Emergency Procedures and Lifesaving
Muster and Emergencies Procedures
Signal for Fire-Continuous sounding of the vessel’s whistle for at least 10 sec
Signal for Abandon Ship-6 or more short blast followed by long blast of the vessel’s whistle
Man Overboard-Pass the word to bridge – maneuver vessel to recovery man overboard.
Emergencies Equipment and Procedures
Reporting a Serious Marine Incident
Immediately after addressing safety concerns the person in charge shall verbally notify the Marine Safety Office (MSO) in the event of: grounding; engine fails and then restarts for commercial vessels, striking a bridge; loss of life; injury to a person beyond normal first aid; property damage in excess of $25,000. The operator must, within five days, notify the MSO in writing any marine casualty. The marine employer shall determine whether there is any evidence of alcohol or drug use.
Form CG-2692B must be submitted to the appropriate Officer In Charge, Marine Inspections, following a serious marine incident. The U.S. Coast Guard is now assessing civil penalties against vessel operators who fail to submit the form CG-2692. These and many other USCG forms may be obtained on the USCG web site.
The operator and mate(s) must belong to a Drug Consortium, preferable one that has a Letter of Substantial Compliance (LOSC). The operator and mate must be subject to periodic random testing. The marine employer must report failure of a drug test to the CG. The individual shall be denied employment and subject to revocation against their license. No operator shall perform any duty on a vessel within four hours of consuming any alcohol. The marine employer or a law enforcement officer may direct the operator to undergo a chemical test.
Ready for Sea Safety Uninspected Vessel Check List
1. Weather: Evaluated weather forecast. Make certain that the vessel, passengers, and crew can handle the expected weather safely! Vessel’s operator should monitor weather reports at sea.
2. Crew - Passengers: Pre-departure passenger safety orientation. Adequate numbers of readily accessible and in good, serviceable condition PFDs onboard for passengers and crew. Crew trained and drilled in operation of vessel, MOB procedures, and safety equipment. Work schedule minimizes fatigue (12 in 24 hour rule).
General Safety – Before getting underway the operator in charge must ensure that suitable public announcements be made regarding: stowage of life preservers, proper method of donning life preservers, all types of life saving devices carried aboard the vessel and location of the Emergency Check-off List. The Operator of the vessel shall keep a record of all passengers received and delivered. In addition 46 CFR 26.03-4 requires operators to have onboard the following charts and publications:
Appropriate and up to date charts of sufficient scale to allow for safe navigation.
Copy of the US Coast Pilot
Copy of the Light List
Copy of Tides and Current tables.
Safety Orientation and Emergency Check-Off List
CHAPTER I--COAST GUARD, DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION
PART 26--OPERATIONS--Table of Contents
Subpart 26.03--Special Operating Requirements
Sec. 26.03-2 Emergency instructions. (a) The operator or master of each uninspected passenger vessel must ensure that an emergency check-off list is posted in a prominent and accessible place to notify the passengers and remind the crew of precautionary measures that may be necessary if an emergency situationoccurs.(b) Except where any part of the emergency instructions are deemed unnecessary by the Officer in Charge, Marine Inspection, the emergency check-off list must contain not less than the applicable portions of the sample emergency check-off list which follows:
Sample Emergency Check-Off List Measures to be considered in the event of: (a) Rough weather at sea or crossing hazardous bars.All weathertight and watertight doors, hatches and airports closed to prevent taking water aboard. Bilges kept dry to prevent loss of stability. Passengers seated and evenly distributed. All passengers wearing life preservers in conditions of very rough seas or if about to cross a bar under hazardous conditions. An international distress call and a call to the Coast Guard over radiotelephone made if assistance is needed (if radiotelephone equipped).(b) Man overboard. Ring buoy thrown overboard as close to the victim as possible. Lookout posted to keep the victim in sight. Crewmember, wearing a life preserver and lifeline, standing by ready to jump into the water to assist the victim back aboard. Coast Guard and all vessels in the vicinity notified by radiotelephone (if radiotelephone equipped). Search continued until after radiotelephone consultation with the Coast Guard, if at all possible.(c) Fire at Sea. Air supply to the fire cut off by closing hatches, ports, doors, and ventilators, etc. Portable extinguishers discharged at the base of the flames of flammable liquid or grease fires or water applied to fires in combustible solids. If fire is in machinery spaces, fuel supply and ventilation shut off and any installed fixed fire fighting system discharged. Vessel maneuvered to minimize the effect of wind on the fire. Coast Guard and all vessels in the vicinity notified by radiotelephone of the fire and vessel location (if radiotelephone equipped). Passengers moved away from fire and wearing life preservers.
Personal Flotation Devices (PFD) and Other Lifesaving Equipment [46 CFR25.25].
An USCG approved and readily available PFD is required to be on board thevessel for each individual on board. An exposure suit is considered to be an acceptable substitute for a PFD. All lifesaving equipment designed to be worn is required to be readily available and in serviceable condition. Each life float or inflatable buoyant apparatus must be marked with the vessel's name and or number of persons allowed on each.
Each vessel 26 feet or longer must have at least one approved ring life buoy which is immediately available. The diameter size of the ring depends on the vessel length. All lifesaving equipment designed to be thrown into the water is required to be immediately available and in serviceable condition.
An approved commercial hybrid PFD is acceptable if worn when the vessel is underway and the intended wearer is not within an enclosed space; labeled for use on un-inspected commercial vessels; and used as marked and in accordance with the owner's manual.
An approved light is required for all PFDs and exposure suits. Also, allPFDs must have the proper amount of approved retro-reflective material installed for oceanwise, coastwise, and Great Lakes.
Types of Personal Flotation Devices (PFD)
TYPE I: Off-Shore Life Jacket (minimum of 22 pounds of floatation)This life vest is best for open, rough or remote water, or where rescue may be slow coming. Provides the best floatation. Turns most unconscious wearers face-up in the water.
TYPE II: Near-Shore Buoyant Life Vest (minimum of 15 ½ pounds of floatation)Good for calm, inland waters or where rescue is likely to happen quickly. Turns some unconscious wearers face-up in water.
TYPE III: Floatation Aid (minimum of 15 ½ pounds of floatation)Usually the most comfortable life vest for continuous wear. Good for calm, inland waters or where rescue is likely to happen quickly.
TYPE IV: Throwable DeviceGood for calm, inland water with heavy boat traffic where help is always nearby. Device can be thrown to the wearer and some can be used as a floatation cushion.
Special Use DeviceMade for specific conditions and activities and to be used only for the designated use. Some devices only approved when worn. Refer to PDF label on device for limitations on use. Types include boardsailing vests, work vests and hybrid.
Man Overboard Procedures
Basic Steps for Recovering a Person in the Water
Step 1: Yell "MAN OVERBOARD" as loudly as you can. Then point to the person in the water. Never take your eyes off that person and keep pointing even as the boat turns around for retrieval. If you don't see the importance of doing this, throw an old basketball over your stern in 3-foot seas with whitecaps showing. Next, look away and wait until the boat gets turned around. Chances are you won't be able to find the basketball again.
Step 2: Get a flotation device to the person in the water immediately. A life ring, a cushion or a horseshoe buoy are good examples of the Type IV throwable devices that must be readily available for fast deployment.
Step 3: Turn the boat around ASAP without endangering your remaining crew.
The old, "tried and true" method is to glance at your compass course and then turn until you are steering a reciprocal course. That's 180o added to or subtracted from your course, as the case may be. For example, if you were steering 030o, the reciprocal would be 030o + 180o = 210o. Or, if you were steering 210o, the reciprocal would be 210o – 180o = 030o.
The modern method makes use of the newer GPS units that have a MOB button. You push this button as soon as someone yells "MAN OVERBOARD"; the GPS locks that position in the unit and gives you the return course back to that spot.
Step 4: Deploy a floatable retrieval line. For example, a 100-foot polypropylene (floating) line with one end permanently attached to the stern of the boat. The other end is attached to a drogue chute that deploys the line behind the boat when thrown (much like a water-ski tow line). Then, as the boat circles around the person in the water, the line will pass right across his position.
Step 5: Get the victim back into the boat as soon as possible. This is sometimes the hardest part of the rescue. The person may be exhausted, injured or suffering from hypothermia. If your boat is small, pull the person in over the stern. This greatly reduces the chance of capsizing due to too much weight on one side of the boat. In a larger boat, your best bet is probably to pull the person in, using the tow line, to the swim ladder and swim platform.
It is important that everyone on board knows what to do in case of a man-overboard situation. Often the helmsman will not know of the situation until hearing the alert, while observers of the incident try to maintain eye contact with the victim.
Actions of Observers to a Man-Overboard Situation or MOB
· Shout – Hail and Pass the Word “Man Overboard (Port or Starboard) Side” until the helmsman is alerted.
· Immediately throw a life ring buoy or a PFD towards the victim.
· Do not break eye contact if at all possible.
· Point continuously towards the victim.
· If need be designate someone to continuously point.
· Don life jackets and prepare lifelines for retrieval.
Actions of the Helmsman in a Man-Overboard Situation
Upon hearing the man-overboard alert (MOB), the first action by the helmsman should be to immediately put the helm hard over to the same side as the person fell overboard. This action will swing the stern (and the propellers) of the vessel away from the victim. A turn that will bring the ship back around to retrieve the victim should then be immediately initiated. At the same time a PAN-PAN message altering vessels nearby should be sent and, if available, the man-over-board (MOB) button located on a GPS unit should be activated.
The following turns may be used to retrieve the victim:
· Round or Single Turn – The fastest turn for small maneuverable vessels. Approach angle is not good for larger vessels.
· Race Tack Turn – Quickest turn for larger vessels. Use only if the victim is visible at all times.
· Scharnow Turn – Used when the location of the victim is unknown. Turn until headed 240 degrees from the original course. Swing back until headed 180 degrees in the opposite direction of the original course. Quickest away to retrace the original track.
· Williamson Turn – Best executed immediately upon hearing the alert. Turn hard over 60 degrees to the side the person fell. Turn back hard 240 degrees until headed 180 degrees in the opposite direction of the original course. Takes a little longer than the Scharnow turn, but it puts the vessel on the reciprocal course faster.
Rescue of Survivor Procedures
The vessel should approach with the victim on the leeward side to provide some protection from waves. Wind will cause the vessel to drift towards the victim aiding in retrieval. The pick up should be made mid-ships if at all possible, ensuring isolation from the propellers. A stepladder is the best away to retrieve the victim. If necessary, tethered, life-jacketed crew can assist from the water. If no ladders are available the victim may have to be lifted out of the water by a line using a Bowline-on a Bight or French bowline.