Subject: Re: Cruise News
Well, Cruisers -- there's more to rescue at sea than merely getting into the ship's boats. Keep in mind that the first vessel on the scene may very well be a merchantman or a warship. Boarding will probably involve scrambling fifty feet or more up a swinging Jacob's ladder, hanging down the ship's side, to the lowest hatch or deck. Are you in good enough condition to make such a climb while cold, wet, sick, hungry, and maybe injured? Even if _you_ are, will your progress be impeded by someone less able, physically or mentally or both?

Suggest that immediately after initially boarding (in port of departure) it is worthwhile to plot your own route to your assigned lifeboat, or _any_ lifeboat for that matter. At initial lifeboat drill note the number of physically challenged passengers who will be certain to block access to the boats.

Gretchen is certainly correct with respect to having your turn-out kit prepared and ready for an abrupt departure from the ship. Inclusion of a small, high-intensity, flashlight such as a SureFire (available from law enforcement supply companies) is worthwhile, as are a handful of bars of high-energy food. Also, bringing aboad an E-vacu8 (or similar smoke hood with filter) may save your bacon.

Finally, a chat with the ship's Safety Officer may elicit information which isn't widely disseminated by the cruise company. At least, that has been my experience.