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Safety on board

There are regular safety drills on board, so that everyone knows what to do in case of an emergency. The safety drill was announced ahead of time; once the alarm bells rang, we rapidly collected our life vests and met at the assembly point on deck.

Sicherheitsübung auf SONNE: Sammeln an Deck mit Rettungsweste, warmer Kleidung und Kopfbedeckung. Auf dem Bild von links: Gerrit Wienhausen, Helge-Ansgar Giebel, Meinhard Simon (Arbeitsgruppe Biologie Geologischer Prozesse, ICBM).
Safety drills aboard the Sonne: Meet on deck with the life vest, warm clothes, and a hat. From left: Gerrit Wienhausen, Helge-Ansgar Giebel, Meinhard Simon (Biology of Geological Processes – Aquatic Microbial Ecology, ICBM).


This morning we had our second safety drill since sailing aboard the Sonne. The drill was announced yesterday on the information board, and just before the alarm signal went off, there was an announcement that we were having a drill. Nonetheless, we all got outside to the meeting point quickly – in part to get away from the ear-splitting noise of the emergency alarm.

We wore the required gear to the assembly point: warm clothes, sturdy shoes, and a hat, and each of us carried the life vest that is stored in our cabin. The crew was already waiting for us, ready to call the roll: instead of saying ‘here!’, we answered “starboard” or “port”, depending on the life boat to which we are assigned. There are two large, solid lifeboats on Sonne, and each person is assigned to one of them.

The drill went smoothly; Sonne is very well equipped for emergencies, with two large lifeboats, a number of self-inflating liferafts stored on the upper decks, and the ever-popular “Gumby suits” (survival suits; see photo) for everyone on board. We feel very safe aboard Sonne, and are quite sure that we will only hear the alarms go off for these regular drills.