On the Job

The Yacht Catches Fire: How Would You React? Capt. Luke Hammond Weighs In

21 February 2023 By Capt. Lord Luke Hammond
Vessel on fire
iStock/Sergey Denisenko
Capt. Lord Luke Hammond

Capt. Lord Luke Hammond is the captain on board the 45-meter Feadship Bella. He is also the founder of Refrr, a new yacht crew recruitment platform. Refrr aims to solve the problem of connecting people with the right jobs. Sign up to be one of the founding members at www.refrr.io.

The recent yachts catching fire have once again emphasized the significance of yacht crew safety training. The number of yachts going up in smoke seems to be increasing, but what does that have to do with you?

These incidents serve as a reminder of the value of crew training and the necessity for crewmembers to be sufficiently ready for emergencies. All crew should have the information and training necessary to react swiftly and effectively.

Safety on a yacht depends on emergency training and repetitive drills. The crewmember’s knowledge of the safety procedures and regulations to be followed in an emergency is crucial — both fire safety and other emergency protocols, such as man overboard drills, should be covered in crew training.

Regular training on yachts is going to vary for a few reasons, but most commonly, it will be due to lack of time, and a reluctance to put time into training as most see it as a waste of time — until there’s an emergency. It’s then they wish they had taken the steps to train for the scenario.

We have a saying in yachting: “It’s only a matter of time before you get to experience your very own emergency.” Maybe it’s a fire on board, maybe it’s a search and rescue effort, maybe it’s a collision at sea, sinking, or even a medical emergency. Take your pick, but you must ask yourself here: What would you do in a similar situation? More so, what will your other crewmembers do in the situation?

I’ve seen people running, I’ve seen people white faced like they’ve seen a ghost, I’ve seen people freak themselves out, and I’ve seen people frozen with fear. You will never really know until the day comes, but you should know how you will react, and the best way to overcome any fear is to drill and train. Lock it into your subconscious.

Safety on a yacht depends on training. It is crucial that you repeat processes and skills and spend some time to find out what works and doesn’t in real life. Another important thing to remember is if you aren’t doing drills or training on board, you should. And if you’re told that it’s not important, then you have to consider what is important to you.

Yachting is an amazing industry and it’s made even better just having you in the game too! So I’d like to see you stick around for the long term. If you aren’t training for emergency situations, then implement it on board. If you’re told not to worry, start looking for another yacht! No job is worth risking your life.

So be safe, learn, engage, and make sure you have an amazing time in the process.

More related content:
Breaking the Chain of Command: Capt. Luke Hammon Weighs In
How Important is Longevity in Yachting? Capt. Luke Hammond Weighs In


More from Dockwalk