minute you are in the water, swimming for your life.
If you fall overboard and someone hears or sees you
(one of the purposes of the lookout watch), you can
count on being rescued within a few minutes. Such
rescues are made in nearly every instance. However, if
no one sees you fall overboard or hears a cry for help,
youll be missed and rescue procedures will then be put
If you fall overboard, the most important thing to do
is stay calm. Panic will cause you more harm than
almost anything else. If you see any floating debris
nearby, hang on to it. Otherwise, remove and inflate
your trousers. Remember, you can stay afloat for a long
time, even without help, if you use the floating
positions. Dont swim after the ship, because youll
only exhaust yourself needlessly, and the ship may
waste valuable time searching for you at the point where
you fell overboard.
The method used to rescue a person overboard
depends on the circumstances at the time. In daylight,
with good weather, a helicopter (if available) is
normally used. Otherwise, the ships motor whaleboat
is used, or you may be recovered directly over the side of
Helicopters use three basic devices for recovering a
person in the water
1. Sling. If the sling is used, adjust it so that it is
across your back and under your arms with the
hoisting cable in front of you.
2. Net. If the net is used, simply sit in it and hold
3. Two- or three-pronged seat. If a two- and
three-pronged seat is used, sit on the prongs and
wrap your arms around the upright portion.
When a motor whaleboat is used for rescue, the boat
crew helps you into the boat. Also, a swimmer provides
assistance if you are injured or exhausted. Dont try to
enter the boat from astern; you may be injured by the
If neither a helicopter nor a whaleboat can be used
for rescue, the ship will maneuver to a position where a
swimmer, towing a line, can reach you. After the line is
fastened around your body, personnel on deck will haul
you in and hoist you aboard.
While awaiting rescue, remain calm. If sharks are in
the area, float on your back, using as little arm and leg
movement as possible.
To decrease your chances of having to be rescued at
all, observe all safety regulations. Dont lean on
lifelines. Dont go on deck in bad weather unless you
have to. Always wear a life preserver when working in
areas where you are in danger of falling overboard.
Aboard aircraft carriers, dont walk behind a jet plane
turning up its engines because the blast can blow you
Ships frequently hold man-overboard drills. In spite
of precautions, accidents happen. Therefore, when you
are at the beach, dont spend all your time sunbathing.
Practice swimming and floating. Someday your life
may depend on your ability to swim and float.
REVIEW 1 QUESTIONS
Q1. When aboard ship, you should know escape
routes for what reason?
Q2. True or False. You should dive into the water to
Q3. What swimming classification gives you the best
chance for survival if you have to abandon ship?
Q4. If you have to jump from a ship into burning
water, you should
Q5. Which of the following items can you use to stay
b. Sea bag
c. Pieces of wood
d. All of the above