Falling overboard is a terrifying and life-threatening experience. When the water is cold, hypothermia sets in within minutes. Those who are in frigid water rapidly lose their strength, and climbing back onto the boat may be impossible. That’s why it’s crucial to have the best overboard rescue equipment available.
Lives depend on the gear you buy, so make sure that what you purchase is sturdy and reliable. Buy equipment that can lift people horizontally out of the water. After only a few minutes in cold water, their bodies go into an altered state where it’s much harder for their hearts to pump blood. By keeping these people horizontal, you help them avoid a heart attack. Look for equipment such as a rescue frame or scoop that can lift people out of the water while they remain in a prone position.
It’s also a good idea to invest in a scrambling net. Those who are in warm water and who aren’t exhausted can use the net to climb back on board. If you’re helping several people who have gone overboard, a rescue basket can lift six to eight persons out of the water at the same time.
Another useful piece of equipment to have on hand is a rescue dummy. That way, your crew can have a realistic training exercise. Just make sure the dummy is similar in weight and size to a real human being. That way, your crew gains valuable experience along with the skills they need to rescue others. Here’s where you can find the best equipment available:
Dacon is Norway’s leading supplier of man-overboard recovery systems. Being close to the North Sea, the company understands the perils of cold water and produces high-quality maritime rescue equipment that is DNV TEC certified. Dacon’s rescue scoop can retrieve injured people from the water and place them directly onto the boat. The company offers frames to recover those who are seriously injured or exhausted. The company’s scrambling net helps those who are stronger easily climb back on board. Dacon also offers a rescue basket to help larger groups.
Having a life-sized dummy to help with training exercises is extremely helpful, especially with man overboard drills, and working with a dummy is more like dealing with an unconscious person. Ruth Lee is a leading provider of life-like dummies along with other training aids. The dummies are buoyant and dressed in orange with reflective tape so that they are easy to spot in the water.
Ferno Rescue has a solid reputation in the field for providing excellent equipment that is durable and efficient. They have basket stretchers and other horizontal lifting gear along with full-body harness suits. Ferno also offers a Rescue Boat Sea Scoopa that can lift a person from the water.
If you’re looking for harnesses and belts along with other important gear, consider CMC. Originally established by a veteran climber and rescue operator under the name California Mountain Company, CMC has been providing safety equipment for more than 40 years. The company offers a range of rescue baskets as well as a rope rescuing kit.
Having this equipment isn’t enough to prevent fatalities. You and your crew need to practice man overboard drills regularly so that these maneuvers become second nature to you and your crew members. No matter how cautious you and your team members are, and no matter how big your boat is, accidents can and will happen. Being prepared is your best defense should you or a loved one fall overboard. It’s peace of mind that’s worth any price. Fortunately, most of this gear is affordable.