Prevention is the best solution to avert man-overboard (MOB) accidents before they happen. Take every precaution to avoid such a situation. A passenger or crew member can tumble overboard at any time and under any conditions. If someone must go on deck in any but the most calm weather, wear a safety harness attached to a proper jack line or suitable strong point on the boat. Always wear a PFD that has a highly visible colour. At night, the PFD should have a light attached, preferably a strobe, that automatically lights up when immersed in water.
Rescue Drill: Quick Stop Method
Remember this sequence:
Shout – Throw – Stop – Lookout – Return
Cry “Overboard” to alert all on board that someone is in the water.
Immediately throw the nearest available floating object toward the victim in the water, followed by a proper life ring and/or man-overboard pole.
Immediately, stop the boat.
The lookout is the invisible lifeline between the victim and the boat. One of the crew must point constantly at the victim in the water to guide the helmsman. High waves can obscure the victim and make this essential task very difficult.
Return to the victim’s position as rapidly as possible. When the victim is close abeam, make sure the propellers are completely stopped. It cannot be too strongly emphasized that moving propellers will inflict grave damage to a body.
This procedure can be carried out efficiently only after plenty of practice. Both the approach to the victim and bringing the victim aboard should be practiced until the crew is comfortable with all steps of the procedure.
To learn more about “Emergencies at Seas”, this is highlighted more in our Boating 4 course – learn more.