Hasty, panicky actions may be harmful to the seaman. Occasions will arise when the utmost stress is placed upon the individual seaman. Not only his own life, but the lives of his shipmates may depend upon his own individual intelligence and calm actions.


The recognized nomenclature of the principal parts of boats and their fittings is as follows:

Apron-A timber fitted abaft the stem to re-enforce the stem and give a sufficient surface

  on which to land the hood ends of the planks.

Beams-Transverse supports running from side to side to support the deck.

Bilge-The part of the bottom, on each side of the keel, on which the boat would rest if aground.

Binding strake-A strake of planking, usually thicker than other planks, fitted next to and under the sheer strake.

Blade, oar-The broad flattened part of an oar as distinguished from the loom.

Boat falls-Blocks and tackle with which the boats are hoisted aboard at davits.

Boat hook-A pole with a blunt hook on the end to aid in landing operations or hauling alongside.

Boat plug-A screwed metal plug fitted in the bottom planking of the boat at the lowest point to drain the bilges when boat is out of the water.

Boom-The long pole or spar used to extend the foot of a fore-and-aft sail; for example, main boom, jib boom.

Bottom boards-The fore-and-aft planks secured to the frames, or to floor beams, forming the floor of the boat, frequently removable.


Bowsprit-A small metal or wood spar attached to the bow to take the jib stay.

Braces, rudder, upper, and lower-Strips of metal secured to the rudder, the forward ends of which fit over the rudder hanger on the stern-post, thus securing the rudder and forming a pivot upon which the rudder swings.

Breaker-A small cask for carrying potable water.

Breast hook-A wood or metal knee fitted behind the stem structure.

Cabin-A compartment, usually for passengers, in a covered boat.

Capping-The fore-and-aft finishing piece on top of the clamp and sheer strake, at the frame heads, in an open boat.

Carling-A fore-and-aft beam at hatches.

Chain plate-A metal plate with an eye in the upper, fitted at the deck edge or gunwale to take the shrouds or shroud whips; also used for steadying lines during lifting.

Chock-A metal casting used as a fair-lead for a mooring line or anchor chain.

Clamp-A main longitudinal strengthening member under the deck in decked-over boats and at the gunwale in open boats.

Cleat-A horned casting for belaying lines. Clew (of a sail)-The lower after corner of a fore-and-aft sail.

Cockpit-A compartment, usually for passengers, in an open boat.

Deadwood-Timber built on top of the keel or shaft log at either end of the boat to afford a firm fastening for the frames and to connect the keel to the end timbers.

Fenders-Portable wooden or rope sennit bumpers hung over the side during landings to protect the hull.

Flat-A walking surface in the engine room or any special platform, such as the coxswain's flat.

Floors-The transverse timbers which re-enforce the frames and carry the strength athwartships across the keel.

Footlings-Bottom boards or walking flats attached to the insides of the frames on boats.

Foot of sail-The lower edge of a fore-and-aft sail.

Foresheets-The portion of the boat forward of the foremost thwart.

Frames-The ribs of the boat; curved timbers, frequently steam bent, secured to the keel and extending upward to the gunwale or deck.

Gaff-A spar used to extend the upper edge of the quadrilateral fore-and-aft sail of a sloop or a schooner rig.

  Garboard-The lowest strake of outside planking next to the keel.

Gooseneck-A hook-shaped fitting on forward end of main boom, used for securing the latter to the mainmast. It permits free movement of the afterend of the boom in any direction, with the gooseneck as a center. Sometimes called a pacific iron.

Grapnel-A small multiple-fluked anchor used in dragging or grappling operations.

Gripes-The fitting used to secure a boat in its stowage position on board ship. For boats secured at the davit heads, gripes are made of tarred hemp woven with a wood mat, backed with canvas, to hold the boat against the strong-back. For lifeboats, the lower ends of the gripes are usually fitted with a slip hook. For boats secured in cradles, the gripes are usually of metal, tightened with turnbuckles and arranged to prevent the boats from lifting from the cradles when the deck becomes awash.

Gudgeons-Small metal fittings, similar to eyebolts, secured to the sternpost of very small boats on which the rudder hangs. Used in place of the rudder hanger of larger boats.

Gunwale-The upper edge of the side of an open boat.

Halyards-Ropes used to hoist and lower heads of sails or the yards or gaffs which spread heads of sails; also flag and signal hoists.

Hanger, rudder-A vertical strip of metal, secured to the sternpost, forming the traveler upon which the rudder braces are secured.

Head of sail-The upper corner of a triangular sail. The upper edge of a quadrilateral sail.

Heel of mast-The lower end of the mast; the end of the mast which fits in the step on the keel.

Hoisting pads-Metal fittings inside the boat often attached to the keel to take the hoisting slings or hoisting rods.

Horn timber-The after deadwood (often called counter timber) fastening the shaft log and transom knee together.

Keel-The principal timber of a boat, extending from stem to stern at the bottom of the hull and supporting the whole frame.

Keel stop-A small metal fitting on the keel, at the afterend, to act as a stop in locating the boat in a fore-and-aft position on the keel rest when stowing the boat in the cradle.

Ketch rig-A two-masted sailing rig with the larger sail forward. It can be designed with either triangular or boom and gaff sails. The jigger mast is stepped forward of the tiller, thus


differentiating it from the yawl rig which has the jigger mast stepped abaft the tiller.

Keelsons-Fore - and - aft structural timbers either above or outboard of the keel.

Knee-A shaped timber for connecting construction members installed at an angle to each other. Some knees are sawed from straight grained wood, while in other cases the grain follows the natural bend of the tree at a limb or root.

Leech-The after edge of a fore-and-aft sail.

Leather-The portion of an oar which rests in the rowlock. This is sometimes covered with canvas, but is usually covered with leather.

Loom-Rounded portion of an oar between the blade and handle.

Luff-The forward edge of a fore-and-aft sail.

Lug rig-Applied to large quadrilateral sails bent to yards that hang obliquely to the mast. the halyards being secured nearer to one end of the yard than to the other. In the "standing lug" rig the foretack is lashed or hooked to an eyebolt on the after side of the foremast.

Main boom-The boom on the mainmast which spreads the foot of the mainsail.

Mast clamp-A metal fitting for securing a mast at athwart.

Mast step-A small metal receptacle on the keel in which the heel of the mast rests.

Norman pin-A metal pin fitted in a towing post or bitt for belaying the line.

Pacific iron-Gooseneck fitting for securing the boom to the mast. (See Gooseneck.)

Painter-A rope used in the bow for towing or for securing the boat.

Peak-The upper after corner of a quadrilateral fore-and-aft sail.

Pintles-Small straight pieces of metal secured to the rudder and fitting in the gudgeons on the sternpost of very small boats, thus supporting the rudder. Pintles and gudgeons are used in place of the rudder braces of larger boats.

Plank-sheer-The outermost deck plank at the side.

Reef points-Short ropes attached to a sail which are used to shorten sails in heavy weather.

Risings-The fore-and-aft stringers inside a boat, secured to the frames, on which the thwarts rest.

Rowlocks-Forked pieces of metal in which the leathers of oars rest while pulling. Sunken rowlocks are those which are set down in the gunwale of the boat. Swivel rowlocks rotate, the

  shank of the rowlock fitting in a socket in the gunwale.

Sail tracks-A device fitted up the mast on the after side in which slides, attached to the sail, travel in hoisting; used in lieu of mast loops.

Shaft log-A timber connecting the keel to the after deadwood, through which the shaft passes.

Sheer-The line of form at the side which the gunwale or deck edge follows in profile.

Sheer strake-The uppermost strake of planking at the side following the line of sheer.

Sheets-The lines secured to the clew of a sail, or to the main boom, used to trim the sail and hold it in position.

Shrouds-Lines stretched from the masthead to a boat's rail. They support the mast on each side.

Shroud whip-Lines used to haul the shrouds taut.

Side fender-A longitudinal timber projecting beyond the outside line of the hull planking, often metal-faced, to protect the hull.

Slings-Gear made of wire rope and close-link chain for handling boats at booms or cranes.

Sloop rig-Consists of a large fore-and-aft quadrilateral sail with gaff, boom, and jib. With triangular mainsails without gaffs, it is often called a Marconi rig.

Spars-Masts, booms, and gaffs upon which, when stepped in the boat, the sails are spread.

Sprit rig-Consists of a single mast carrying a large quadrilateral sail, the peak of which is held out by a light, movable, wooden sprit which, when in place, extends from the peak of the sail to a rope stirrup on the lower part of the mast.

Steering rowlock-A form of swivel rowlock, fitted near the stern of a whaleboat or motor whaleboat, in which the steering oar is shipped; sometimes called a crutch.

Stem-The upright timber in the forward part of a boat, joined to the keel by a knee.

Stem band-A metal facing or cutwater fitted on the stempost.

Stem heel (The forward deadwood)-A timber, often called the sole piece, used to connect the stem knee to the keel.

Stern fast-A stern painter for use in securing the stern of a boat.

Stern hook-Same as breast hook, for stern on a double-ended boat.

Sternpost-The principal vertical piece of timber at the afterend of a boat, its lower end fastened to the keel or shaft log by a stern knee.


Stern sheets-The space in the boat abaft the thwarts.

Strakes-Continuous lines of fore - and - aft planking. Each line of planking is known as a strake.

Stretchers-Athwartship, movable pieces against which the oarsmen brace their feet in pulling.

Stringers, bilge-Longitudinal strengthening timbers inside the hull.

Strongback-The spar between the davits to which a boat is griped.

Tack-The forward, lower corner of a fore-and-aft sail.

Tarpaulin-A waterproof fabric cover to keep stores dry while being transported.

Tholepin-A pin fitted in the gunwale plank for use in place of a rowlock. Used with Manila ring about five inches in diameter, called a tholepin grommet.

Throat-The forward, upper corner of the quadrilateral fore-and-aft sail in a sloop rig; also called the nock.

Thrum mats-Mats made of a small piece of canvas, with short strands of rope yarn sewed on them, called "thrumming." These are placed between the rowlocks and the oars to prevent noise in pulling.

Tiller-A bar or lever, fitted fore and aft in the rudder head, by which the rudder is moved.

Topping lift-A line used for supporting or hauling up the boom of a fore-and-aft sail.

Towing bitts (Often called towing posts)-A vertical timber securely fastened for use in towing or mooring.

Trailing lines-Small lines secured to the boat and around the oars to prevent the latter from getting adrift when trailed from swivel rowlocks.

Transom-The planking across the stern in a transomed boat.

Traveler-A metal rod on the stern to carry the main sheet block.

Truck-A fitting, usually of metal, fitted at the upper end of a flagstaff or mast.

Yard-A spar to which the head of a square or lug sail is attached. The term lug is applied to the forward part of it when it has to be dipped (in some rigs) from one side to the other of the mast in going about.

Yoke-Athwartship piece fitting over the rudder head, by which the rudder is moved by yoke ropes when the tiller is not shipped.



The following are the essential commands in leaving and arriving and should be learned thoroughly by all hands:

Stand by the Oars-Beginning with the stroke oar on each side of the boat each man successively clears his oar and places the blade on


the gunwale. The oar is seized by its handle and the blade clear of the other oars. The oars should be kept in a fore-and-aft position insofar as possible.

Shove Off-The inboard bow oarsman pushes off with a boat hook, while the other inboard oarsman assists. As soon as possible both of these oarsmen lay aside both hooks and enter into the next movement without specific orders.

Out Oars-Each man places his oar in the rowlock horizontal to the boat with the blade flat to the surface of the water. Do not let oars touch water. This order is given when the boat is clear of the ship's side. The blades of the oars are thrown outward, permitting the leathers to fall in the rowlocks. Both hands are placed on the handle. This is now the command known as "Oars."

Give Way Together-Each man takes a full stroke with one oar, picking up the rhythm set by the stroke oarsman on his side of the lifeboat. This stroke must be kept accurately and the oars must be feathered on each stroke. Each man will continue to pull a strong and steady stroke in accordance with the rhythm established by the stroke oarsman on his side of the boat. Hands grip handle of oar only.

Feathering an oar is done in order to lessen wind resistance or resistance due to spray. It also serves to minimize resistance in the case of a heavy sea. Feathering is easy to learn by saying "Wrists Up" as you dip the oar before


pulling, and "Wrists Down," as the oar comes out of the water. The recovery should be rapid, shooting the arms out sharply, in accordance with the cadence set by the stroke oarsman.

Oars-At the command "Oars," each man finishes his stroke and brings his oar to rest horizontal to the keel of the boat with the blade flat to the water. This command is given when the coxswain estimates that the boat's headway will carry her to the landing.

Boat the Oars-At this command the crew finishes the stroke and ship their oars, rigging the blades thoroughly inside the gunwale. Oars are boated successively forward to aft. When this command is completed, the blades of all oars are in the forward part of the boat.

Hold Water All-Each man drops the blade of his oar in the water. This action checks the headway of the boat. The blades are held in a vertical position and perpendicular to the keel line. In a laden boat with considerable way upon her, care should be taken to prevent the carrying away of rowlock or oar. Under such condition the blade is vertical and as much of it is immersed in the water as the oar and the man can stand.

Hold Water Starboard-Give Way Port-This command is given to direct the boat's head rapidly to starboard. Starboard oarsmen hold water while port oarsmen continue to row with full stroke.

Hold Water Port-Give Way Starboard-This is given to direct the boat's head rapidly to port. Port oarsmen hold water while starboard oarsmen continue to row with full stroke.

Back Water Starboard-Give Way Port-Maximum speed in turning is accomplished by this command.

Stern All-At this command all oars are backed. In other words, all oarsmen row in reverse.

In Bows-The two bow men boat their oars and stand-by, while the rest continue rowing.

When a boat has considerable headway, the command "Hold Water" should be given first and then "Stern All."

Way Enough-All hands swing their oars in at 45° angle and boat them.

Note difference between the orders "Boat the Oars" and "Way Enough."

"Boat Oars" is given after the order "Oars" and "Way Enough" is used only when men are actually rowing and it is desired to immediately boat oars from that position.



On all ships one of the lifeboats on each side is motor-propelled. In addition to being provided with all equipment required for lifeboats, motor lifeboats- carry at least two one-quart size


carbon-tetrachloride fire extinguishers. Motor lifeboats on passenger vessels are fitted out with a radio installation and a searchlight. The motor is protected by a weatherproof enclosure.

Motor lifeboats may be used to advantage in quickly getting away from the side of a rapidly sinking vessel or when a vessel is on fire, performing rescue at sea and tending and towing non-propelled lifeboats, rafts and floats. In all cases motor lifeboats are fitted out with suitable mast and sail and all accessory equipment necessary to sail the boat after it has performed its function and run out of fuel.


Responsibilities of the coxswain in a modern lifeboat are many. He is the guiding spirit of a lifeboat under oars, since all commands emanate from him. The responsibility of boat and crew is primarily his. He must not only steer and direct his course, but must also consider wind and sea and all other conditions concerning the launching and maneuvering of a lifeboat. He must use his steering oar, commonly called a sweep, to its greatest advantage. His commands must be appropriate, clear, and in all cases he must consider the effect of such


commands. In other words, he must know what will happen and when it will happen. His orders when given must be promptly obeyed by all oarsmen.

He must also consider the weight, balance and the seaworthiness of his boat. Balance is of particular importance, especially in a rough sea and during the process of launching. Weight must be carefully and evenly distributed and as far down in the boat as possible.

There must be only one man in charge of the lifeboat, and in the interest of efficiency, all commands should emanate from him. Even with a senior officer present any orders to the crew should be transmitted through the coxswain.


Passenger vessels shall be equipped with life rafts to accommodate twenty-five per cent of all persons on board, in addition to the lifeboat and buoyant apparatus.


Cargo vessels and tank ships, in addition to the other necessary equipment required, are equipped with life rafts to accommodate all persons on board. The minimum number of rafts is four.


Life rafts or life floats should in all cases be stowed so that they will float free. Life rafts must be stowed on skids, or other means to prevent quick release of the rafts readily into the water. They should be arranged so that they will have the best chance of floating free of the ship, if there is no time to launch them.

Life rafts should be lashed during rough weather at sea to prevent loss. A hatchet or axe should be kept adjacent to each raft so that the lashings can be cut, if necessary. Wire lashing should not be used.

A chain or wire between the pelican hook and the tripping lever is recommended. The use of manila, hemp, or sisal for this purpose is not recommended, as that type of material has a tendency to stretch in dry weather, or under tension, which would cause the raft to move down sufficiently to allow the retainer clips at upper end of raft to disengage. Retainer clips at upper end of raft should be kept engaged at all times by setting up on the turnbuckle when necessary.

Painters for life rafts should be kept ready for use at all times while at sea. Painters should

  not be made fast to the ship by taking turns around cleats, bitts, or other objects. Instead, ends of painters should be secured with a breakable lashing where they will be readily available when launching the rafts, and arranged so that they will not draw the raft under in the event the ship sinks before the rafts are launched. Due to the risk of fouling, painters run through a block at the crosstree and let down to the mast table for use as a gantline while at sea will not be allowed.


Rafts are provided with a through ring in each corner for the purpose of lifting and handling when necessary. The painter should be coiled well up on one corner of the raft and securely seized to prevent its coming adrift unless wanted. In no case should a painter be rove through any block which is fast to the ship, or in any way secured to the vessel. It is preferred that the stowage of rafts should be arranged to raise the raft higher from the water line in order that any lashing could be eliminated.

As in the case of lifeboats, equipment should be frequently removed from rafts, examined and checked. Water should be changed frequently.


Reports from survivors indicate that certain additional equipment with which they had voluntarily stocked their rafts was found extremely useful. A heavy-bladed fish knife, a large piece of canvas which may be rigged as a sail or used as shelter from the sun. A light pole or two which may be utilized in connection with this canvas. You may profit by such experience.

Bridles-Two bridles of manila rope attached to raft or shackles which lift the raft. The painter should be secured to the bight of one of the pulleys so that it may be easily released.

Distress Lights-Twelve self-igniting red distress lights in a watertight metal container.

Drinking Cups-Two enamel drinking cups. One cup is used for measuring marked in one-half ounce graduations.

Drinking Water-At least three quarts of fresh water for each person the raft is certified to carry.

First Aid Kit-One first aid kit to be packed in a metal container. It shall include the following items:

Adhesive compresses
Scissors (blunt)
Ammonia inhalant
Gauze compresses

Tannic acid jelly
Eyepads, adhesive strips, eye dressing
Iodine bandage compresses
Triangular bandages
Gauze bandages
Tourniquet Forceps

Fishing Kit-Each lifeboat shall carry a fishing kit consisting of the following equipment:

Cotton gloves
Hooks attached to cork
Abrasive stone
Dip net
Fishing rigs
Bib and instructions

Life Line-One life line properly secured around the sides and ends of the raft attached to the gunwale in bights of eighteen inches with seine float in each bight. This line should not be secured to the raft by staples, but rather should be rove through holes in the raft.

Manila Line-At least fifteen fathoms of twelve-thread manila line.

Matches-One box of friction matches in a watertight container.

Oars-Four oars lashed to the side of the raft accessible in whichever position the raft may float.

Painter-One painter of manila rope. Painters for life rafts should be kept ready for use at all times while at sea. Painters should not be made fast to the ship by taking turns around cleats, bights, or other objects. It is forbidden to run painters through a block at the crosstree and lead them down to the mast table.

Provisions-The following provisions are provided for each person the boat is certified to carry:

Fourteen ounces of biscuits.
Fourteen ounces of pemican.
Fourteen ounces of chocolate tablets.
Fourteen ounces of milk tablets.

Provision Containers-Metal airtight receptacles.

Rowlocks-Five rowlocks attached by separate chains.

Sea Anchor-One sea anchor of a circular pattern two feet or more in diameter.

Self-Igniting Water Light-One self-igniting water light.

Unless the light is properly rigged in such a manner as to effectively function when the raft is launched, the usefulness of life rafts in the nighttime will be very greatly diminished due to the fact that survivors will be unable to locate them. Electric water lights fitted on rafts should be so rigged as to positively float free of the raft in the lighted position when the raft is

  launched. In order to accomplish this purpose, it is necessary to attach a lanyard at least two or three fathoms in length up to the top or head of the raft on the forward side. The light itself should be placed in its socket or bracket on a board or plank fastened outside the rail approximately ten feet forward of the raft skid.

Signal Flag-One yellow or bright orange bunting flag to be attached to a pole to attract aircraft.

Signal Mirrors-Two stainless steel mirrors with reflecting surface on each side.

Storm Oil-One container holding one gallon of oil so constructed that the oil can be easily distributed on the water and so arranged that it can be attached to the sea anchor.

Bullet Hole Plugs-Twenty-five softwood plugs to plug bullet holes in air tanks. Experience has shown that in addition to wooden plugs, a quantity of rags is most desirable to wrap around the plug when used for closing up jagged holes in tanks. A roll of adhesive tape approximately two inches in width is also a desirable accessory.


All vessels carry a life preserver for each person aboard and an additional twenty-five percent, stored on the boat deck for emergency use.

Vessels which are required to carry a lifesaving suit for each person on board, the approved kapok jacket which is an integral part of the lifesaving suit should be worn at all times when the vessel is outside inland waters. The lifesaving suit should be readily accessible and as near as possible to the station or place of work of the individual seaman. Life preservers should be kept as clean and dry as possible in order that the kapok may be kept in the best condition.



On each seagoing vessel there are provided at least two doughnut-type life floats of at least


fifteen-person capacity. These floats shall be stowed in such position that they may be launched directly overboard, and so arranged that they would have the best chance of floating free of the ship if there is no time to launch them.   An electric water light must be attached to each float by a lanyard.

At least two paddles are to be lashed to the sides of the float. The usual stowage for each float is to be aft. However, one may be stowed in such other position designated by the Master.




The sea anchor is a cone-shaped canvas bag. The open end is fastened to an iron ring which keeps the bag spread out. A bridle is attached to the ring. Secured to the other end of this bridle is a smaller ring or grommet to which the drag line is made fast. A tripping line of smaller size, but two fathoms longer than the drag line is attached to the small closed end of the sea anchor and led through a fair-lead attached to the iron hoop at the open end.

The sea anchor is used as a drag to keep the boat's head to the wind and sea, and to prevent rapid drifting. When held by the drag line, with tripping line slack, it is wide open and drags through the water with considerable resistance. A container of storm oil, having a small opening for the continuous discharge of oil, may be secured to the sea anchor.

  A sea anchor is hauled in by its tripping line which upsets it so that it is brought in small end first with greatly reduced resistance to its passage through the water.

A tarpaulin or anything similar may be attached to some oars lashed together, each being weighted down by attaching to it any heavy object. And after bridling the whole so that it will drag as nearly upright in the water as possible, it may be used very effectively in place of a sea anchor.


In accordance with the International Rules of the Nautical Road (Article 7, Section 4), rowing boats whether under oar or sail, shall have ready a lantern showing a white light, which shall be temporarily exhibited in sufficient time to prevent a collision.


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