Man Overboard Procedure Solas

Keeping A proper look out as officer on watch means being in compliance and respecting all the procedures and regulations amended by Solas and flag states.

It can happen that during some emergency like man overboard, the officer on watch will react instinctively without worrying too much about the procedure that he or she must respect to be in compliance with the solas.

To guarantee a more in-depth understanding of all the procedures that involve the rescue of a person overboard, we decided to make a short summary of all the man overboard procedures that must be respected by the solas, during this emergency.

What are the man overboard procedures by solas?

All the procedures that involve the rescue of a person overboard are dictated on SOLAS  regulation  III/17-1, where it states all the GUIDELINES  FOR  THE  DEVELOPMENT OF PLANS  AND PROCEDURES FOR RECOVERY  OF PERSONS  FROM  THE WATER safety 

Since knowing the chapter will not improve our knowledge, in the next part of the article we will take a more specific look of what is important to know and how to be always in compliance with the procedure of the man overboard dictated by the solas.

General definition Man Overboard Procedure Solas

1 1.1 General Life-saving  and  other  equipment  carried  on  board  may  be  used  to  recover  persons from  the  water,  even  though  this  may  require  using  such  equipment  in unconventional  ways.   

1.2 These  Guidelines  should  be  read  in  conjunction  with  the  Guide  to  recovery  techniques (MSC.1/Circ.1182)  and  the  Guide  for  cold  water  survival  (MSC.1/Circ.1185/Rev.1). 

1.3 In  particular,  the  Guide  to  recovery  techniques  (MSC.1/Circ.1182)  provides  a number  of  examples  of  how  certain  types  of  equipment  can  be  used  to  recover  persons  from the  water;  and  can  also be  used for  the  development  of  plans  and  procedures for  recovery  of persons  from  the  water. 

1.4 The  initiation  or  continuation  of  recovery  operations  should  be  at  the  discretion of  the  master  of  the  recovering  ship,  in  accordance  with  the  provisions  of  SOLAS regulation  III/17-1.

 1.5 The  plans  and  procedures  should  be  considered  as  a  part  of  the  emergency preparedness plan  required  by paragraph 8  of  part  A  of  the  International  Safety  Management (ISM)  Code. 

That first part of the regulation for recovering a man overboard does not specify how you have to recover the person, it states only the guideline that you have to follow, in order to be in compliance with that.

One of the most important parts that every oow should remember is that the initial or continuation action should be at the discretion of the master.

The remaining part of the chapter is regarding 

2 2.1 Matters  to be considered  when  developing plans and  procedures 

A  risk  assessment  should  be  conducted  and  documented  when  developing  plans and  procedures  for  recovery  of  persons  from  the  water,  including  equipment  intended  to  be used,  taking  into  account  the  anticipated  conditions  and ship-specific  characteristics. 

  2.2 The  recovery  plans  and  procedures  should facilitate  the  transfer  of  persons from  the water  to  the  ship  while  minimizing  the  risk  of  injury  from  impact  with  the  ship’s  side  or  other structures,  including  the  recovery  appliance itself. 

2.3 To  the  extent  practicable,  recovery  procedures  should  provide  for  recovery  of persons  in  a  horizontal  or  near-horizontal  (“deck-chair”)  position.    Recovery  in  a  vertical position  should  be  avoided  whenever  possible  as  it  risks  cardiac  arrest  in  hypothermic casualties (refer  to  the  Guide  for  cold  water  survival  (MSC.1/Circ.1185/Rev.1)). 

2.4 If  carried,  dedicated  recovery  equipment  should  be  clearly  marked  with  the maximum  number  of  persons  it  can  accommodate,  based  on  a  weight  of  82.5  kg per  person. 

2.5 Recovery  operations  should  be  conducted  at  a  position  clear  of  the  ship’s  propellers and,  as  far  as  practicable,  within the  ship’s  parallel  mid-body  section. 

2.6 A  source  of  illumination  and,  where  required,  a  source  of  power  should  be  available for  the  area  where the  recovery  operation  is  conducted. 

2.7 Ship-specific  procedures  for  the  recovery  of  persons  from  the  water  should  specify the  anticipated  conditions  under  which  a  recovery  operation  may  be  conducted  without causing  undue hazard  to  the  ship and  the  ship’s  crew,  taking  into  account,  but  not  limited  to:

  • maneuverability  of  the  ship;
  •  freeboard of  the  ship; 
  •  points  on  the  ship to  which casualties  may  be  recovered;   
  • characteristics  and  limitations  of  equipment  intended  to  be  used  for recovery  operations;   
  • available crew  and personal  protective equipment  (PPE);  
  •  wind  force,  direction  and  spray; significant  wave height  (Hs);   
  • period  of  waves;  
  •  swell;  and   safety  of  navigation. 

The last but not the level of importance is to ensure that all the crew members are  familiar with the plans and the procedures to follow in case of a man overboard.

Final thoughts

Being aware of the procedure to follow during the emergency is part of the job of an oow, it is of particular importance to understand all the measures and the point to consider,and be prepared in advantage on that type of situations, by making appropriate drills and training the crew properly.