27 Feb 12. For those of you who subscribe to our local rag, the Seattle Times, you may have come across a story on the 9th of February dealing with an aspect of water survival training that is given to all Naval air crew as part of their safety and survival training. The facility that houses that device and several other devices is of a design that I put together during our second tour while I was serving as an AMSO (AeroMedical Safety Officer) with the 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing in El Toro, CA, and is the standard for all Navy water survival training facilities. The Navy & Marine Corps take safety very seriously and require annual safety stand downs wherein a full day is devoted to safety training. If the C.O. feels the need, there may be more than one a year. In addition, on every multi-passenger flight there is a safety brief given before the aircraft even taxis to the runway. The operation of the Holland America Cruise Line seems to be similar in that we were required to attend an all hands safety briefing on the Promenade Deck under our assigned ditching station. The briefing was not started until all passengers were both accounted for and present. It was VERY thorough and left nothing out that would be needed to know to safely evacuate the ship should the need arise. I was quite impressed., especially so because it was required to be conducted before the vessel departed. In addition to this drill, the ship conducted drills every day for the crew which included one major fire drill and several smaller fire drills. I had the opportunity of befriending one of the 5 Captains on board, in this case the Captain in charge of the hotel aspects for the boat, and he told me quite a bit about the operation of the vessel including the fact that they regularly have several small fires on each cruise due to folks throwing combustibles into the trash which get ignited when the trash is compacted. Because of such behaviors, he said the cruise was not a chess game and that they leave nothing to chance. A question asked of the Skipper was "How often do these ships sink?" to which he responded "Just once!" As we docked on our return it was somewhat interesting to hear about the cruise liner mishap that had just occurred a few hours earlier in the Med. It seems that not all cruise lines follow the same protocol and do in fact apparently see what they are doing as a game of chance. Lets hope that the Costa Concordia mishap will improve the safety of all those who travel on cruise ships. The image for today is comprised of 9 layers incorporating filters, blending modes, and lighting adjustments. ISO 250; 1/60 sec @ f /16 with flash.