Why aren't passengers allowed to don their lifejackets until instructed to do so?

GabrielTurner

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7 Apr 2020
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25
Hi everyone, can anyone explain why it is that passengers allowed aren't to put their lifejackets on until they are told to do so in the event of an emergency? From what I've heard crew have to put them on as soon as they get them, meaning that they will be wearing them before they reach the muster station, assuming that they had time to get and don it. Thanks.
 

GabrielTurner

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7 Apr 2020
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25
Get twice as many people in the lifts.
Why? Surely it doesn't matter because you don't use lifts in a muster drill, except for disabled people, and even then they'll have crew escorting them for safety reasons i.e. to simulate what would happen in a real evacuation so that they and the passenger are prepared.

Edit: I forgot that this was about an emergency, not a muster drill. In which case no one is going to be using the lifts full stop, because it's dangerous to use a lift during an emergency, especially a fire or sinking as you could be entombed in there.
 

El Toro

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4 Jan 2022
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We take the life jackets to muster, we don’t wear them. Once we know the nature of the emergency we will decide wether to don them or not. Legend has it that the reason passengers are told not to don your life jacket till your told is because the old life jackets were made of solid cork pads and jumping in from height resulted in them striking you very hard under the chin… jumping in from too high was fatal. Allegedly that’s how a lot of people on the titanic died. Modern cheap ones aren’t great either. If I had to jump in from anything above about 4 meters I’d be doing it without the life jacket on. Also you can’t use life jackets in some of the marine evacuation systems and some lifeboats require you to stow the life jackets and not wear them in.
 

dombuckley

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11 Apr 2005
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Norfolk
In any emergency, the primary aim is preservation of life. To this end, you need to muster all personnel as quickly as possible, to make sure nobody is missing. So it's vital that everybody goes to the muster station immediately and be accounted for.

Remember, many passengers will never have put on a lifejacket in their life before, so may take quite a while, or may need help to do so. If passengers waste time trying to put on their LJ before going to their muster station, search parties may be unnecessarily sent out, taking vital personnel away from fighting the emergency.
 

jamie N

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20 Dec 2012
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Fortrose
A reason is the snag hazard that any lifejacket creates in any tight area, by snagging on all and every piece of kit that they can.
I was involved in the survey of, and removal of possible pollutants from the MV Finnbirch in 2007. The 1st mate had donned his lifejacket, but lost his life when it snagged to a handrail on the Stbd. bridge wing.
A wholly unnecessary death.
 
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