Man Overboard

The four basic things to remember when a person goes overboard are;

SHOUT very clearly MAN OVERBOARD so that everyone on board is aware of the emergency.

THROW a life buoy, throwing line, cushion or anything else to hand, which will help the person in the water to float, and mark their position.

WATCH the person in the water carefully, have someone on the boat point continuously at the person. Record the position on GPS if you have one.

STOP immediately to keep the distance between the person in the water and the boat to a minimum.

Remember that when you turn, the stern (back) of the boat swings and therefore the propeller swings when you alter course. To avoid serious injury, turn the stern (back) of the boat away from the person in the water.

Agree on, and practice, your person overboard drill with all those on your boat, so that everyone is aware of what to do in an emergency situation.

Person overboard is a distress situation. Do not hesitate to call mayday on your VHF radio if you are unable to rescue the person in the water immediately.

Recovery of Person Overboard

Ensuring you are clear of the person in the water, approach the person from downwind (into the wind). Stop the engine when you are near the person, so you can throw a line or they can swim to you.

In small open boats and those with a low freeboard, boarding should be over the boat’s bow (front) or stern (back). If your boat doesn’t have a boarding ladder, use a rope to make a loop over the side for the person in the water to put their foot in to.