How effective are your man overboard recovery procedures?

Marine Accident Investigation Branch

July 3
12:04 2023

Maritime Safety Week is an important opportunity for all parts of the marine industry to focus on how we can continue to improve safety. Our aim for this week is to improve awareness of the benefits of thorough preparation for man overboard recovery and the message is the same whether you sail for pleasure, are a fisher or workboat operator: recovering a crew member from the water is extremely challenging.

An appropriate plan for your vessel and having the right equipment to hand is critical, but so is practising regular drills with your crew. Last week, we published an accident investigation report into the fatal man overboard of a deckhand from the twin rig stern trawler Copious south-east of the Shetland Islands, Scotland. Despite wearing a lifejacket and being quickly brought alongside the vessel, he lost consciousness during the deck crews attempts to recover him back on board and drowned. Once a person is in the water, in most cases they are totally reliant on the crew for recovery. This accident highlights how important it is that crew are capable of recovering an unconscious casualty from the water.

Today, we are fortunate to be hosting Maritime Minister Baroness Vere for a discussion on this subject. Together with the Royal Yachting Association (RYA) we will be demonstrating the challenge of recovering a person in the water, running through best practice retrieval techniques and showcasing the wide variety of equipment available. We will also be joined by the National Federation of Fishermens Organisations (NFFO), British Marine and the Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) for a cross-industry discussion about the subject.

Many thanks go to the RYA, the Offshore Turbine Services Ltd and the maritime police for their support in delivering this important session.

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