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Understanding Man Overboard Accidents That Occur While Working Offshore

Falling overboard is one of the on-the-job hazards that maritime workers face. 

A person can fall overboard due to bad weather, accidents, or negligence. Man overboard accidents often happen when a seafarer or offshore worker is in the middle of performing their duties on board a vessel. 

While you can get compensation when you are involved in a man overboard accident due to someone else’s negligence, that doesn’t do anything for addressing the situation when it occurs.

So, what should you do when a person falls overboard? Here is everything you need to know about what man overboard accidents mean, how to handle a man overboard situation, and how to prevent it from happening.

What is a man overboard accident?

Man overboard accidents happen when an individual falls off the ship and into the sea or river. The accident can happen when least expected. The crew member who has fallen overboard has to be rescued as soon as possible to increase their chances of survival.

There are causes of a man overboard accident. aBad weather, deficient training, slippery decks, and human error are just a few of the reasons why this can occur. If this happens and the victim is not rescued immediately, they can run the risk of obtaining hypothermia, drowning, or getting attacked by marine life. In addition, the crew member may suffer from a whole host of psychological injuries. 

A life jacket will come in handy to save someone who falls overboard. There are immediate measures that can be taken by those still on the vessel to try to help the person survive.

Ways to handle man overboard accidents

Immediate actions can help save a crew member who falls overboard. You should always remain calm when a person falls into the sea. Once you notice a crew member has fallen overboard, you should do the following:

The very first thing you should do is to make sure the rest of the crew is aware of the situation. The easiest way to do this is shout “man overboard” and point at the person. Remain there to keep in visual contact with the person.

Reach, Throw, Row, and Go is a catchphrase that will come in handy when a man falls overboard. You should follow that order to bring the person to safety.

Use a GPS device and press the man overboard button to go to the original point where the person fell.

If the person is still within length, reach for them and pull them to the boat. Make sure you are putting on a life jacket.

If the person is too far away, then throw them a life jacket or a buoyant object. The object will be a reference point when you lose sight of the person.

If the person is too far out, maneuver the vessel towards them. Approach the person from the operator’s side. Turn off the engine as you get close and throw a buoyant object at the person. 

Procedures to prevent man overboard accidents

There are numerous ways that a maritime crew member can help prevent overboard falls. Here are some of the ways to ensure crew members are always safe while onboard.

Buddy system: Maritime employees should never work alone on the deck.

Line of sight: In case someone falls overboard, always maintain visual contact with the person.

Be prepared: While working, you should always wear a personal floatation device while on deck.

Identify the location: Use marker lights, life rings to mark the area where the offshore worker has fallen overboard.

Sound the alarm: Once you notice that a person has fallen overboard, you should sound the alarm to alert the crew and captain about the accident.

Contact The Mahone Firm Today

If you have been injured in a man overboard accident due to another person’s negligence, then you have the right to seek compensation for losses. You can get help from an experienced law firm for offshore accidents.

The Mahone firm will protect your rights and ensure you get the compensation you deserve. Get in touch with the Mahone Firm for a free consultation today. Contact us.

Mike Mahone

Mike Mahone

Mike Mahone is a personal injury and business litigation lawyer located in New Orleans, LA, and the sole practitioner of The Mahone Firm.

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