Recently a small survey team took to Tauranga Harbour and practiced retrieving a live casualty from the water. Kevin volunteered to be our rescue dummy who ‘fell’ overboard 3 times with a variety of scenarios around using inflatable lifejackets and in varying states of consciousness. A few key learnings were discovered which would not have been possible without using the mass and bulk of a real person, and the value soon became clear as updates were made to key vessel documentation.
“DML undertakes maritime surveys in a variety of geographical locations around NZ. A person overboard poses a real and significant risk to our people in daily operations. Even though we perform regular vessel drills, it was pleasing to undertake something so valuable that immediately we could reflect & monitor the reality and ergonomics of our vessels within our Maritime Safety System.” DML Compliance Lead James Pinchin stated.
“It is one thing to throw an object over the side and practice retrieving it, but when you are dealing with a real person life in the water, things become more complicated” Business Manager and overboard casualty, Kevin Smith said.
Coastguard NZ recommend practicing your person overboard drill with everyone on your boat, so they know what to do.
Shout “Man overboard” very clearly so everyone knows it’s an emergency.
Throw a life buoy, lifejacket, throwing line, or anything else that will help the person in the water to float.
Watch the person in the water carefully and have someone on the boat point at them continuously.
Record the position on GPS if you have one.
Stop immediately to keep the person in the water as close to the boat as possible.
Special thanks to the on-water team and especially Kevin for taking one for the team during this exercise.