Reading about last week’s accident in which the Costa Concordia ran aground near the island of Giglio really reminded me of why every man should be able to save his own life. In an article in the NYT, passengers of the cruise ship describe a Titanic-esque and “chaotic and terrifying scene in which some crawled through hallways to escape down perilous ladders to lifeboats, while others leapt overboard into the wintry Tyrrhenian Sea.” Crew members did not know how to lead the evacuation and those manning the lifeboats were un-trained waiters, not experienced helmsmen. They kept banging the boats into the sinking cruise ship and rowing in circles. On at least one boat, a passenger had to shove aside the poorly prepared helsman to take the lead himself. Many of the passengers made it to shore by swimming; the island was close in this case, but it could have easily been very far away or out of reach all together.
Creek Stewart, who runs Willow Haven Outdoor, has a good motto: “It’s not IF, but WHEN.” Sometime in your life you’re going to need the survival skills and the strength to make it out of a pinch (possibly a life threatening one). Every man should be prepared.