Bulletin No.: 13/1999

Date (Y-M-D): 1999-11-01

Subject: Muster Lists and the practicing of Emergency Procedures

The purpose of this bulletin is to encourage commercial ship owners, operators and masters to post and maintain muster lists on their ships, regardless of the crew size. It is also to stress the value of regular training in emergency procedures.

After investigating the sinking of a fishing vessel where several of the crewmembers were lost at sea, the Transportation Safety Board ( TSB ) found that the vessel's muster list lacked critical safety information. While the Boat and Fire Drill Regulations do not require a muster list and emergency procedure to be posted on passenger vessels less than 6 crew members, or ships or fishing vessels with less than 12 crew members, all ships would benefit by having muster lists and emergency procedures posted.

A effective muster list and emergency procedure provides crew members with a plan to manage emergency situations. It gives clear instructions to be followed in the event of an emergency for every person on board and ensures that all vital duties are assigned. The muster list also ensures that, on the sounding of the emergency signal, crewmembers and passengers know where to muster. This allows everyone on board to be readily accounted for at the outset of an emergency.

The muster list requirements of the Boat and Fire Drill Regulations should be used as guidance in establishing a muster list,. Muster list entries must take into consideration the number of crew and passengers on board, ship specifics and the emergency equipment on board. The duties related to the use of the communications equipment in an emergency and the carrying to the survival craft of essential safety equipment (i.e., EPIRB , portable VHF radio) should also be assigned.

In addition to the posting of muster lists, periodic emergency drills as well as regular practicing and training in the use of the life saving and fire fighting equipment carried on board is encouraged on all ships. Ships subject to the Boat and Fire Drill Regulations should strictly adhere to its provisions. Training in emergency procedures ensures all crewmembers are familiar with the use of the equipment and are better prepared for an emergency on their particular vessel. Such drills and training will also assist in confirming that the equipment is in operational condition in detecting equipment defects in advance, and in reducing the probability of fatal mistakes being made in an emergency.

In summary, knowing ahead of time what to do in the event of emergency, and being prepared for one, is critical in responding effectively to an emergency at sea, and in increasing everyone's chance of survival. For these reasons, the use of muster lists and the practicing of emergency procedures are strongly encouraged for all commercial vessels regardless of the size of vessel.

Keywords:                                  Questions concerning this bulletin should be addressed to:

1. Boat and Fire Drill Regulations  
2. Muster Lists
3. Emergency Procedures
Robert Turner
Transport Canada
Marine Safety
Tower C, Place de Ville
11th Floor, 330 Sparks Street
Ottawa, Ontario K1A 0N8

To add or change your address, contact us at: marinesafety@tc.gc.ca

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