Man Overboard procedure
NOTE: The circumstances in which a ‘man overboard’ may occur are varied. It is
most likely when crew are moving into/out of or around the boat. The sea and wind
conditions will determine the actual method of approach and recovery.
- Alert the whole crew with the shout ‘man overboard’. Skipper takes charge.
- Someone to continually watch person in water and (if not the cox) provide
directions by arm signals and shouted distance.
- Radio shore with message ‘. . . this is (boat name). Have man overboard,
- Get back to the casualty as quickly as possible and, if safer to do so, manoeuvre
boat to approach casualty from downwind. Rowers at Bow and No2 maintain the boat
head to wind/sea while other crew bring casualty to midships and carry out the
- Inflate casualty’s lifejacket, if not already inflated. Do not rely on the casualty being
able to hold onto the boat or do anything to assist.
- Either: lower the leeward gunnel using crew weight to balance the boat and roll the
casualty aboard or bring their legs over the gunnel and pull casualty’s arms to bring
them aboard (avoiding letting their head go underwater). ( Note: in a heavy sea/gusty
wind, this exposes the hull with a risk of capsize.
- Or: (with lifejacket inflated) use the lifting strop and the buoyancy of the lifejacket, to
‘bounce’ them onto the gunnel with their back to you.
- If it is not possible, or not safe to recover the casualty, make sure they are secured to
- Radio for assistance or update the shore on progress.
- Casualty should be assessed for injury, degree of shock, or hypothermia and kept
warm and out of the wind.
- Decide on the quickest way to get casualty ashore and if an ambulance is required.
Actions in bold are essential.
QRC Training 003. 22.11.18