Man Overboard

What is Man Overboard?

Man Overboard is a situation in which a ship’s crew member falls out at sea from the ship, irrespective of whether the ship is sailing in swell or in still waters in port.

Causes of Man Overboard

  • Slippery Decks – spray, dew, rain, various oil or chemical, which might lead to MOB situation
  • Distractions – shouts whilst moving along decks, clothes getting caught on hardware, incidents/objects of interest can take attention away from the task in hand.
  • Sudden Changes In Direction – the captain can change direction sharply due to mechanical difficulties, or to avoid close quarter situations and applied emergency manoeuvres
  • Low Gunwales – reaching, leaning or leveraging, against a low side can cause a imbalance and a fall.
  • Excessive Alcohol Consumption – causing  loss of balance and judgment being lost
  • Not Using Secure Handholds – Walking decks without holding on to the boat.

Actions to be taken in Man Overboard Situation by Crew:

  1. Shout ‘Man Overboard on Starboard/Portside’ repeatedly.
  2. Change over steering from auto to manual and put the wheel hard over to the respective side (port or starboard)
  3. Release MOB marker from the bridge wing. This marker is buoyant and has a self-igniting light as well as a self-activating smoke signal which helps the casuality to locate his position
  4. Press the MOB button on the GPS to mark the position of the MOB person for future reference
  5. Sound Man Overboard alarm on whistle (Three prolonged blasts). This is to let the Master and the crew to know about the emergency situation. Supplement this with the appropriate ‘O’(Oscar)  flag
  6. Post extra lookout as soon as possible to ensure the position of casuality.
  7. Announce the MOB situation on the ship’s PA system
  8. Inform the engine room of the situation and let them know that what immediate manoeuvring will be required
  9. Execute the Williamsons turn to rescue MOB person as soon as Possible
  10. Keep a record of every incident in Log Book stated on bridge.

Three different situation in Man Overboard :

  • Immediate Action:

This situation exist when person overboard is noticed from the bridge immediately after the incident occurred and immediate action is taken

  • Delayed Action :

This situation exist when person is reported to the bridge by lookout after certain period of incident occurred and action is initiated with certain delay.

  • Person Missing Action :

This situation exists when person is reported to the bridge is missing.

Recovery of a Man Overboard :

 IAMSAR (International Aeronautical and Maritime Search and Rescue Manual) Volume III has given three primary techniques for the recovery of a man overboard.

A. Williamson Turn :

Man Overboard

This turn is suitable for an immediate action situation where the individual has just fallen over the side

  1. Put the rudder hard over towards the side MOB, to reduce the chances of the vessel’s propeller striking the MOB.
  2. After deviation from the original course by 60 degrees, the rudder is put hard over to the opposite side of original course.
  3. When the heading is 20 degrees less of the reciprocal course, the rudder is brought to midship position of the vessel.
  4. Positive features of this technique ; it makes good the original track; works well in reduced visibility; it’s simple.

B. Anderson turn / Single turn :

This is the fastest recovery method. It is most appropriate turn for ship in clear visibility to recover casualty.

  1. In case of this turn, rudder is put hard over to the side of the casualty. Once you have deviated from your original course by 250 degrees, put rudder midship and perform a stopping manoeuvre.
  2. On the positive side it’s the fast recovery method and it works well for ships with tight turning characteristics however it’s difficult to approach the MOB because you are not on a straight course.

C. The Scharnov turn :

This turn can’t be carried out untill effectively untill the time elapsed between the person falling overboard and the commencement of manoeuvre is known

  • The rudder is put hard over on the side of the casualty to swing stern away from the man. After deviation from the original course by 240 degrees rudder is put hard over to the opposite side of original course.
  • When the heading is 20 degrees short of the reciprocal course, wheel is brought to midship position of the vessel.

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