The Lincoln Battle Group deployed with a new man overboard indicator (MOBI). Got my attention because after a long career, I'm aware of the lengths to which the Navy goes to prevent, detect and ultimately recover people who, for whatever reason, go over the side. A a cruise ship won't know if someone is missing until a companion starts to wonder (hours after the fact) or they fail to show up to pay their bar bill.
MOBI uses state of the art transmitters to pinpoint the survivors location. I'm sure it's expensive but then the Navy needs its people and after all, passengers have already paid.
The only thing nautical about the cruise industry is that it's ships go through the water pointy end first IMHO.
What's funny is someone posting that a man overboard is rare without any substantive facts to support it, especially when the term "rare" is relative. Is 2 per year rare? Is 15 per cruiseline rare? Is 1 per all European cruiselines rare? Fact is, a man overboard is not something a cruiseline publicizes, so we don't know how often it happens. Suppose a Singaporean man falls overboard near Belize. Do you think the U.S. media is going to cover it, even if they know about it? I doubt it.
I agree with you Don, a person overboard is probably not an immediately known fact unless someone is standing next to him when he went over. And therefore, the ship may be 100 miles away before he is noticed missing. And in that case, they won't know if he went over 10 miles back, 30 miles back, 70 miles back or 200 miles back. A rescue effort would only be for show.
It wasn't posed as a question because I already knew the answer. Thought it might prompt some interesting discussion. The Captain of a ship should be responsible for everyone on it. Having discussed this possibility with the ship's company on several cruise lines, it is clear they simply play the odds. From the perspective of statistics, it isn't worth considering, especially since new construction keeps people inside and stabilization systems insure a pool table ride.
Dealing with the problem after the fact is far more cost effective. Besides, just as passengers won't consider the fact the ship can catch fire or sink, they don't want to think of the consequences of falling off the damn thing. It seems to enjoy a cruise and the company of those that take them, you mustn't think of such things. The warnings are posted, but not in such a way to make passengers uneasy.
Except for one cruise on a party boat when the revelers tried to tight rope walk the rail (the Lord looks after drunks so they fell back on deck), and the unsupervised small ones running around, I haven't had any heartstopping moments. And, like watching someone walking toward a open man hole, it isn't any of my business.
Do I enjoy cruises? Yes, with enjoy being the operative word. They aren't the center of my universe.
"That I know of"... there have been VERY few instances of "man overboard" situations on cruise ships. With the millions of cruise passengers a year, it's a statistically minute precentage.
I think it's naive to think the cruise line's don't report these incidents, and naive to think the world press doesn't jump on the chance to report it when it does happen.
It's not all that surprising that the Navy, at least the US Navy, would be better equipped to handle these situations than a cruise ship. I'd certainly expect them to be!!
A cruise ship may not be a totally safe environment, but then neither is my home, my car, or my place of business. We all , the cruise lines included, take reasonable measures to ensure safety, but unlike the government, the rest of us don't have bottomless pockets.
"I think it's naive to think the cruise line's don't report these incidents, and naive to think the world press doesn't jump on the chance to report it when it does happen"...............Kuki
But here is a report from Tim Rubakey in the articles section of Cruisemates addressing the same issue and whether it is publicized........
"Unfortunately, cruise lines either do not keep statistics on such events or are reluctant to release them. I've been told that it is not an uncommon occurrence but it does not encompass a great number of their passengers. One thing to keep in mind is that many passengers who "fall" overboard actually went to sea with the intention of never returning.
In regards to the procedures for recovering someone who falls overboard this is what happens:
As soon as the bridge is alerted to a "man overboard" the ship immediately reverses course and proceeds to execute a "figure 8" which should bring it back to it's original position. Once the ship is back in position, a lifeboat or rescue craft is lowered and executes a search and recovery. "...............Tim
Now Tim's been "told that it is not an uncommon occurrence." I tend to agree with Tim, in that the cruiselines are reluctant to expose these events. Just as they are reluctant to release information on rapes on board as broadcasted by 60 Minutes news show.
Guess it depends upon the definition of "not uncommon." Does that mean two or three a year fleet-wise? Two or three a week?
That's the kind of thing we will probably never know because my guess is we'll never see stats on it and what difference would it make?
I'd agree with Tim that probably many/most people who go overboard do it intentionally. Maybe not in their right minds at the moment, but with intention.
I submit to Don that Navy ships probably don't have the same sort of safeguards (high railings, etc.) that cruise ships do. And, while involved in an exercise, there would be plenty of other swabbies around to shout the alarm. Again, a semi-educated guess.
I would agree also, Pam, that most of those going overboard are doing so intentionally. I rather doubt a cruise ship can effect a successful rescue. An intentional jump from a cruise ship is probably not going to occur when people are standing nearby, therefore the cruise ship would not be aware of it until somebody reports the person missing.
Do you think there ought to be a platform for those wishing to be buried at sea?
There was an incident in March where a crew member on the Norway fell overboard. It happened at 10:00 pm when she (carelessly) fell over the railing while smoking a cigarette. A fellow crew member noticed she was missing and reported it. They conducted a crew roll call, and declared her missing at 10:30 pm. The ship conducted a search the next morning with the assistance of the Coast Guard, who provided technical data as to currents and predicted that she would have drifted with the currents. She was found 10 hours later after drifting four miles from the ships course. She was slightly dehydrated, but otherwise OK. She was treated in the ships medical center and sent home at the next port to recouperate from the trauma.
Ships conduct "man overboard" drills as a routiene part of their safety training under SOLAS. In addition, crew members are taught survival techniques in case they fall over the side. For example, humans are naturally bouyant in salt water. Also, they are trained to take off their shoes since they would become wet and adversely affect bouyancy.
It started with a comment that a device, albiet expensive, exists to assist in the location and recovery of people who go overboard. An informed opinion that the cruise industry's concern for the issue is based on regulation and insurance due to the proven remoteness of the possibility.
The accepted procedure after a man overboard alert is to turn toward the side he/she fell from to swing the screws away. Critical in the evolution is marking the spot (datum) with a smoke flare, then to perform a 90/270 turn to bring you back down the same track. A simple turn won't do it. Once over the datum, you perform an expanding square search from the datum, which should be adjusted for wind and current. Of course that assumes you know when/where the (fill in explicitaive) went over.
To whoever was glad that he isn't participating in funding the US Navy, we were always asked for assistance, regardless of the part of the world, by what ever the cruise ship's nationality, whenever that ship had a person missing, real or imagined. We always stopped what we were doing to go look. They were never sure where we should start.
If you fall off a cruise ship, it will be your own fault , but if you do.....good luck.
Oh so true, Carole. Unfortunately they are spending our money. But I was referring to the money I have in my pocket. I don't consider the money I put in someone else's pocket mine anymore. But, then maybe I should.
If they would spend our money as though they were spending their own maybe our taxes would be about 25% of what they are.
I once worked in a government (DOD) owned plant and watched the way the government spent money needlessly. It was remarkable. Of course they had their rationale, but it was not sound business. If they had to make a profit they would do things differently.
The thing that nobody seems to have addressed is HOW to get people to wear these devices! It is VERY hard for a passenger to fall overboard, not impossible, to darn close to it unless they are doing something totally stupid like sitting on a railing or climbing around areas they have no business in. Those that go overboard intentionally darn sure won't have the device on. This device is very useful for those in jobs onboard ships that deal with working in hazardous areas and US Military personel who are required to be on deck of military ships during rough seas etc. I don't believe you will ever see a Electronics Tech or Radioman wearing on while sitting in his compartment watching screens, meters, and equipment.
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