What is Action in case of Man Overboard ?

Each ship should have a contingency plan in the event that someone falls overboard. The plan should take into account the particular characteristics of the ship, the life-saving equipment available and the size of the crew.

The action taken if the bridge watchkeeping officer observes someone falling from the main deck into the sea. This would include:

  • Executing a Williamson turn or other ship’s turn as appropriate;( wheel hard over to the side of casuality)
  • Sounding the general or emergency squad alarm;
  • Announcing the type of emergency over the public address system so that the rescue boat can be prepared;
  • Assigning a person to the wheel and posting lookouts;
  • Radar “marking” of the man overboard position;
  • Initiating any communication such as a “Pan Pan Pan” message; and
  • Positioning the ship to make a lee and launching the rescue boat.
  • It should be remembered that it may take the master a few minutes to reach the bridge before he can take over the operation and that some decisions need to be taken before he reaches the bridge.
  • The procedure on how to pull a person from the sea into a boat should, when possible, be practised during periods when a ship is at anchor.

In other words, We can Summarize Actions as follow :-

  1. Helm hard over on the side which the man has fallen.
  2. Release lifebuoy with smoke signal.
  3. Press GPS MOB button.
  4. Sound emergency alarm.
  5. Main engines for immediate manoeuvring.
  6. Inform master.
  7. Post lookouts.
  8. Sound emergency signal “O” on fog signal. Broadcast by VHF to all vessels in the vicinity. Hoist ICS flag “O”.
  9. Turn out rescue boat- muster crew and standby.
  10. Continuous monitoring of vessels position on chart.
  11. Rescue the man overboard and put the person in Thermal protective Aid (TPA) to avoid extra body heat loss.
  12. Start the first aid as required.
  13. Update weather reports.
  14. Log book entries.


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