"OMG-----Man Overboard!!!!"

Ever been on a ship when "man overboard" sounds? We have, once.


I have to admit, I was pretty impressed with the Princess readiness and response. It was on the Royal Princess, just south of Greenland in late September, lots of chop and white caps, moderate wind and moderate swell.


Quite a "fright". One morning  around 10:00 AM, the Captain suddenly came on in all the cabin's PA's and announced "Man Overboard", starboard side. Wow, and it was no drill either. All our years on the high seas and never experienced one of those before.


I was in our cabin, grabbed the binoculars and ran out onto our balcony, we were on the starboard. The ship had just started to make a relatively tight circle to the starboard (The Royal is over 1000 feet long and was cruising close to 20 MPH) as the captain had immediately threw the vessel into the turn. The crew had thrown a buoy smoke flare overboard at first notice. Sort of sent chills up my spine to see the flare burning in our wake and the chop but no person could I spot. The ship has two small, heavy duty, rescue boats, one each side. I no more than hit our balcony than that boat, with a fully outfitted crew of three or four, was already swung out and on its way down to the sea.


As it turned out, the person who had sounded the alarm had spotted a loose red lobster pot float and thought it was a life jacket. Anyway, it all took about an hour and a half as all had to return to their staterooms in order to get a head count. A big Carnival came up to assist in the search during all this. This all gave me confidence and made me feel good.      


16 Answers

That is comforting. My last man overboard drill. Called (Oscar) was when I was in the USCG

Wow... that response sounds by-the-book perfect. It must have gotten everyone's pulse racing though. I guess it is better to be safe than sorry with regard to the person who made the initial call. I am not sure I could live with myself had I not sounded an alert if I thought I saw someone in the water.

Is the free drink salt water ?

I have never been on a ship for this but good to know that they drill for it.

My cousin recently returned from a Princess Line cruise - she said a lady jumped overboard & was rescued with just a broken arm... they put her off at the next port, fined her $10,000 and banned her from travelling with them again.

So happy it was a false alarm. I t is also great to know how quickly the ship responded. mjh237, glad she only had a broken arm, sounds like there is more to the story than just an overboard.

Yes, I'd like to know the rest of the story too. These sorts of things must happen a lot I expect.

I cannot remember if this topic has ever be covered in the life drill needed at the start of every cruise. Maybe it should be covered. I have no idea what to do but shout "Man Overboard".

Good information, and glad it wasn't really a person.

I agree, they don't do a very good job of this. Once in a while during muster drills a crew man will tell us that if we see someone go overboard, shout "Man overboard and throw a life ring."

This eventuality is a little more complicated than that so I believe they just avoid the subject, which is bad. My own personal procedure would be to: Scream, "man overboard" and keep screaming. Try to keep an eye on the person in the water. I find that life buoys are few and far between. If I'm on my balcony and witness this, (with so many balconies on ships any more I would say the odds are that someone on a balcony will see the person go overboard first) so if I ran off trying to find a life ring I would have to take my eyes off the person in the water for a considerable period of time while running around the ship in search of such.

Instead, I would pinpoint in my mind the location of the person, run to my cabinet, grab a life jacket, throw it. Purpose of getting something in the water immediately is not that the person in the water is going to use it but it will be an immediate marker in the water of the location. The ship may be rolling along at 20 MPH so this is very important. If no one hears me, then I am going to have to use the cabin phone, which takes my concentration off the victim. But, the life jacket is a marker and easy to see. Here is an official version:

"Whoever sees the accident is to shout, "Man overboard!" loudly and clearly to alert the rest of the crew. At least one person should do nothing other than stand and point at the casualty maintaining continuous visual contact. Whatever marker and flotation equipment is to hand should be thrown as near the casualty as possible by other crew members. This may include a horseshoe buoy or lifebuoy, danbuoy or man overboard pole, and even a floating smoke signal. If the equipment exists, man overboard alerts are to be triggered on whatever electronic gear is available including GPS receivers and DSC radio transmitters."


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