I can still feel the movement of the ship when I close my eyes and think back of working in the Merchant Marine. In order to save on salary costs, shipping companies reduced crew sizes considerably resulting in long shifts on the bridge and in the engine room. No matter how busy the crew was there was always time for safety training. The training focused on possible disasters and emergencies such as fire on board, sinking ship or piracy. The importance of emergency training never seemed to be questioned.
Nowadays, in discussions with representatives of major companies I often hear that there is no time or money to spend on training or training exercises. Or there is acknowledgement of the importance of training, but managers are too busy to organize it. There is a high risk attached to this way of thinking. If an emergency arises and employees have not been trained they may make the wrong decisions leading to injury or loss of life. Just having employees read the procedures is not enough. They may know what to do when being asked, but they may respond differently under stress. The only way to improve the effectiveness of response in an emergency is training, repetition in learning the theory and practicing the drills. Emergency situations may happen and by giving employees proper training, a company will limit the possible consequences to their staff, reduce liability and protect their reputation.
I was never involved in an emergency at sea, but the focus on training made me feel comfortable and limited any liability against the shipping company if something were to happen. It feels pleasant to close my eyes, think back and feel the movement of the ship. Unfortunately, some need to open their eyes and acknowledge they need proper training.