Sunday, February 19, 2012

“Man Overboard” vs. ”Oh Shit, She is in the Water!”

Anyone who lives and/or works on the water much has had opportunities to fish someone out of the drink.  Today we came to #4.  This case was typical, someone lost their balance while undocking and slipped in.  It has been my observation that the last (or 1st) 5’ of any cruise is the riskiest when it comes to slipping in.  And it has been this pulling to the dock or pulling away from the dock events that has provided each of our opportunity to assist someone who slipped in.  It is also why Kristi and I tend to ALWAYS wear our inflatable life jackets, even when coming in during calm water to a protected moorage, and even with Viking Stars nice high rails.  It is that 5’ gap that will get ya.

And don’t even ask what happens to the poor soul who makes the Cardinal Mistake of ‘Jumping’ from my boat!  (Right Red?)

Today turned out fine.  The person quickly grabbed a hold of the dock while the one left on the boat was able to secure it a few feet away.  With two of us helping we easily assisted the person out of the water.  He was unhurt, change into dry cloths, and all was well.

Which brings me to the Title of this post.

The 1st time I had an opportunity to see someone slip into the water I yelled out ‘Oh Shit, She is in the Water’ – while jumping up and grabbing a boat pole.  Those who I was with at first just looked at me like ‘Ok, Al has been in the Sun a bit too much’.  (Right Red?)  Only after seeing me dash down the dock and  approaching the person in the water did they realize what was happening and were able to jump into action.  In the end this case turned out OK as well, but looking back a lot of time was lost by those around me to realize what was going on.

And there was an opportunity to learn.  From an early age everyone knows what Man Overboard means.  No question about it.  ‘Oh Shit, She is in the water’ does not quite have that same impact.  Today when I raced out of the cabin (you see, Trawlers have lots of big Windows, was easy for us to see what was going on) I yelled ‘Man Overboard’.  Felt a little silly doing it, but Kristi reported it had the desired effect –  as almost instantly several heads popped up from the nice center cockpit sailboat next to us – like ground Hogs.  Soon a couple of other folks were on the way to assist.  No question what the issue was, no lost time.

In USPS we teach to yell ‘Man Overboard’, while pointing at the person – never losing sight of them.    Both things are key (though in this case, the person was not going anywhere as he was holding onto the dock tightly, he just could not climb out of the water unassisted).  And by yelling Man Overboard I was able to alert all around us to the situation.

Clearly and concisely.

1 comment:

  1. Good post...we all need to remember what to do in a situation like that.