Of the millions of men going overseas very few will ever experience a torpedoing or any other situation in which they may need to abandon ship. But for those few, the general rules of behavior given here can be as important as a life preserver is to a drowning man.
All transports carry enough modern unsinkable lifesaving equipment to take care of everyone on the ship. Lifeboats and rafts will float indefinitely when properly handled and they carry enough food and water to last far longer than the average time men usually spend on them. There have been stories of men floating several weeks before being picked up but these have been unusual and in practically all cases happened when the ships or planes traveled alone. Troop ships move under convoy. Thus it is not likely that anyone will have to stay in a lifeboat or raft very long.
LEARN THESE SIMPLE RULES – THEY MAKE SENSE
1. The Master of the ship and his officers have spent years at sea. They are best able to issue orders to crews of lifeboats. Keep your head. Keep quiet. Obey their orders at once.
2. Always dress warmly. Sleep in your clothes. Exposure to sun and cold are some of the greatest dangers faced by men who have been forced to spend long periods in small boats.
3. At all times of the day or night keep your life preserver and a full canteen of water with you. Crushing a kapok life preserver together makes it lose buoyancy but this can be regained by fluffing it up as you would do to a pillow.
4. The order to “Abandon Ship” does not mean that you should leave the ship. It means you should go to your “Abandon Ship” station to which you are assigned when you come on board.
5. Jumping overboard is one of the most dangerous things you can do. If you are wearing a cork or balsa wood life preserver it can break your neck when you hit the water, or you may be caught in the ship’s turning propellers.
6. Nets, ladders and ropes hang over the sides of ships at all “Abandon Ship” stations. Use them to board lifeboats or rafts or to get into the water. Get away from the ship fast.
7. You should act on your own only after the order “every man for himself” has been given, even in extreme emergency. If you must jump, go fee first, clinch your life preserver tight to your body with your arms. Put your hands under your chin to hold the preserver down to lessen the shock when you hit the water.
8. Keep clear of the ship’s side. Lifeboats and rafts are unsinkable but both may turn over if not handled properly. Don’t get caught between the ship and lifeboat or you may be crushed.
9. When getting into a lifeboat or raft be sure your feet are on the bottom boards. Sit down at once and keep the greatest weight in the center of the boat to keep it from tipping.
10. Set a good example. You know that your actions will influence others, so keep cool and use common sense. Follow the directions of the person whose job it is to get you through in safety.