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What happens when someone falls overboard?

On Behalf of | Aug 9, 2020 | Maritime Law |

Working out in the middle of a large body of water means immediate help is not close by. When an accident occurs, you have to rely on those working with you to help.

Falling overboard accidents require quick action. According to Marine Insight, the majority of overboard falls result in death. Falling off the vessel may happen due to rough waters, intoxication, rope accidents and loose footing.  It is essential everyone on a ship understands some basic rescue methods.

The Anderson turn

This is the quickest option for recovery and works well in situations where there is a concern about losing sight of you after you fall overboard. This method works by turning the ship in a circle in the area where you fell.

The Williamson turn

This is the method ships most commonly use for rescues. It requires maneuvering the vessel off course by 60 degrees and reversing course to travel back to the previous area. This allows the crew to find you if you fell overboard.

The Scharnov turn

This is a combination of the Williamson and Anderson turns. It takes a little longer to do as it involves turning, circling and returning back to the previous course.

Choosing a method

The method a vessel uses often depends on the situation and the current conditions. In rough water, it may be easier to try one method than another. A vessel’s size may also impact what it does. If the crew can still see you, this may also help with deciding the method to use. In any case, the crew should have training in all methods of recovery to give you the best chance of making it back onto the ship.