|Safety & Lifesaving - Preventing Man Overboard
|Man Overboard - Workplace Accident - High Pressure Boilers - Stationary Engineer - Low Pressure Steam - Plant Engineers ry - Work on
Ships - Yachts - Tugboats - Lifesaving & Safety of Life at Sea
Man Overboard is one of the worst things a mariner can hear on a vessel. In
Northern latitudes, falling overboard can be a death sentence if proper response
procedures aren't in place. Few things can compare with the horror of being in warm
clothes on the deck of a vessel one minute, and being in 35 degree water the next,
where hypothermia can set in minutes.
Prevention of fatal accidents on the water is one of the goals of the U.S. Coast
Guard. Statistics on the causes of fatal accidents on commercial fishing vessels
were gathered by them for the years between 1992 and 2007. The top causes of
accidents on the water were flooding, capsizing, or capsizing, which topped the list at
57% of casualties.
One look at the Force 11 seas above, and one might wonder if any safety equipment at all
could prevent a catastrophic accident in the course of working at sea. Those mountainous waves
appear to have no respect for survival suits, personal floatation devices, safety strobe lights or
other measures. However, the reduction of fatalities in man overboard accidents is a major
concern in the maritime industry, particularly in the commercial fishing industry, where man
overboard accidents account for 23% of wrongful deaths on fishing vessels.
Work-related accidents involving falling overboard accounted for 23% of wrongful
deaths on fishing vessels.
The U.S. Coast Guard's Commercial Fishing Industry Vessel Advisory Committee
compiled a list of recommendations for preventing man overboard accidents. These
are summarized below:
1. All Crew MUST wear a Personal Flotation Device (PFD) at all times when on the
deck of a fishing vessel whenever gear is being set or hauled, or outside the
protection of the vessel, or on deck in rough weather, or other hazards exist such as
2. Anyone outside of a ships railing, or located in an area where being swept away is
possible, should consider being tethered.
3. Never be on deck alone without notifying a responsible person.
4. Use Man Overboard Alerts, alarms and/or Personal Locater Beacons (PLB), or
Man Overboard Locater Systems.
5. Life Rings should have throw bags with 90 plus feet of line instead of coiled line.
Less tangles and quicker into action.
6. Life Saver Personal Retriever - Thrown like a Frisbee with float line. The ability to
reach MOB victim 80' to 90' away is much better than with a life ring.
7. Dye Markers and Smoke Markers should be ready to deploy in an instant.
8. MOB Flag Pole or Buoy - Have a Buoy or radar reflective Flag Ready for instant
Continued at right, above.
The Coast Guard's list of man
overboard prevention measures is
9. Life ring water activated strobe
10. Review, Consider, Purchase and
USE Rescue Launcher Systems.
One example is the Rescue Rocket.
11. Review, Consider, Purchase and
Maintain a Man Overboard Rescue
Recovery system suitable for vessel
type and fishing conditions. This
Could Be a Life Sling, or a basket
like the Sea Rescue Cage, or a
system like Jason's Cradle.
12. Anderson Turn - for Daylight and
good weather conditions. At night or
with limited visibility the Williamson
turn is the best alternative for locating
14. Trawling - Put the vessel into
neutral and begin hauling gear…this
will effectively pull the vessel
backwards, hopefully toward the Man
15. PRACTICE! PRACTICE!
PRACTICE! No one that has ever
had a Man Overboard Event has later
claimed that they had practiced too
much. WEAR a PFD and Live..don't
wear it and your odds are not good.
Source: United States Coast Guard -
Risk Management Man Overboard