What’s the Etiquette for Abandoning Ship?
Travel Blog • Jim Benning • 01.17.12 | 9:48 PM ET
As we’ve heard, the evacuation of the Costa Concordia didn’t go well after the ship ran aground last week off Italy. Slate asks: What’s the etiquette for abandoning ship? Are there maritime laws that must be followed?
In short, yes. They were issued by the International Maritime Organization.
If an evacuation alarm sounds, cruise-ship passengers are supposed to proceed to the loading area and board a lifeboat that was assigned to them based on their cabin numbers. Some evacuations are far more chaotic than that, and the crew just loads whoever is ready to go. In those emergency situations, men sometimes step aside for the women to go first, but it’s not a matter of maritime law, nor is the tradition observed in many parts of the world.