What to do in case of man overboard?The man-overboard manoeuvre includes all measures to rescue a person who has fallen overboard from a watercraft. The man-overboard manoeuvre, which must be initiated immediately, has priority over all other things. It is a central part of seamanship that must be practised again and again in practice and with every new ship and new crew.
Quick but considered action is vital. The danger of losing sight of the victim is very great. If the water is colder than 20 °C, there is also an acute danger of hypothermia. This requires a horizontal rescue and the person must be given appropriate medical care.
"Man overboard!" is shouted by anyone who observes a person going overboard (together with the information on which side of the ship this has happened, e.g. Man overboard on port side!). The drifting person is to be observed continuously, with the observer pointing at the person with an outstretched arm so as not to lose sight of him and to indicate the direction to the helmsman. The call "Man overboard!" may only be used if a person has really fallen into the water.
At night, a flash buoy must be deployed immediately; this is the only way to find a person who has fallen overboard in the dark.
To ensure that the manoeuvre runs smoothly in an emergency, it is regularly practised on seagoing units.
You can see what such an exercise looks like in the following videos on our portal.