Boat Crew Seamanship Manual

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              “Train, Maintain, Operate”

September 2003
Chapter 3 – Crew Efficiency Factors

                              Section G.             Cold-Related Factors

Introduction          The purpose of this section is to briefly describe the precautions to take while operating in
                      cold weather. Cold rain, snow, ice storms, and high winds can develop with very little
                      warning in certain parts of the country. Preparation before encountering these kinds of
                      conditions and understanding the effects of cold on personnel safety is vital.

In this section       This section contains the following information:

                                                              Title                                               See Page
                      Effects of Cold Weather                                                                       3-11
                      Hypothermia                                                                                   3-11
                      Frostbite                                                                                     3-13
                      Layering Clothing                                                                             3-13

Effects of Cold Weather

                      Excessive loss of body heat, which can occur even in mild weather conditions, may lead to
  WARNING             hypothermia.

G.1. Operating in     Operating in a cold climate presents the challenge of keeping warm while effectively
a Cold Climate        carrying out the mission. As the temperature drops or clothing becomes wet, more insulation
                      is required to keep the body from losing its heat.

  WARNING             Prolonged exposure to the wind may lead to hypothermia and/or frostbite.

G.2. Wind             Wind affects body temperature. Those parts of the body exposed directly to the wind will
                      lose heat quickly, a condition commonly referred to as “wind chill.” On bare skin, wind will
                      significantly reduce skin temperature, through evaporation, to below the actual air

G.3. Crew Fatigue     The combination of rough seas, cold temperatures, and wet conditions can quickly cause the
                      crew to become less effective. Crew fatigue will occur more quickly when these conditions
                      are present. Many accidents occur when cold induced fatigue sets in because the mind loses
                      attentiveness and physical coordination diminishes. Even a crew that is moderately cold and
                      damp will exhibit a decrease in reaction time which is also a symptom of the onset of


G.4. Body             Hypothermia is the loss of internal body temperature. Normal internal body temperature is
Temperature           98.6° F (39° C) and is automatically regulated by our bodies to remain very close to this
                      temperature at all times. A minor deviation either up or down interferes with the bodily
                      processes. Being too cold will adversely affect the body. Even a minor loss of internal body
                      temperature may cause incapacitation.

                                                                                Chapter 3 – Crew Efficiency Factors

  WARNING          Never give hypothermia victims anything by mouth, especially alcohol.

G.5. Symptoms      Signs that a person may be suffering from hypothermia include:
                   •    Pale appearance.
                   •    Skin cold to the touch.
                   •    Pupils are dilated and will not adjust properly when exposed to light.
                   •    Poor coordination.
                   •    Slurred speech / appears to be intoxicated.
                   •    Incoherent thinking.
                   •    Unconsciousness.
                   •    Muscle rigidity.
                   •    Weak pulse.
                   •    Very slow and labored breathing.
                   •    Irregular heart beat.
                   A hypothermic person will tremble and shiver, however, these symptoms may not always be
                   present. When a person stops shivering, their hypothermia may have advanced beyond the
                   initial stages.

G.6. Prevention    Cold and hypothermia affect crew safety and mission performance, and prevention must be a
                   top priority. The Coast Guard outfits its boat crews with hypothermia protective clothing
                   which is designed to prolong their exposure to the elements making them more effective.
                   The clothing must be worn properly and maintained in accordance with its maintenance
                   schedule in order for it to maintain its effectiveness.

G.7. Waivers for   The Commanding Officer (CO) or Officer-in-Charge (OIC) may waive the requirement for
Wearing PPE        wearing a hypothermia protective device on a case-by-case basis if the degree of risk to
                   hypothermia is minimal, such as in nonhazardous daylight operations in calm water.
                   However, proper PPE must be carried onboard. More detailed information concerning
                   hypothermia protective clothing, requirements for when it should be worn and CO/OIC
                   waiver requirements can be found in the Rescue and Survival Systems Manual,
                   COMDTINST M10470.10 (series).

                   Units shall carry hypothermia protective devices onboard under waiver conditions (except for ship’s
                   boats operating within sight of the ship). Coxswains shall make sure crewmembers don a
      NOTE         hypothermia protective device when waiver conditions no longer apply (for example, when they
                   encounter or anticipate heavy weather or hazardous operating conditions).

                   Auxiliary boat crews must gain approval and direction from their Operational Commander for
      NOTE         waivers.

G.8. Treatment     Treatment for hypothermia is covered in Chapter 5, First Aid.

Chapter 3 – Crew Efficiency Factors


G.9. Development      Frostbite is the development of ice crystals within body tissues. Frostbite is most likely to
Factors               develop in air temperatures less than 20° F (-6.6° C). The following factors contribute to
                      frostbite development:
                      •    Cold stressors (wind, air temperature, and exposure to water).
                      •    Any restriction of blood-flow.
                      •    Lack of appropriate protection.
                      •    Skin exposure.

G.10. Symptoms        A frostbite victim will complain of painful cold and numbness in the affected area. Waxy
                      white or yellow-white, hard, cold, and insensitive areas will develop. As the area begins to
                      thaw, it will be extremely painful and swelling (reddish-purple) or blisters may appear.
                      Areas prone to frostbite include all extremities where the blood has traveled farthest from the
                      heart, such as the hands, feet, face, and ear lobes. A patient suffering from frostbite should
                      also be treated for hypothermia.

                       Any person who has had frostbite previously is at an increased risk for cold exposure injury in that
  WARNING              same area of the body.

G.11. Prevention      Cold weather clothing and equipment is essential to preventing cold-related injuries and
                      fatigue. Such items include thermal boots, woolen socks, watch caps, gloves, and thermal
                      undergarments (polypropylene) made of fleece or pile. During cold conditions, coxswains
                      should discuss the possibilities of frostbite with the crew before getting underway.

Layering Clothing

G.12. First Layer -   Staying dry is an essential factor to maintaining body temperature. Clothing worn next to the skin
Wicking               must carry or “wick” moisture away from the body. Cotton clothing can pose particular problems.
                      They absorb and retain moisture, which will rob body heat through evaporation. Wool has good
                      insulating properties even when wet, but it is less than ideal because it stays wet. Modern synthetic
                      wicking fibers such as polypropylene do not retain moisture. They will actually draw moisture from
                      the skin and transport it to an absorbent outer layer. This clothing works well by itself, or it can be
                      combined with a second layer for extreme cold.

G.13. Second          The insulating effect of a fabric is related to how much air it can trap. This is why a loose-
Layer - Insulation    knit or fuzzy material is better than one that is tightly knit. It is also why two thin layers of a
                      given material are better than one thick one. The second layer traps air, which retains body
                      heat, while absorbing excess moisture from the first layer. Wool or cotton thermals are an
                      acceptable second layer if worn over a wicking layer, but a number of synthetic fleece or pile
                      garments do a much better job. An example of this is the fleece coverall.

G.14. Third Layer     The outer layer should stop wind and water, so the inner layers can work as designed.
- Moisture Barrier    Choices include the anti-exposure coverall, dry suit, or rain gear. The dry suits and rain gear
                      have no insulating properties and will require extra insulation for cold weather. Also, as
                      most dry suits do not “breathe,” an absorbent second layer is needed so that perspiration has
                      a place to go.


                                                                                   Chapter 3 – Crew Efficiency Factors

G.15. Extremities   Most heat loss occurs through the extremities, especially the head. It is particularly
                    important to cover these areas well. It is still important to layer properly, but thinner, or all-
                    in-one materials must be used to reduce bulk. For the head, a wool cap may work, but a
                    heavy wicking hood or cap worn alone or under a wool cap will keep you drier and warmer.
                    A rain hat/hood/sou’wester should be considered for wet weather. Gloves should be
                    waterproof, and a wicking liner glove will work better than wool. High top rubber boots are
                    the only option for wet weather. A wicking liner sock under a wool, cotton, or fleece outer
                    sock will provide the best warmth. Insoles should be non-absorbent. A perforated foam
                    insole also works well.

                    Section H.              Sun and Heat-Related Factors

Introduction        Crewmembers must be aware of the dangers of too much exposure to the sun and take
                    preventive measures to guard against a decrease in performance. Intense sunlight and
                    extreme heat can increase crew fatigue and reduce effectiveness. This section discusses the
                    various sun and heat-related factors that crewmembers may encounter during their activities.

       NOTE         Detailed treatment information on all heat related injuries can be found in Chapter 5, First Aid.

In this Section     This section contains the following information:

                                                            Title                                               See Page
                    Sunburn                                                                                        3-14
                    Dehydration                                                                                    3-15
                    Heat Rash (Prickly Heat)                                                                       3-16
                    Heat Cramps                                                                                    3-16
                    Heat Exhaustion                                                                                3-17
                    Heat Stroke                                                                                    3-17
                    Susceptibility to Heat Problems                                                                3-18


H.1. Description    Continuous exposure to the sun can cause sunburn and other complications such as heat
                    stroke, dehydration, etc. Unprotected exposed skin will suffer from premature aging and an
                    increased chance of skin cancer.

H.2. Symptoms       Sunburn appears as redness, swelling, or blistering of the skin. Other effects of
                    overexposure to the sun are fever, gastrointestinal symptoms, malaise, and pigment changes
                    in the skin.


                                                                                Boat Crew Seamanship Manual

                   Section A.             Personal Flotation Device (PFD)

Introduction       The term personal flotation device (PFD) is a general name for the various types of devices
                   designed to keep a person afloat in water. PFDs include life preservers, vests, cushions,
                   rings, and other throwable items. They are available in five different types: Type I, II, III,
                   IV and V. Each type of PFD provides a certain amount of flotation.

                   Regardless of the type, all PFDs must be Coast Guard-approved, meaning they comply with
                   Coast Guard specifications and regulations relating to performance, construction, and
                   materials. A usable PFD is labeled Coast Guard-approved, in good serviceable condition,
                   and of appropriate size for the intended user. Each boat crewmember must wear a usable
                   PFD appropriate for the weather conditions and operations in which he/she will be

       NOTE        A wearable PFD can save a life, but only if it is worn.

In this Section    This section contains the following information:

                                                              Title                                   See Page
                   Type I PFD                                                                            6-2
                   Type II PFD                                                                           6-4
                   Type III PFD                                                                          6-4
                   Type IV PFD                                                                           6-6
                   Type V PFD                                                                            6-7
                   PFD Storage and Care                                                                  6-7
                   PFD Survival Equipment                                                                6-8
                   Standard Navy Preserver                                                              6-10

Type I PFD

A.1. Description   The Type I PFD, or “offshore life jacket,” is a one-piece, reversible PFD intended primarily
                   for use by survivors, passengers on towed vessels, or prisoners aboard vessels. A Type I
                   PFD provides an unconscious person the greatest chance of survival in the water. The Type
                   I PFD is the only wearable device required to be reversible. It comes in two sizes, an adult
                   size (90 pounds and over) which provides at least 20 pounds of buoyancy and a child size
                   (less than 90 pounds) which provides at least 11 pounds of buoyancy. The PFD must be
                   international orange in color.

A.2. Advantages    A Type I PFD is effective for all waters, especially open, rough, or remote waters where
                   rescue may be delayed. It is designed to turn most unconscious wearers in the water from a
                   face-down position to a vertical or slightly backward position, allowing the wearer to
                   maintain that position. It provides at least 11-20 pounds of buoyancy. This buoyancy will
                   allow the wearer to relax and save energy while in the water, thus extending survival time.

Chapter 6 – Survival Equipment and Pyrotechnics

A.3. Disadvantages    There are three major disadvantages to this type of PFD:
                      •    It is bulky and restricts movement.
                      •    Its buoyancy restricts the underwater swimming ability needed to escape from a
                           capsized boat or to avoid burning oil or other hazards on the surface of the water.
                      •    It provides minimal protection against hypothermia.

      NOTE            This type of PFD is not recommended for use by boat crews because it restricts mobility.

A.4. Donning          Before entering the water, don and adjust a Type I PFD using the following procedures:

                      For safety, always tuck all loose straps into your pockets, shirt, or belt. Adjust straps on injured
  WARNING             people before they are lowered into the water.

                            Step                                              Procedure
                              1        Grasp the PFD at the lower part of head opening and pull outward to expand
                              2        Slip your head through opening.
                              3        Pass the body strap around the back and fasten at the front of the PFD, then
                                       adjust the strap for a snug fit.

A.5. Entering the     Use the following procedures to enter the water:

                      Follow these steps before entering the water wearing any type of PFD or combination of cold weather
      NOTE            protective device (e.g., dry suit) and PFD.

                            Step                                              Procedure
                              1        Ensure all straps on the PFD are securely fastened, tightened to a snug fit, and
                                       tucked in to prevent them from snagging.
                              2        Stand on the boat’s gunwale, on the windward side, at a point closest to the
                              3        Check surrounding area for hazards and verify depth of water.
                              4        Fold arms across chest and grip the PFD with fingers. This will prevent the
                                       PFD from riding-up and striking the chin or neck.
                              5        Keep the body erect and legs held together and crossed when entering the
                                       water. It is better to gently slip in, if possible, rather than jumping.
                              6        If jumping into water is necessary with chemicals, oil, or burning oil on the
                                       surface, place one hand over mouth with palm under chin and split fingers
                                       tightly squeezing nostrils shut. Place other hand on the PFD collar to keep it
                                       in place.

                                                                 Chapter 6 – Survival Equipment and Pyrotechnics


A.6. Description     The Type II PFD, also known as a “near-shore buoyant vest,” is a wearable device that will
                     turn some unconscious wearers to a face-up position in the water. It comes in different
                     colors and in three categories:
                     •   Adult (more than 90 pounds) which provides at least 15.5 pounds of buoyancy.
                     •   Child, medium (50 to 90 pounds) which provides at least 11 pounds of buoyancy.
                     •   Infant (available in two sizes, less than 50 pounds and less than 30 pounds), which
                         provides at least 7 pounds of buoyancy.

A.7. Advantages      This type is usually more comfortable to wear than the Type I. It is usually the preferred
                     PFD if there is a chance of a quick rescue, such as when other boats or people are nearby.

A.8. Disadvantages   The turning characteristic of the Type II is not as strong as with a Type I because of a lesser
                     amount of flotation material, and therefore, under similar conditions, will not be as effective
                     in turning a person to a face-up position.

A.9. Donning         Before entering the water, don and adjust a Type II PFD using the following procedures:

                          Step                                        Procedure
                           1        Grasp the PFD at the lower part of head opening and pull outward to expand
                           2        Slip head through opening.
                           3        Pass the body strap around the back and fasten at the front of the PFD, then
                                    adjust the strap for a snug fit.
                           4        Secure the chest ties with a bow knot for a snug fit.

A.10. Entering the   To enter the water while wearing a Type II PFD, follow the instructions in paragraph A.5
Water                above.


A.11. Description    The Type III PFD, also known as a “flotation aid,” is routinely worn aboard boats when
                     freedom of movement is required and the risk of falling over the side is minimal. It is not
                     designed to turn an unconscious wearer to a face-up position; the design is such that
                     conscious wearers can place themselves in a vertical or slightly backward position. It has a
                     minimum of 15.5 pounds of buoyancy and comes in many sizes and colors. Figure 6-1
                     shows the Type III PFD vest that boat crews are authorized to wear. Most approved
                     flotation coats (“float coats”) are also Type III PFDs.

Chapter 6 – Survival Equipment and Pyrotechnics

                                                  Figure 6-1
                                               Type III PFD Vest

A.12. Dynamic         With the Coast Guard’s inventory of high-speed boats increasing, the need for PFDs that
Strength-Tested       provide proper protection for entering the water at high speed has increased. Dynamic
Type III PFDs         strength-tested Type III PFDs are available to boat crews that operate at these high speeds
                      (i.e. greater than 30 knots). Additional securing methods have been added to the Type III
                      style of vest to ensure a secure fit. More information on these PFDs can be found in the
                      Rescue and Survival Systems Manual, COMDTINST M10470.10 (series).

A.13. Advantages      Type III PFDs offer boat crewmembers greater comfort and freedom of movement. It is
                      designed so wearers can place themselves in a face-up position in the water. The Type III
                      PFD allows greater wearing comfort and is particularly useful when water-skiing, sailing,
                      hunting from a boat, or other water activities.

                     The Type III PFD will not provide an adequate level of buoyancy when worn with a full complement
  WARNING            of law enforcement gear. If unable to remain afloat, jettison easily accessible equipment.

A.14.                 The following are some disadvantages to the Type III PFD:
                      •   Flotation characteristics are marginal and not suitable for wear in heavy seas.
                      •   Tendency to ride-up on the wearer in the water.
                      •   Wearer may have to tilt head back to avoid a face-down posture in the water.
                      •   While the Type III has the same amount of buoyancy material as the Type II PFD, the
                          distribution of the flotation material in a Type III reduces or eliminates the turning

                                                               Chapter 6 – Survival Equipment and Pyrotechnics

A.15. Donning       Before entering the water, don and adjust a Type III PFD using the following procedures:

                         Step                                           Procedure
                          1       Place your arms through the openings in the vest.
                          2       Close zipper, if provided. Close front slide fasteners.
                          3       Adjust waist straps for a snug fit.
                          4       Secure any additional belts, zippers, and straps the PFD provides for high-
                                  speed operation.


A.16. Description   The Type IV PFD is a Coast Guard-approved device that is thrown to a person-in-the-water
                    and is grasped by the user until rescued. The most common Type IV devices are buoyant
                    cushions and ring buoys. Buoyant cushions come in many different colors. Ring buoys (see
                    Figure 6-2) must be white or orange in color.

                                                Figure 6-2
                                                Ring Buoy

A.17. Advantages    An advantage of the Type IV PFD is that since it is not worn like other PFDs, there are no
                    size restrictions. This type of PFD is designed to be stored on deck for easy deployment
                    should someone fall overboard. If quickly deployed following a man overboard, the Type
                    IV PFD also acts as a marker assisting in returning to the area where the person originally
                    fell overboard. (See Chapter 16 for more information on Person-in-the-Water Recovery).

A.18.               A disadvantage of the Type IV PFD is that it is not worn, although some can be secured to
Disadvantages       the body once reached in the water.

Chapter 6 – Survival Equipment and Pyrotechnics

Type V PFD

A.19. Description     Type V PFDs are also known as “special-use devices.” They are intended for specific
                      activities and may be carried instead of another PFD only if used according to the approval
                      condition on the label. For example, a Type V PFD designed for use during commercial
                      white-water rafting will only be acceptable during commercial rafting. It is not acceptable
                      for other activities unless specified on the label. Examples of Type V PFDs are
                      •   Coast Guard work vest with unicellular foam pads.
                      •   Thermal protective PFDs (anti-exposure coveralls/immersion suits).
                      •   CG authorized hybrid automatic/manual inflatable PFDs.

A.20. Hypothermia     Some Type V devices provide significant hypothermia protection. Refer to Section B of this
Protection            chapter for more information on the anti-exposure coverall and immersion suit.

A.21. Inflatable      Automatic/manual inflatable PFDs have been added to the list of allowable survival
PFDs                  equipment for boat crews. As with other Type V PFDs, the inflatable is designed for
                      specific operating conditions that give it certain advantages and disadvantages.

A.22. Advantages      The Type V inflatable PFD offers boat crewmembers greater comfort and maneuverability
                      compared to the typical Type III vest. Lightweight and not as bulky, the Type V inflatable is
                      especially beneficial to units in warmer climates. When inflated, the Type V provides more
                      buoyancy as well as the positive righting feature found in a Type II PFD. Some Type V
                      inflatables provide storage pockets/pouches which, when properly outfitted, eliminate the
                      need for wearing the Boat Crew Survival Vest mentioned later in this chapter.

A.23.                 The initial purchase price and preventive maintenance costs of the Type V inflatable are
Disadvantages         greater than that of the typical Type III vest. It also requires more frequent and complicated
                      preventive maintenance. As with any other automated feature, if the auto-inflate mechanism
                      were inoperative, the PFD would have to be manually inflated. This could be a problem if
                      the crewmember was knocked unconscious while falling overboard. Also, current inflatable
                      PFDs are not dynamic strength-tested for high-speed boat operations.

A.24. Donning         There are several different styles of Type V inflatable PFDs approved for Coast Guard use.
                      Each has a specific method of donning, equipment storage, and activation. Prior to use, each
                      crewmember must complete the performance qualification standards for that specific style of
                      inflatable PFD. These can be found in Chapter 4 of the Rescue and Survival Systems
                      Manual, COMDTINST M10470.10 (series).

PFD Storage and Care

A.25. Description     Despite the mildew inhibitor treatment that is required by manufacturers for PFDs, stowing
                      them in moist locations will increase deterioration of the fabric. Heat, moisture, and sunlight
                      will increase the deterioration of the parts of PFDs.

A.26. Storage         PFDs should be stored in a cool, dry place out of direct sunlight. A “dry” area is considered
                      any suitable area where water will not condense on a PFD. All PFDs should be kept away
                      from oil, paint, and greasy substances. The Coast Guard does not consider any PFD “readily
                      accessible” if it is kept in its original wrapper. Persons under stress may be unable to get
                      them out promptly. Also, the wrapper can trap moisture leading to mildew and rot.

                                                                     Chapter 6 – Survival Equipment and Pyrotechnics

      NOTE          Remember, more important than their storage condition is that they are readily accessible.

A.27. Care          If a PFD requires cleaning, it should be washed in fresh, warm water with a mild detergent,
                    then rinsed in clean, fresh water. Additional maintenance requirements for all styles of
                    PFDs used in the Coast Guard can be found in the Rescue and Survival Systems Manual,
                    COMDTINST M10470.10 (series).

PFD Survival Equipment

A.28. Description   PFD survival equipment is attached to a PFD to provide a means of signaling a position
                    from the surface of the water using sight and sound signals.

A.29. Standard      All PFDs in service shall be outfitted with two accessories:
                    •    Whistle secured to the PFD with a lanyard.
                    •    Distress signal light (battery-operated strobe light or the personnel marker light (PML)
                         chemical light) secured to the PFD.
                    The requirement for a whistle and a distress signal light may be waived if the PFD is worn in
                    conjunction with a properly outfitted boat crew survival vest or survival equipment
                    pocket/pouch (both discussed later in this chapter) found on Type V inflatables. Only
                    trained personnel should be outfitted with the survival vest. For passengers not familiar with
                    the contents of the survival vest, their PFD should be outfitted with the required whistle and
                    distress signal light.

                    Auxiliary PFD survival equipment requirements are in the Auxiliary Operations Policy Manual,
      NOTE          COMDTINST M16798.3 (series).

                    The PML replaces only the distress signal light that is required to be attached to all PFDs in service.
    CAUTION !       It does not replace the distress signal light (SDU-5/E or CG-1 strobe) that boat crewmembers are
                    required to carry in their boat crew signal kit.

                    There is a seal at one end of the PML that holds the protective sleeve in place. If this seal is broken,
    CAUTION !       replace the PML immediately.

A.30. Personnel     A PML is a device that uses either battery or chemical action to provide light for the wearer
Marker Light        to be seen during darkness. The yellow-green light of a PML is visible for a distance of
(PML)               approximately one mile on a clear night, and lasts as long as eight hours. It is the only
                    chemical light approved for use as a distress signal light on a PFD. A certified PML
                    complies with regulation 46 CFR 161.012 (Coast Guard-approved). (see Figure 6-3)

A.30.a. Design      Large marine supply houses carry Coast Guard-approved PMLs. PMLs are specifically
                    designed to be attached to a PFD without damaging or interfering with the PFD’s
                    performance. The PML’s hard plastic sleeve protects the glass ampules inside the tube from
                    breakage and deterioration from the effects of light.

Chapter 6 – Survival Equipment and Pyrotechnics

A.30.b. Activation    There are three procedures needed to activate the PML:

                          Step                                              Procedure
                            1        Squeeze the handle to break the glass vials of activating chemical compounds
                                     suspended inside the tube.
                            2        Remove the black sleeve.
                            3        Squeeze the handle again if the PML does not light.

A.30.c. Effects of    The intensity of the PML’s light signal in cold weather (below 10° C/50° F) is reduced. In
Temperature           colder temperatures, the light will last longer, but will not have the same brilliance as in
                      warmer conditions. Units that consistently operate in temperatures below 10° C/50° F shall
                      use distress signal lights in place of PMLs.

       NOTE           Most batteries or chemicals have a useful shelf-life of about two years. Therefore, check PMLs for
                      the expiration date (located somewhere on the device) to find out when replacement is in order.

                      The time period a chemical light provides effective illumination depends upon its age and the
                      temperature. A recently purchased light stick used in 21-27° C (70-80° F) temperatures (ideal
       NOTE           conditions) will provide 8 to 12 hours of light. As the device gets older, its effective period is
                      considerably less.

                                                    Figure 6-3
                                          Personnel Marker Light (PML)


                                                                     Chapter 6 – Survival Equipment and Pyrotechnics

A.31.               Most styles of PFDs used today have retroreflective material already attached. When this
Retroreflective     material is illuminated by a light source, it is reflected back, making it much easier to locate
Material            the PFD in the dark. However, some PFDs (Navy standard with collar & ring buoys) do not
                    come with retroreflective material attached. Coast Guard-approved reflective material must
                    be applied to the PFD in accordance with the Rescue and Survival Systems Manual,
                    COMDTINST M10470.10 (series).

Standard Navy Preserver

A.32. Description   The Standard Navy Preserver, although not Coast Guard-approved, is a common PFD used
                    by the naval services. This preserver is one of the best devices for keeping a person afloat;
                    however, its major drawback is that it requires training to become familiar with the many
                    straps and fastenings used to don this device quickly and properly. Consequently, the
                    Standard Navy Preserver is not Coast Guard-approved for civilian use. Any auxiliarist who
                    plans to go aboard a Coast Guard boat or cutter as crew (or passenger) should request
                    instructions in donning this PFD.

                    Section B.            Hypothermia Protective Clothing

Introduction        Accidentally falling into cold water has two potentially lethal consequences: drowning and
                    hypothermia. Previously, the protection provided by PFDs against drowning was discussed.
                    The Coast Guard requires active duty Coast Guard and Auxiliary crews to wear hypothermia
                    protective clothing in heavy weather or hazardous operating conditions. However, the
                    Operational Commander may waive this requirement. For further information on waivers,
                    refer to the Rescue and Survival Systems Manual, COMDTINST M10470.10 (series).

                    Hypothermia protective clothing is designed to permit functioning in cold weather and water
                    conditions. There are four primary types used by the Coast Guard:
                    •    Anti-exposure coverall.
                    •    Dry suit (or approved replacement).
                    •    Wet suit (cutter swimmers only).
                    •    Immersion suit.

                    A special type float coat, with a Type V-approval label, meets the same flotation requirements as the
       NOTE         anti-exposure coverall, but provides only partial covering and less thermal protection.

In this section     This section contains the following information:

                                                             Title                                              See Page
                    Requirements                                                                                  6-11
                    Anti-Exposure Coverall                                                                        6-12
                    Dry Suit                                                                                      6-14
                    Wet Suit                                                                                      6-16
                    Immersion Suit                                                                                6-17


Chapter 6 – Survival Equipment and Pyrotechnics


B.1. Description      The Unit Commander may waive the requirement for hypothermia protective clothing for
                      boat crewmembers on a case-by-case basis when the degree of risk to exposure and
                      hypothermia is minimal (e.g., non-hazardous daylight operations in calm water). When a
                      waiver is granted, hypothermia protective clothing must be carried on the boat. Coxswains
                      shall require boat crewmembers to don proper hypothermia protective clothing during heavy
                      weather or hazardous operations (e.g., recovery of a person from the water or helicopter
                      operations). Unit Commanders are responsible for the enforcement of this policy for
                      Auxiliary facilities under their operational control. If an Auxiliary facility is granted a
                      waiver, it is not required to carry protective clothing aboard.

                      Timely rescue is a high priority when victims are in the water. When the boat has prior knowledge of
                      a victim in the water, the surface swimmer, if available, will don a dry or wet suit and swimmer’s
      NOTE            safety harness before entering the water. Coxswains of boats operating in water temperatures that
                      dictate the use of a dry or wet suit shall ensure that the surface swimmer is correctly outfitted.

B.2. Temperature      Coxswains, crewmembers, boarding officers and boarding team members operating in or
Requirements          being carried by shore- or cutter-based boats shall wear the hypothermia protection and
                      survival equipment indicated in Figure 6-4. The figure reflects the minimum required
                      equipment. Additional protection may be worn at the crewmember’s discretion. Use
                      Figure 6-4 as follows:
                      •    Draw a horizontal line across the graph that is equal to the water temperature for the
                      •    Draw a vertical line up the graph that is equal to the air temperature for the mission.
                      •    Don the equipment identified in the shaded area where the lines intersect.

                                                Figure 6-4
                          Air and Water Temperature - Required Survival Equipment

                                                                      Chapter 6 – Survival Equipment and Pyrotechnics

                       More layers of clothing reduce maneuverability that can be dangerous for boat crewmembers. Also,
  WARNING              remember to wear insulated socks and boots (with reinforced toe), hoods, face masks, goggles and
                       gloves as required to protect against the elements. (see Chapter 3, Crew Efficiency Factors)

B.3. Layered           The best way to avoid cold-related injuries is to wear proper clothing. When choosing
Clothing               clothing combinations, the best advice is to layer clothing. As the work effort changes or
                       when an article of clothing becomes damp, the number of layers can be adjusted for comfort.

B.4. Maintaining       Wet clothing robs the body of heat by breaking down the thermal protection of insulated
Body Heat              clothing. It is extremely important to replace wet clothing as soon as possible to prevent
                       cold-related injuries, particularly if the person is idle after a period of heavy perspiring.
                       Many cold weather medical problems involve wet hands, feet and head. These areas should
                       receive special care.

B.5. Wearing a         Boat crewmembers shall wear a PFD at all times when wearing the dry suit. Crewmembers
PFD                    should not wear a PFD over an anti-exposure coverall.

                       A wet suit is not authorized for use by boat crewmembers - it may be worn by a cutter surface
      NOTE             swimmer.

B.6. Distress Signal   Boat crewmembers shall wear the boat crew survival vest over the PFD. If wearing the
Devices                Type V inflatable PFD, the distress signaling equipment found in the survival vest will be
                       stored in the inflatable’s storage pocket/pouch. Surface swimmers wearing a dry or wet suit
                       may carry a distress signal light and a signal whistle in lieu of the contents of the boat crew
                       survival vest. Wearing a PML is recommended for boat crewmembers and the surface

Anti-Exposure Coverall

B.7. Description       Anti-exposure coveralls are Type V PFDs. The anti-exposure coverall is the standard
                       garment for moderate weather operations with closed cockpit boats. (see Figure 6-5) It
                       provides good durability and out-of-water protection from the elements, but limited
                       protection from hypothermia in the water.

B.8.                   Anti-exposure coveralls are constructed with a fabric cover and a closed cell foam lining.
Characteristics        These suits provide a full range of movement and come in a variety of sizes. They provide
                       adequate mobility and protection from limited exposure to outside elements such as wind
                       and spray. The flotation characteristics of the coverall are similar to those of the Type III
                       PFD. The approved coveralls feature an orally inflated pillow for a better flotation angle for
                       extended periods of exposure.

Chapter 6 – Survival Equipment and Pyrotechnics

                      Wearing a type I or III PFD over an anti-exposure coverall may be dangerous in certain situations.
                      The additional buoyancy may restrict the wearer’s ability to swim out from under a capsized boat. In
  WARNING             extreme situations, where buoyancy is a limitation instead of an advantage, it may be necessary to
                      remove the PFD.

                      When wearing this type of suit, it is important to tighten all closures and adjustments before entering
    CAUTION !         the water. A loose-fitting suit may allow too much water in and greatly reduce the thermal
                      effectiveness of the suit, leading to hypothermia.

B.9. Use              Anti-exposure coveralls provide hypothermia protection when the wearer is only
                      periodically exposed to conditions which cause hypothermia. When more than periodic
                      exposure is anticipated, even on boats with closed cockpits, a dry suit should be worn.

B.10. Donning         Anti-exposure coveralls are designed to be worn over the uniform in the same manner as
                      standard coveralls. For added protection, polypropylene thermal underwear should be worn
                      as a moisture wicking layer next to the skin. Also, insulated socks and boots (with
                      reinforced toe), hoods, face masks, goggles and gloves should be used to protect against the

B.11. Entering the    Before entering the water with anti-exposure coveralls, perform the following procedures:
                            Step                                             Procedure
                              1        Ensure the zipper is completely closed.
                              2        Tighten straps at the neck, waist, thigh, and ankle to reduce transfer of cold
                                       water inside the suit. This increases the degree of hypothermia protection.
                              3        Orally inflate the pillow behind the collar. This will provide support for the

                                                                  Chapter 6 – Survival Equipment and Pyrotechnics

                                               1.   LINED HOOD
                                               2.   ORAL INFLATION TUBE
                                               3.   INFLATABLE HOOD
                                               4.   POCKETS
                                               5.   WRIST CLOSURES
                                               6.   ADJUSTABLE BELT
                                               7.   RETROREFLECTIVE TAPE
                                               8.   LEG STRAPS

                                                 Figure 6-5
                                           Anti-Exposure Coverall

Dry Suit

                    Dry suits provide no inherent buoyancy. A PFD must be worn over a dry suit at all times while
  WARNING           underway.

B.12. Description   The dry suit provides protection in areas where exposure to wind, spray, cold water, and
                    hypothermia is likely. (see Figure 6-6) The dry suit, with proper undergarments, provides
                    the best protection for crewmembers in adverse weather and cold-water immersion.

                    When the mission performed by the member is more likely to cause excess damage to a dry
                    suit (AtoN maintenance, fisheries boardings), other Coast Guard authorized hypothermia
                    protective clothing may be worn. Details on all authorized PFDs can be found in the Rescue
                    and Survival Systems Manual, COMDTINST M10470.10 (series).

Chapter 6 – Survival Equipment and Pyrotechnics

B.13.                 Dry suits are constructed of a trilaminate, breathable fabric. They have watertight seals at
Characteristics       the neck, wrist, and ankles to keep the wearer dry and are designed so that one common size
                      will fit most adults.

                      Dry suits alone provide inadequate insulation or hypothermic protection. Wear thermal underwear
                      layered underneath the dry suit. Fully close the zipper prior to entering the water. Consult the Rescue
  WARNING             and Survival Systems Manual, COMDTINST M10470.10 (series) for a complete list of

B.14. Use             When worn with a PFD and proper undergarments, a dry suit offers mobility and superior
                      protection against the effects of wind, spray and cold-water immersion.

B.15. Donning         Don a dry suit as described in the Rescue and Survival Systems Manual, COMDTINST
                      M10470.10 (series). Multifilament polypropylene thermal underwear must be worn under
                      the suit for proper protection against cold. By layering underwear, crewmembers achieve
                      maximum protection from hypothermia. Consequently, this suit is more bulky and loose
                      fitting than a diver’s wet suit. PFDs must also be worn because a dry suit has no inherent
                      buoyancy. A dry suit is not a PFD.

B.16. Entering the    Before entering the water, perform the following procedures:
                            Step                                            Procedure
                             1        Slip on a wet suit hood.
                             2        Close all zippers and tighten all wrist and ankle straps.
                             3        Put on gloves.

                                                      Figure 6-6
                                                       Dry Suit

                                                              Chapter 6 – Survival Equipment and Pyrotechnics

Wet Suit

B.17. Description   The wet suit may be worn by cutter surface swimmers when entering the water. (see Figure
                    6-7) The wet suit is not authorized for use by boat crewmembers. It provides protection
                    from exposure to cold water, but will not keep the user dry. A dry suit or anti-exposure
                    coverall provides more out-of-water protection.

                                                Figure 6-7
                                       Wet Suit (Typical Neoprene)

B.18.               The standard wet suit is fabricated of 3⁄16" neoprene foam, an elastic material with high-
Characteristics     flotation characteristics. The surface swimmer’s wet suit ensemble consists of a custom
                    fitted two-piece farmer-john style wet suit, a custom fitted one-piece shorty wet suit, hood,
                    gloves and boots. Refer to the Rescue and Survival Systems Manual, COMDTINST
                    M10470.10 (series) for procurement and inspection.

Chapter 6 – Survival Equipment and Pyrotechnics

B.19. Use             Units should issue a wet suit to personnel designated as surface swimmers. It should be
                      individually fitted. For added comfort and warmth, the suit may be worn over
                      polypropylene cold weather underwear. Units shall issue custom-fitted wet suits as non-
                      returnable items.

                      Wet suits are not authorized for crewmembers operating boats. Surface swimmers may wear either a
      NOTE            dry suit or a wet suit when in the water, depending on water temperature.

B.20. Donning         When properly worn and with all fasteners closed, a wet suit should fit almost skin-tight.

Immersion Suit

B.21. Description     The immersion suit (also know as a survival suit) is worn when abandoning ship. They
                      provide flotation as well as excellent hypothermia protection. (see Figure 6-8)

B.22.                 The immersion suit is a one-piece international orange garment constructed of nylon-lined
Characteristics       neoprene or polyvinyl chloride foam. It is also equipped with an inflatable pillow to help
                      keep the wearer’s head out of the water. The suit has a built-in hood, boots, and gloves.
                      The immersion suit is designed as one size fits all.

B.23. Use             The immersion suit is used when extended exposure to the elements is expected. It is the
                      recommended PFD when abandoning ship. Even if boarding the life raft directly from the
                      ship is possible, the immersion suit should still be worn. It is not to be used as a working
                      outfit due to the wearer’s limited dexterity when wearing the suit.

B.24. Donning         The immersion suit is similar to a regular pair of coveralls with a central zipper closing the
                      one opening. Before putting on the immersion suit, care should be taken to ensure all sharp
                      objects (knives, pens, collar devices) are stowed to prevent puncturing the suit. Footwear
                      should also be removed before donning to reduce the possibility of tearing. Donning an
                      immersion suit may be awkward and is best done in pairs with another crewmember.

                 Chapter 6 – Survival Equipment and Pyrotechnics

  Figure 6-8
Immersion Suit

Chapter 6 – Survival Equipment and Pyrotechnics

                                       Section C.               Headgear
Introduction          Boat crew personnel wear headgear for protection in cold weather conditions and during
                      other hazardous conditions such as heavy weather and high-speed operations.
C.1. Thermal          The Navy standard wool watch cap is worn for thermal protection. However, under extreme
Protection            weather conditions it offers little protection to the face and neck. When operating in a cold
                      environment, the polypropylene or fleece balaclava should be worn in conjunction with the
                      wool watch cap or protective helmet.
                      For units that operate in dry suits, a neoprene hood shall be part of the crewmember’s outfit.
                      This orange hood will be stored in the front leg pocket of the dry suit and donned anytime a
                      crewmember enters water that is 50° F or lower.
C.2. Protective       The wearing of helmets on boats under hazardous conditions, such as heavy weather and
Helmet                helicopter operations, is mandatory for Coast Guard crews and strongly recommended for
                      auxiliarists. A lightweight kayaker-type helmet is the best.

       NOTE           The use of helmets by boat crews is recommended during high-speed operations.

                           Section D.              Boat Crew Survival Vest

     CAUTION !        Do not wear the boat crew survival vest over any inflatable PFD!

Introduction          The equipment in the boat crew survival vest provides crewmembers a means to signal their
                      position on the surface of the water, day or night. The vest is worn over all PFDs with the
                      exception of Type V inflatables. The vest does not interfere with wearing a PFD or
                      hypothermia protective clothing. If using a Type V inflatable, the equipment normally
                      stored in the boat crew survival vest will be tethered to the PFD’s storage pocket/pouch.
                      The components of the boat crew survival vest shall not be removed to other
                      devices/individual PFDs. Auxiliary survival equipment requirements are outlined in the
                      Auxiliary Operations Policy Manual, COMDTINST M16798.3 (series).

In this section       This section contains the following information:

                                                             Title                                       See Page
                      Contents of the Boat Crew Survival Vest                                              6-20
                      Emergency Signaling Mirror                                                           6-21
                      Signal Whistle                                                                       6-22
                      Smoke and Illumination Signal, MK-124 MOD 0                                          6-23
                      Illumination Signal Kit, MK-79 MOD 0                                                 6-25
                      Distress Signal Light                                                                6-27
                      Survival Knife                                                                       6-29
                      Personal Locator Beacon (PLB)                                                        6-29


                                                                       Chapter 6 – Survival Equipment and Pyrotechnics

Contents of the Boat Crew Survival Vest

                      A boat coxswain is responsible for ensuring that each boat crewmember wears the appropriate PFD
                      for the weather conditions/operations they will be performing. In addition to the PFD, each
       CAUTION !      crewmember must also be outfitted with either a boat crew survival vest, or if wearing a Type V
                      inflatable PFD, the same contents found in the survival vest stored in the PFD’s pocket/pouch.

D.1. Description      Boat crew survival vests contain the equipment listed in Table 6-1, with their use,
                      characteristics, and operation described later in this section.

                      Figure 6-9 shows the boat crew survival vest and the proper storage location for each item.

        NOTE          The PML is not an authorized substitute for the distress signal light.

                                                    Figure 6-9
                                              Boat Crew Survival Vest

                                                     Table 6-1
                                     Contents of the Boat Crew Survival Vest
       Item #                                           Equipment                                          Quantity
         1         Emergency Signaling Mirror                                                                   1
         2         Signal Whistle                                                                               1
         3         Marine Smoke and Illumination Signal                                                         1
         4         Illumination Signal Kit                                                                      1
         5         Distress Signal Light                                                                        1
         6         Survival Knife                                                                               1
         7         Personal Locator Beacon (PLB)                                                                1


Chapter 6 – Survival Equipment and Pyrotechnics

                      To prevent losing signal kit equipment overboard while being handled, each item shall be tethered to
      NOTE            the vest with a lanyard.

Emergency Signaling Mirror

D.2. Description      The emergency signaling mirror is a pocket-sized mirror with a sighting hole in the center
                      and a lanyard attached. (see Figure 6-10) However, any common mirror is useful as an
                      emergency signaling device.

                                                Figure 6-10
                                      Emergency Signaling Mirror, MK-3

D.3. Use              The mirror is used to attract the attention of passing aircraft, boats, or ground rescue teams
                      by reflecting light at them.

D.4.                  Light reflected in this manner can be seen at a great distance from the point of origin.
Characteristics       Practice is the key to effective use of a signal mirror.

                                                               Chapter 6 – Survival Equipment and Pyrotechnics

D.5. Operation     Instructions for using the mirror are printed on its backside. If these instructions have been
                   worn away or are unreadable, the mirror shall be replaced. The following procedures
                   describe how to properly use this accessory:

                        Step                                        Procedure
                         1        Face a point about halfway between the sun and an object you wish to signal.
                         2        Reflect sunlight from the mirror onto a nearby surface such as the raft, your
                                  hand, etc.
                         3        Slowly bring the mirror up to eye-level and look through the sighting hole.
                                  You will see a bright light spot, this is the aim indicator.
                         4        Hold the mirror near your eye and slowly turn and manipulate it so the bright
                                  light spot is on target.

Signal Whistle

D.6. Description   The whistle is a small, hand-held device that produces a loud sound when it is blown. (see
                   Figure 6-11) The standard whistle is constructed of plastic and resembles a police officer’s

                                               Figure 6-11
                                              Signal Whistle

D.7. Use           The sound produced by a whistle will attract the attention of rescuers and guide them to the
                   whistle’s origination. During periods of restricted visibility, fog, and darkness, rescuers may
                   hear the sound it produces before they sight the distress signal light.

D.8.               Depending on weather conditions, a whistle’s audible sound may be heard up to 1,000
Characteristics    meters/1,100 yards. Any wind has the effect of carrying the sound downwind.

Chapter 6 – Survival Equipment and Pyrotechnics

D.9. Operation        To operate the signal whistle, perform the following procedures:

                           Step                                           Procedure
                             1        Place the reed part of a whistle between the lips and blow.
                             2        If the whistle does not produce a distinct whistle-like tone, quickly turn the
                                      whistle over and blow the water out the bail air relief hole and try again.

Smoke and Illumination Signal, MK-124 MOD 0

D.10. Description     The MK-124 MOD 0 is a pyrotechnic smoke and illumination signal used day or night as a
                      distress signal at sea or on land. (see Figure 6-12) One end produces orange smoke as the
                      day signal and the other end produces a red flare as the night signal. Because of its weight,
                      about 8 ounces, and size, it may be carried in a PFD, vest, anti-exposure coverall, or life raft.

                      Auxiliary crewmembers may use commercially available Coast Guard approved survival equipment
      NOTE            while operating an Auxiliary facility. See the Auxiliary Operations Policy Manual, COMDTINST
                      M16798.3 (series) for specific requirements.

                                                  Figure 6-12
                                 Smoke and Illumination Signal, MK-124 MOD 0

  WARNING             Under no circumstances shall personnel ignite both ends simultaneously.

D.11. Use             These signals are used to attract vessels, aircraft, and ground rescue teams day or night. The
                      signal may also be used to indicate wind direction for helicopter hoists. It is labeled with the
                      following operating instructions:
                      •    Do not dispose of the signal until both ends have been used.
                      •    Only when signals misfire should it be disposed of over the side. Misfires are a safety
                           hazard if kept onboard a vessel.
                      •    When both ends of the signal have been discharged, properly dispose of it. In an actual
                           distress situation, spent signals may be tossed over the side.

D.12.                 As mentioned above, both ends of the device produce a signal and each end burns for about
Characteristics       20 seconds. The night end produces a red flare (similar to a road flare) and the day end
                      produces orange smoke.

                                                                Chapter 6 – Survival Equipment and Pyrotechnics

D.13. Operation   The device has two raised bands around its circumference on its night end (flare). These
                  bands positively identify the night end by sense of touch. Also, a label on the case identifies
                  the day (smoke) and night (flare) ends and provides instructions for use.

                  After choosing which end to use, perform the following procedures:

                    Step                                            Procedure

                                        After ignition, the outer case may overheat and burn the hand. Dropping the
                   WARNING              signal on land will not decrease its effectiveness.

                                        Do not look directly at the light of a night flare close up. The intensity of the
                   WARNING              lights could burn the eyes.

                   WARNING              Do not direct either end of a signal toward another person.

                      1      Remove the black rubber protective cap from the end to be ignited.

                      2      Slide the plastic lever in the direction of the arrow until fully extended.
                      3      Hold the signal downwind and overhead at a 45° angle from the horizon over the
                             side of the raft or away from dry debris to prevent burns from hot drippings.

                                        Prior to pulling lever downward, position all fingers below top of signal.

                      4      Using the thumb, pull down on the extended tab to ignite signal. (see Figure
                      5      If the smoke signal end flames up, briefly immerse it in water or hold it against a
                             solid object.
                      6      After using one end, douse in water to cool it, or if on land, place it on the
                             ground to cool. Save the signal to use the other end when needed.

Chapter 6 – Survival Equipment and Pyrotechnics

                                                Figure 6-13
                                 Operating the MK-124 MOD 0 Signal Flare

Illumination Signal Kit, MK-79 MOD 0

D.14. Description     The MK-79 MOD 0 is a pyrotechnic illumination signal kit that contains seven screw-in
                      cartridge flares and one pencil-type projector. The projector in this kit is used to aim and
                      fire a signal cartridge. (see Figure 6-14)

                                                            Chapter 6 – Survival Equipment and Pyrotechnics

                                             Figure 6-14
                               Illumination Signal Kit, MK-79 MOD 0

D.15. Use         The MK-79 MOD 0 is used to attract vessels, aircraft, and ground rescue teams.

D.16.             These signals produce a red star display at an altitude of 250-650 feet for a minimum time of
Characteristics   4.5 seconds. Their luminous intensity is about 12,000 candle power.

D.17. Operation   The following are procedures for operating the MK-79 MOD 0:

Chapter 6 – Survival Equipment and Pyrotechnics

                         Step                                           Procedure

                                            Failing to cock the firing pin back may result in the cartridge firing
                       WARNING              prematurely when attaching to the projector.

                          1       Remove the bandolier and projector from the plastic envelope.
                          2       Cock the firing pin of the projector by moving the trigger screw to the bottom of
                                  the vertical slot and slipping it to the right so that it catches at the top of the
                                  angular (safety) slot.

                                            The plastic tabs over signals in the bandolier protect percussion primers on
                       WARNING              the cartridges from being struck accidentally. They should be kept intact
                                            until just before loading into the projector.

                          3       Bend protective plastic tab away from signal in bandolier to allow attachment to

                                            Keep the projectile-end of the flare pointed in a safe direction while loading
                       WARNING              the flare in the projector. Ensure Step 2 is completed prior to “loading”.
                                            Accidental firing may occur if projector is not cocked.

                          4       Mate a signal flare with the projector and rotate clockwise until signal is seated.

                          5       Hold projector overhead with arm fully extended. The projector should be
                                  pointed at a slight angle away from the body.
                          6       While firmly gripping the projector, fire the signal by slipping the trigger screw
                                  to the left out of the safety slot and into the firing slot.
                          7       If the signal fails to fire, try again twice by depressing the trigger screw to the
                                  bottom of the firing slot with the thumb and releasing it quickly. If it still fails
                                  to fire, wait 30 seconds before unscrewing, to eliminate possibility of hang fire.

                                             This action should be one continuous movement so that the thumb does not
                           NOTE             interfere with the upward motion of the trigger screw when it is brought into
                                            the firing slot. The trigger screw must "snap" upward.

                       WARNING              Do not aim at personnel, aircraft, or other objects.

                          8       Unscrew the spent signal case or signal that has failed to fire. Discard by
                                  throwing overboard.
                          9       To fire another signal, repeat the procedures above.

Distress Signal Light

D.18. Description     The distress signal light is a lightweight, compact, battery-operated strobe light that emits a
                      high intensity visual distress signal. (see Figure 6-15) The strobe light model that is
                      currently in use is the battery-operated SDU-5/E or CG-1 strobe light. Some lights are also
                      Coast Guard-approved as PMLs.

                                                              Chapter 6 – Survival Equipment and Pyrotechnics

                                              Figure 6-15
                                      Distress Signal Light, CG-1

D.19. Use         The distress signal light is used to attract the attention of aircraft, ships, or ground parties.
                  One side is equipped with hook tape so that it can be attached to the pile tape found on the
                  boat crew safety helmet, inflatable PFD, or survival vest. This eliminates the need to hold
                  the distress signal light, freeing up hands to operate other signaling equipment.

D.20.             The SDU-5/E and the CG-1 distress signal lights emit approximately 50 flashes per minute.
Characteristics   At the peak of each flash, the luminous intensity is 100,000 candlepower. Under continuous
                  operation, they will flash for 9 hours, or 18 hours when operated intermittently. On a clear
                  night, the distress signal light has a minimum visual range of five miles. However, the range
                  of visibility will be determined by the height of eye of the observer. For an observer low on
                  a boat, the range will most likely be much less than the advertised five miles.

Chapter 6 – Survival Equipment and Pyrotechnics

D.21. Operation       The following are the procedures to operate the distress signal light:

                           Step                                          Procedure
                             1       Turn on. SDU-5/E: Push the button switch in until a click is heard, then
                                     release. CG-1: Slide the switch into the on position. Light should begin
                                     flashing within seconds.
                             2       Turn off. SDU-5/E: Push the button switch in until click is heard, then
                                     release. CG-1: Slide the switch back into the off position. The light should
                                     stop flashing.
                             3       If this light is tested and it fails to perform within operational limits, replace
                                     the battery. If it still does not operate properly, remove it from service.

Survival Knife

D.22. Description     The survival knife (see Figure 6-16) is a basic tool used to free the crewmember from
                      entangling lines. It is also used to cut material blocking a path in escaping a capsized or
                      sinking boat. It should be a fixed blade design made of corrosion-resistant material. The
                      blade should be checked periodically for sharpness.

                                                   Figure 6-16
                                                  Survival Knife

Personal Locator Beacon (PLB)
D.23. Description     The PLB is the newest addition to the boat crew survival vest. It is a smaller version of the
                      common ship mounted EPIRB that is used on military, commercial, and recreational vessels.
                      This personal transmitter is capable of broadcasting a distress signal that can be received and
                      tracked world-wide guiding emergency response resources to the transmitting position for rescue.
D.24. Use             The PLB is for emergency use only. This device is the primary distress signal and should be
                      activated immediately to signal for help. Once activated, do not turn it off. Once search
                      vessels or aircraft have reached the transmitting position area, use other signaling equipment
                      (radio, signal mirror, flares, etc.) to vector them to the position.

D.25.                 The PLB is a personal transmitter capable of broadcasting on both 406 MHz and 121.5
Characteristics       MHz. The international satellite based search and rescue system (COSPAS SARSAT)
                      monitors 406 MHz and is able to provide a position accurate to within three nautical miles
                      within 90 minutes. Once the rescue platform is in the vicinity, the 121.5 MHz transmitter
                      provides a signal allowing the resource to home in on the vessel or individual in distress
                      particularly if the individual is equipped with flares and a strobe light.


                                                                     Chapter 6 – Survival Equipment and Pyrotechnics

D.26. Operation     Since PLBs may vary in style and operation, as new models are produced, each crewmember
                    shall read and understand the PLB owner’s manual. Prior to getting underway with the PLB
                    for the first time, each crewmember shall demonstrate the test sequence and explain the
                    activation procedure to a qualified member. An appropriate entry shall be made in the boat
                    crew training record documenting this training.

                                                 Figure 6-17
                                        Personal Locator Beacon(PLB)

                                    Section E.              Pyrotechnics

Introduction        If the boat becomes disabled during a mission, its crew must have some means of signaling
                    aircraft or vessels for assistance. Signaling devices include pyrotechnics. The smoke and
                    illumination signal, Marine MK-124 MOD 0 and the MK 79 MOD 0 signal kits were
                    discussed earlier in this chapter. Additional pyrotechnics can be found in a boat’s
                    pyrotechnics kit and are explained in this section. Visual distress signals, in general, are
                    discussed in Chapter 11, Communications.

E.1. Requirements   Stowage, allowance, and handling of pyrotechnics is performed in accordance with the
                    Ordnance Manual, COMDTINST M8000.2 (series) and the Navy publication NAVSEA
                    SW050-AB-MMA-010. Coast Guard Unit Commanders will outfit their boats with the
                    required pyrotechnics. All Auxiliary boats must carry visual distress signals that meet
                    facility requirements. The pyrotechnic devices carried in the survival vest or inflatable
                    PFD’s storage pocket/pouch should be small enough to be carried comfortably and be well
                    protected from the elements. The following are Coast Guard-approved visual distress signal
                    devices typically used by the Auxiliary:

       NOTE         Pyrotechnic devices should not be used until a rescue craft is actually in sight.


Chapter 6 – Survival Equipment and Pyrotechnics

                         CFR No. Marked                      Device Description                    Quantity
                           on Device
                              160.021          Hand-held, red flare distress signals, day and          3
                              160.022          Floating, orange smoke distress signals, day            3
                              160.024          Pistol-projected, parachute red flare distress          3
                                               signals, day and night
                              160.037          Hand-held, orange smoke distress signals, day           3
                              160.057          Floating, orange smoke distress signals, day            3
                              160.066          Distress signal for boats, red aerial                   3
                                               pyrotechnic flare, day and night

E.2. Parachute        The parachute illumination signal, MK-127A1 is a night time illumination-signaling device.
Illumination          When fired, it climbs to an altitude of 650 to 700 feet before igniting. Upon ignition, it
Signal, MK-127A1      produces a parachute-suspended white star flare that burns for about 36 seconds with
                      125,000 candlepower. The signal descends at a rate of 10 to 15 feet per second. (see Figure

                          Chapter 6 – Survival Equipment and Pyrotechnics

               Figure 6-18
Parachute Illumination Signal, MK-127A1

Chapter 6 – Survival Equipment and Pyrotechnics

E.2.a. Firing          The following are procedures for firing the parachute illumination signal:
                             Step                                               Procedure
                               1          Do not remove a signal from its sealed container until just before use.
                               2          Remove a signal from the container in accordance with instructions printed
                                          on the container.
                               3          In all handling, avoid striking the signal primer.
                               4          Do not use signals that are dented, cracked, or otherwise damaged.
                               5          Hold the signal in left hand with the RED band of the signal FACING UP.
                                          Align left thumb and forefinger along the red band.
                               6          Withdraw the firing cap from the lower end of the signal.
                               7          Point the ejection end of the signal (the end opposite the red knurled band)
                                          away from the body and away from other people, equipment, and materials.
                                          Slowly push the cap onto the primer (red band) end until the cap meets the
                                          edge of the knurled band. DO NOT PERMIT THE CAP TO GO BEYOND
                                          THE RED BAND.

                                               Exercise due care to prevent the expended rocket body from falling on people,
                           CAUTION !           watercraft, and structures.

                               8          Hold the signal FIRMLY at arm’s length with the left hand, with the ejection
                                          end facing straight up. The signal should be held in a vertical position (90°
                                          elevation) when firing.
                               9          Strike the firing cap bottom sharply with the palm of the right hand, keeping
                                          the left arm rigid and pointing straight up.
                              10          If a signal misfires while on land, place it in a secure position to prevent
                                          people from being hurt should the signal fire. The signal must not be
                                          approached for at least 30 minutes. If a misfire occurs while underway, toss
                                          it overboard.

                       If a signal is fired at an angle less than 90° elevation (directly overhead), the altitude reached is
  WARNING              reduced and the altitude of candle burnout is lessened. If the firing angle is 60° or less, the candle
                       will, in almost all cases, still be burning when it strikes the surface.

                       When conducting SAR operations with a helicopter, extreme caution and coordination must be used
  WARNING              by surface units using pyrotechnics. Do not fire pyrotechnics without permission and instructions
                       from the Aircraft Commander.

E.2.b. Firing Angles   Firing a signal at angles other than a vertical position may be necessary under the following
                       •    To compensate for high wind velocities.
                       •    To gain maximum illumination of the area.

Boat Crew Seamanship Manual

                                       Chapter 16
                              Person-in-the-Water Recovery
Introduction        “MAN OVERBOARD!” is one of the worst alarms to hear while underway. Decisive action
                    is of primary importance when a person falls overboard. Even the best swimmers can
                    become disoriented when unexpectedly falling into the water. Prolonged exposure to rough
                    seas or cold weather can quickly weaken a swimmer. This chapter addresses man overboard
                    (MOB) and person-in-the-water (PIW) recovery procedures, as well as water survival skills.
                    Lives depend on every crewmember performing these procedures competently and

In this chapter     This chapter contains the following sections:

                      Section                                       Title                                     See Page
                         A          Recovery Methods                                                             16-2
                         B          Water Survival Skills                                                       16-24

                    The wearing of jewelry, including rings, wristwatches, necklaces or other items not consisting of
                    organizational clothing, PPE, or uniform articles by boat crew members engaged in hoisting, towing,
  WARNING           or other deck evolutions where the potential for snagging exists is prohibited. OICs and coxswains
                    will address this during all pre-underway briefs and coxswains shall ensure jewelry is removed prior
                    to beginning all deck evolutions.

                                                                                   Boat Crew Seamanship Manual

                             Section A.            Recovery Methods

Introduction       All crewmembers must be prepared when someone falls overboard. Rehearsing how to react
                   is vital to a successful and safe recovery of the individual. When someone falls overboard,
                   crewmembers should always assume the worst has happened. The person could be suffering
                   from shock, may be unconscious, and possibly injured. Rapid recovery of the person is a

                   The information here is a general guideline. Actual situations will vary and all details
                   pertaining to each are beyond the scope of this publication. A professional understands and
                   rehearses each possibility remembering that the key to a successful rescue is preparation,
                   practice, and alertness.

In this section    This section contains the following information:

                                                           Title                                         See Page
                   General Man Overboard Procedure                                                          16-2
                   The Approach                                                                             16-7
                   Approaching in Low Visibility                                                           16-12
                   Approaching Under Surf Conditions                                                       16-19
                   Recovery                                                                                16-19

General Man Overboard Procedure

A.1. Description   The action taken in the first few seconds after a crewmember falls overboard decides the
                   success of the recovery. An alert crewmember can do much to save the life of someone who
                   might otherwise drown. First actions should be swift and certain.

A.2. Prevention    The first thing every crewmember needs to learn about recovering a person-in-the-water is
                   how to prevent it in the first place. It is every crewmember’s responsibility to protect
                   themselves and their fellow crewmembers from falling overboard. Some things to pay
                   particular attention to are:
                   •    Ensure lifelines are up and in good condition.
                   •    Keep decks clear of trip/slip hazards.
                   •    Repair/replace cracked or damaged stanchions.
                   •    Ensure two persons are used when conducting an evolution that might result in falling
                        overboard (anchoring, towing, etc.).
                   •    Ensure safety belts are worn during inclement weather.
                   Another important piece to the safety of the crew is ensuring that everyone onboard is
                   wearing appropriate PPE. If someone should fall overboard, proper PPE will keep him or
                   her afloat if unconscious, prolong exposure time in the water, and provide signaling devices
                   that will assist rescuers in locating the person.

                   More information concerning PPE can be found in Chapter 6 of this Manual and the Rescue and
       NOTE        Survival Systems Manual, COMDTINST M10470.10 (series).

Chapter 16 – Person-in-the-Water Recovery

A.3. First Sighting   If a person enters the water, the first crewmember to realize that someone has fallen
                      overboard should follow these procedures:

                          Step                                          Procedure
                           1        Spread the alarm in a loud voice by repeatedly calling out, “MAN
                                    OVERBOARD!” It is also very important to shout out the location the
                                    person fell overboard (port/starboard side, the bow, the stern) For example, if
                                    the person fell over the port side, the alarm should be, “MAN OVERBOARD,
                                    PORT SIDE!”
                           2        Maintain sight of, and continuously point (open handed) to the individual in
                                    the water while carefully moving to a position in sight of the coxswain or
                                    operator. Give clear, loud verbal directions as well as the condition of the
                                    PIW (conscious/unconscious, injured, etc.) to the coxswain.
                           3        If crewmember loses sight of the PIW at anytime, throw a ring buoy with
                                    strobe light (or anything that floats) over the side as quickly as possible.

A.4. Coxswain or      Once the alarm has been sounded, the coxswain has several tasks to complete in order to
Operator Actions      successfully recover the PIW. Though a quick recovery is preferred, at times it is better to
                      slow down, assess the situation, and ensure everything is done properly the first time. Not
                      every MOB/PIW recovery is the same. It is always better to make a correct approach slowly
                      and recover the person on the first attempt rather than an incorrect fast approach resulting in
                      the need for a second try.

                      There is no single correct order in which the steps below should be executed. Everything
                      depends on the situation at hand. Starting a turn to maneuver back to the PIW is a common
                      first step, but if boat traffic in the area is heavy, turning the vessel might endanger others.
                      Each task is important in its own way and needs to be conducted to ensure a successful

      NOTE            Remember…assess the situation before rushing to action!


                                                                              Chapter 16 – Person-in-the-Water Recovery

                      Increasing speed during the recovery turn is not always the best maneuver! A sudden burst of speed or
  WARNING             a rougher ride from going faster through the water can make for an unstable platform. Instead of just
                      one person in the water, there could end up being more.

       CAUTION !      Always operate at a safe speed!

A.5. Maneuvering      If someone falls overboard, the boat may have to be maneuvered for a pickup. In most
Boat to Recover       cases, it starts by turning in the same direction the person fell overboard. Turning towards
PIW                   the same side the person fell overboard will “kick” the stern away preventing the propellers
                      from injuring the PIW. If the person falls off the bow, the turn should be in either direction
                      to kick the stern clear. If the person falls off the stern, in some cases, the eddy current
                      located off the transom can hold the PIW tight against the stern. Applying additional power
                      while turning sharply to either port or starboard will push the PIW clear.

                      In some cases, turning the boat is not possible due to vessel traffic or a narrow channel. In
                      these cases, slowing down and stopping are other options. Once the boat has stopped, the
                      PIW may swim back towards the boat for recovery or after slowing to bare steerageway,
                      spin the boat around and recover the PIW.

                      An increase in speed is not necessary during the turn. Recovering the PIW as soon as
                      possible is important, but sometimes an increase in speed by the coxswain will catch the
                      remaining crewmembers off guard and possibly eject them from the boat. If operating at
                      high speed when the MOB takes place, it might be best to slow down before starting a
                      maneuver. The coxswain should carry out the turn at a safe speed to ensure a more stable
                      platform for the recovery crew.

A.6. Mark Position    Another important step is to record the boat’s position by pressing the appropriate button on
                      the GPS receiver to mark the exact position (datum) of the distress electronically. This will
                      give a position to return to if unable to locate the PIW and the search must be started.

                      All possible means must be used to identify the position (dead reckoning, visual landmarks,
                      radar, etc.), if the vessel is not equipped with a LORAN-C or GPS receiver.

A.7. Alerting Boats   Sounding five or more short blasts on the sound signal, horn, or whistle alerts boats in the
in the General        area that a danger exists (i.e., a MOB is occurring). Boats in the vicinity may not be aware
Vicinity              of what the signal means but at least they will realize something unusual is happening.

A.8. Deploying a      If at anytime the crew loses sight of the PIW, the coxswain should ensure a ring buoy with
Flotation Device      strobe light (or anything that floats) is thrown over the side (see Figure 16-1). This flotation
                      device will serve two purposes. First, the PIW may see the flotation device and be able to
                      get to it increasing their chances of being located and providing additional flotation.
                      Second, the ring buoy or any floating object thrown over the side (if a ring buoy is not
                      available) serves as a reference point (datum) marking the general location of the incident
                      and for maneuvering the boat during the search for the PIW.”

       CAUTION !       Do not throw the floatable object(s) directly at the PIW. It could cause injury if it hits the individual.


Chapter 16 – Person-in-the-Water Recovery

                                                     Figure 16-1
                                                Ring Buoy with Strobe

A.9. Assigning        Upon hearing the initial “Man Overboard” alarm, the coxswain will assign duties to each
Crew Duties           crewmember as follows:
                      • A pointer will be positioned on or near the bow of the boat (if weather conditions permit). This
                          will normally be the crewmember making the initial report. The pointer will maintain constant
                          sight of the PIW and continually use their hand to indicate the location of the PIW. The pointer
                          will also call out the physical condition of the PIW to affect an appropriate rescue attempt.
                      • A recovery/pick-up crewmember will be assigned to prepare a heaving line to be used in
                          retrieving the PIW. If the PIW is reported to be unconscious, the recovery/pick-up
                          crewmember will assist in dressing out and tending the surface swimmer. If at anytime the
                          PIW can no longer be seen, the recovery/pick-up crewmember will be instructed to deploy a
                          ring buoy with strobe light (or anything that floats) over the side.
                      • A surface swimmer will be made ready if needed, as well as another crewmember on the
                          tending line to the surface swimmer’s safety harness, whenever the swimmer is in the water.

                          Review section A.33 of this chapter for important information regarding surface swimmers.

A.9.a. The Pointer    The pointer will visually search for the person overboard, and when located, will point to the
                      person overboard at all times. The coxswain will guide on the pointer’s hand signals in
                      maneuvering the boat for the recovery approach.
                      The coxswain should ensure that the pointer is relieved of any other duties that could be

A.10. Crew            When the coxswain is ready to commence the recovery approach, he/she must brief the crew
Briefing              on how the recovery will be made and whether it will be accomplished on the port or
                      starboard side. The approach will be influenced by:
                      •      Wind.
                      •      Sea/surf conditions.
                      •      Maneuverability of the boat.
                      •      Maneuvering space restriction.


                                                                   Chapter 16 – Person-in-the-Water Recovery

A.11. Informing    When circumstances and time permit, the coxswain must notify the Operational Commander
the Operational    of the man overboard situation. This should be done as soon as possible after the
Commander          occurrence.

A.12. PAN-PAN      If the person overboard has not been located and immediately recovered and assistance of
Broadcasts         other boats is needed, the emergency call signal Pan (pronounced pahn) should be
                   transmitted in sets of two for three sets (PAN-PAN…PAN-PAN…PAN-PAN…) on channel
                   16 or 2182 kHz. This should be followed with the boat’s identification, position, and a brief
                   description of the situation. “Mayday” shall not be used. A boat uses a mayday call only
                   when threatened by grave and imminent danger. After returning to datum and completing a
                   quick scan of the area, if the PIW is not found, a datum marker (if one was not dropped
                   initially) should be dropped and a search pattern commenced. The search should be
                   continued until otherwise directed by the Operational Commander. More information
                   concerning search patterns can be found in Chapter 15, Search and Rescue of this Manual.

A.13. Requesting   Requests for additional assistance may be made to the Operational Commander by radio.
Additional         Also, any craft near the scene may be requested by the coxswain to assist as needed.


Chapter 16 – Person-in-the-Water Recovery

A.14. Summary         The general PIW recovery procedures described below apply when an individual falls
                      overboard from any boat. These procedures are in a sequence as it occurs in time:

                          Step                                       Procedure
                           1       Someone falls overboard.
                           2       The first crewmember to observe the incident calls out “MAN
                                   OVERBOARD” and follows this exclamation with the side from which the
                                   event occurred or the person was sighted; then maintains sight of and
                                   continuously points to the individual in the water.
                           3       Coxswain will perform the following tasks. The order depends on the
                                   situation at hand. Remember - slow down, assess the situation, and take
                                   •   The coxswain turns the boat in the direction indicated in the alarm.
                                       Coxswain maintains a safe speed to ensure crew safety while setting up
                                       for recovery.
                                   •   Position is recorded by depressing the LORAN-C or GPS receiver
                                       memory/man overboard button (if this equipment is on the boat).
                                   •   Alert boats in the general vicinity by sounding 5 or more short blasts on
                                       whistle or horn.
                                   •   Ensure a flotation device has been deployed if PIW is no longer visible.
                           4       The coxswain assigns crewmember duties:
                                   •   The pointer (or first person to see the member go overboard) moves
                                       forward near a pilothouse window (weather permitting), locates the
                                       person overboard and points to the location of the person at all times.
                                   •   The recovery crewmember makes preparation for the pickup.

                           5       The coxswain makes the recovery approach, briefs the crew on the recovery
                                   procedure including which side of the boat the pick-up will occur. Based on
                                   existing conditions, the coxswain will select either a leeward or a windward
                           6       As soon as circumstances permit, coxswain informs Operational Commander
                                   of the situation.
                           7       If additional assistance required, request help from Operational Commander
                                   and boats in the vicinity. Issue “PAN-PAN” broadcast.

The Approach

A.15. Description     The coxswain must select an approach that is suitable for the existing conditions. There are
                      two basic approaches:
                      •   A leeward approach (against the wind and current).
                      •   A windward approach (with the wind and current).


                                                                       Chapter 16 – Person-in-the-Water Recovery

                If the PIW does drift aft of the boat, do not back down to effect the recovery. The propeller could
  WARNING       injure the person.

A.16. Leeward   The leeward approach is performed with the bow facing into the greatest force of oncoming
Approach        resistance at the time of pickup using the following procedures: (see Figure 16-2) This
                may be the wind, current, seas, or any combination of the three. There are times when the
                wind and current are from different directions.

                    Step                                             Procedure
                      1        Select the heading that will best ease the approach, and balance the effect of
                               any swell that might be present.
                      2        Make the approach rapidly, but as the boat nears the person, reduce wake and
                               slow the boat enough to stop headway with a short backing down burst. The
                               PIW should be next to the recovery area on the boat and the boat should be
                      3        Place the engines in neutral and, when the person overboard is alongside,
                               have a crewmember make the recovery.
                      4        For better control during the approach, try to make all pick-ups with your
                               boat heading into the prevailing weather and sea conditions.
                      5        Take care not to overrun the person overboard or to have so much headway
                               on that the boat drifts beyond the person overboard.
                      6        If the PIW does drift aft of the boat, do not back down to effect the recovery.
                               The propeller could injure the person. The best course of action should the
                               boat over shoot the PIW is to swing around and make another approach. It is
                               best to make one correct approach slowly than several attempts quickly.

                                              Figure 16-2
                                           Leeward Approach


Chapter 16 – Person-in-the-Water Recovery

A.17. Windward        The windward approach (see Figure 16-3) is performed with the wind coming from behind
Approach              the boat, when the person overboard is in a confined space, and a leeward approach is
                      impossible. However, a situation where the boat cannot turn into the wind due to
                      superstructure or bow sail area should be avoided. The following procedures should be used
                      for a windward approach:

                         Step                                        Procedure
                           1       The operator must maneuver into a position upwind and up current from the
                                   person overboard.
                           2       Place the engine in neutral.
                           3       Drift down to the person
                           4       Ensure that the boat drifts so it places the person overboard along the
                                   “recovery” side, but do not allow the boat to drift over the person.

                                               Figure 16-3
                                            Windward Approach

A.18. Windward to     Depending upon skill and experience, a combination of the windward and leeward
Leeward of            approaches may be necessary. One instance may be in the case of recovering multiple
Multiple PIWs         PIWs. (see Figure 16-4)

                                                                     Chapter 16 – Person-in-the-Water Recovery

                                            Figure 16-4
                           Windward to Leeward Approach of Multiple PIWs

A.19. Stopping      There may be instances when stopping the boat and allowing the person overboard to swim
Immediately         back to the boat, or at least to reach the tethered floating object, is the most appropriate
                    action. This is effective especially if the boat can be stopped quickly after the person falls
                    overboard. The coxswain should always ensure propellers are not engaged anytime
                    someone is in the water near the stern of the vessel.

A.20. Stop, Pivot   Another option, particularly in a restricted waterway, is to stop, pivot/back and fill, then
Return              return to the PIW. The turning and backing characteristics of the boat and the prevailing
                    wind and sea conditions will dictate how the approach is made. The coxswain will
                    maneuver the boat to the weather side of the PIW so that the boat is set by the wind or seas
                    toward the person rather than away.

Chapter 16 – Person-in-the-Water Recovery

A.21. Destroyer       Except in a narrow channel, the coxswain should make the turn to the side that the person
Turn                  fell overboard. This will kick the stern of the boat away from the person preventing injury.
                      This maneuver can be modified for use by twin-propeller boats. Twin-propeller boats are
                      pivoted by putting one engine ahead and the other in reverse. With a single-propeller boat,
                      the rudder should be placed hard over and additional power applied, if conditions permit.
                      (see Figure 16-5)

                         Step                                        Procedure
                           1       Make the turn to the side that the person fell overboard.
                           2       Continue making a complete turn, coming around and approaching the person
                                   that fell overboard with the boat’s bow directly into the wind/current.
                           3       Once pointed toward the person, proceed rapidly until close.
                           4       Then make a slow and deliberate approach to the person, coming to a stop
                                   when alongside.

                                               Figure 16-5
                                 Destroyer Turn Man Overboard, Port Side


                                                                             Chapter 16 – Person-in-the-Water Recovery

                        Never have the propeller turning when the person overboard is next to the boat. If it is necessary
       CAUTION !        to add power and maneuver with the PIW in close proximity to the boat, turn the bow toward the
                        person, swinging the stern and propeller(s) away and at a safe distance.

A.22. Approaching   Severe conditions may dictate that the approach be made from leeward with the bow dead
in Severe Weather   into the seas and/or wind in order to maintain control of the boat. In severe conditions,
Conditions          particularly aboard single propeller boats, this will test the experience and skill of the
                    coxswain. (see Chapter 20, Heavy Weather Addendum for more information.)

Approaching in Low Visibility

A.23. Description   During low visibility and night operations, when a crewmember sees another person go over
                    the side, the same general procedures apply. The crewmember seeing the person go
                    overboard shouts, “MAN OVERBOARD!” Coxswain should direct the deployment of a
                    flotation device with strobe (or any other light) attached, if available. They also continue to
                    observe and point to the person overboard as long as possible. The coxswain presses the
                    memory/man overboard button on the LORAN-C or GPS receiver, if so equipped, sounds
                    signals, and goes to the datum using one of the following turns:
                    •      Anderson turn.
                    •      Race track turn.
                    •      Williamson turn.

A.24. Anderson      An advantage of the Anderson turn is that it is the fastest recovery method. A disadvantage
Turn                is that it is not meant for use by a single propeller boat. The Anderson turn is performed
                    using the following procedures:

                          Step                                             Procedure
                            1        Put the rudder over full in the direction corresponding to the side from which
                                     the person fell. Increase power (if conditions permit) on the outboard engine
                            2        When about ⅔ of the way around, back the inboard engine ⅔ or full.
                            3        Stop engines when the person overboard is within about 15° of the bow.
                            4        Ease the rudder and back the engines as required to attain the proper final
                                     position. (see Figure 16-6)


Chapter 16 – Person-in-the-Water Recovery

                                                 Figure 16-6
                                                Anderson Turn

A.25. Race Track      The final straight leg approach of the race track turn helps for a more calculable approach.
Turn                  The race track turn is performed using the following procedures:

                         Step                                         Procedure
                           1       Put the rudder over full in the direction corresponding to the side from which
                                   the person fell and increase speed (if conditions permit).
                           2       Use full rudder to turn to the reciprocal of the original course.
                           3       Steady up on this course for a short distance, then use full rudder to turn to
                                   the person overboard. (see Figure 16-7)

                                                                     Chapter 16 – Person-in-the-Water Recovery

                                               Figure 16-7
                                             Race Track Turn

A.26. Williamson   If an individual falls overboard during periods of darkness or restricted visibility, and the
Turn               exact time of the incident is unknown, a maneuver known as the Williamson turn should be
                   used to search for the person overboard. The advantage of the Williamson turn, when
                   properly executed, is that it will position the boat on a reciprocal course on its exact original
                   track. This allows the search to commence on the track where the victim fell over, not from
                   a parallel track. Of course, as soon as the alarm is spread the general person overboard
                   procedures will be initiated.

Chapter 16 – Person-in-the-Water Recovery

A.26.a. Procedure     The Williamson turn is performed using the following procedures:

                         Step                                         Procedure
                           1       Mark the original course when the alarm was initially spread. Put over a ring
                                   buoy strobe or other float to work datum.
                           2       Alter the course 60° to port or starboard from the original course. It does not
                                   matter which direction is chosen. Naturally, if turning to starboard, 60° will
                                   have to be added to the original course to know when the correct number of
                                   degrees has been transited. If turning to port, the 60° will be subtracted from
                                   the initial course.
                           3       The turn is actually executed while the first two procedures are in progress.
                                   In this step, the reciprocal course must be calculated from the original course.
                                   That is to say, a new course which runs in the exact opposite direction (180°)
                                   from the original course must be figured.
                           4       Once the correct reciprocal has been calculated and the compass reaches the
                                   60° mark after turning off the initial course, shift the rudder in the opposite
                                   direction from the 60° turn and come to the reciprocal course.

A.26.b. Starboard     Figure 16-8 shows how the Williamson turn would look if the 60° turn was to starboard.
Turn                  Point “A” represents the initial course and is illustrated as 000°. At Point B, the compass
                      reads 060°. At this point, the reciprocal course (180°) has been figured. When the compass
                      reaches the 060° mark, the rudder is shifted to the opposite direction (port) of the 60° turn
                      and the boat comes around to the reciprocal. When the 180° course is marked, the boat will
                      continue on this new course and if the person overboard has not been sighted by this time,
                      the boat crew will conduct a search for the victim along this heading. If the individual is not
                      located, the boat should proceed along the track to a point where the member was last known
                      to be aboard. At this point a second datum marker (ring buoy, fender, etc.) is deployed.

                                                                        Chapter 16 – Person-in-the-Water Recovery

                                                  Figure 16-8
                                                Williamson Turn

A.26.c. Maintaining   Speed should not change during a Williamson turn. Any speed adjustments should be made
Speed                 prior to beginning the turn. Speed changes may bring the boat around to the reciprocal
                      course in a different position than the line of the initial course. The danger is that the person
                      overboard may be too far away to locate. The idea behind the Williamson turn is to bring
                      the boat around so that it is on the exact line of the original course, but in the opposite

Chapter 16 – Person-in-the-Water Recovery

A.26.d. Calculating   Once the person overboard alarm is spread, the coxswain turns the boat 60° from the original
the 60° Turn          course to either port or starboard.

                                  If…                                             Then…
                       The turn is to starboard,    The 60° must be ADDED to the original course:
                                                    •     Original course marked when alarm was sounded
                                                                 Starboard turn                 + 060°
                                                    Shift rudder when compass reads               140°

                       The turn is to port,         The 60° must be SUBTRACTED from the original course:
                                                    •     Original course marked when alarm was sounded
                                                    Port turn                                   - 060°
                                                    Shift rudder when compass reads 020°

A.26.e. Calculating   Calculating the reciprocal of a given course is done by either adding 180° to the given
the Reciprocal of a   course or subtracting 180° from the given course. To add or to subtract depends on whether
Given Course          the given course was less than 180° or more than 180°.

A.26.f. Calculating   If the original course is less than 180°, 180° is added to the original course to get the
the Reciprocal of a   reciprocal.
Course Less Than
180°                  Example:
                             Original course             070°
                             Add 180°                   + 180°
                             Reciprocal course           250°

A.26.g. Calculating   If the original course is more than 180°, 180° is subtracted from the original course to get the
the Reciprocal of a   reciprocal.
Course More Than
180°                  Example
                             Original course             200°
                             Subtract 180°              - 180°
                             Reciprocal course           020°

A.27. While           If, during a towing evolution, an MOB emergency occurs, boat crewmembers should be
Towing                aware of the severity and danger of the situation. Several problems can occur when dealing
                      with a simultaneous towing and man overboard situation.

                                                                           Chapter 16 – Person-in-the-Water Recovery

                     Never make sharp turns when towing! Turns should be made in slow and small increments. Always
  WARNING            try to keep the towed vessel almost directly astern.

A.27.a. Vessel       When boat towing astern:
                     •    A decrease in speed could cause the towed boat to overrun the towing boat. If the
                          towing boat slows and does not tend the towline, the towline could sink and foul the
                          rudder/s and propeller/s.
                     •    If the towing boat turns sharply to either side, tripping can occur. Tripping is when a
                          boat is pulled sideways by an opposing force. If the towline is out of alignment (not in
                          line) and pulls sideways, the towing boat will heel over, often beyond its ability to right

      NOTE           Tripping occurs more frequently when the tow is larger than the towing boat.

A.27.b. Weather      Current, wind, sea, or swell from astern can cause yawing and add to the problem of the tow
Conditions           overrunning the towing boat. Current broadside to the tow creates difficulty in holding the
                     tow due to side slip, causing the tow to yaw.

      NOTE           Bar or inlet conditions will compound all these problems.

A.27.c. Pre-         Considering the number of potential problems that can occur, the operator should carefully
Planning             assess all possible situations and conditions to pre-plan steps to take in case of an MOB

    CAUTION !        Slow calculated moves are better than a “knee jerk” response.

A.27.d. Additional   If a person falls overboard during a towing evolution, the initial steps discussed earlier in
Procedures           this section (sound alarm, throw ring buoy) should be followed. The following are
                     additional considerations to take which apply to MOB situations specific to towing
                     •    If another boat is nearby, get that boat to make the pickup.
                     •    Since tows are made at slow speeds, it may be possible that the towed boat can make the
                          pickup. If the towed boat still has steerage, have them attempt to steer on the PIW and
                          pick them up when alongside. The towing boat should aid in any way possible by
                          slowing down or steering towards the side the PIW is located.
                     •    If towing astern, advise the towed boat of the MOB situation, and have the people on
                          the tow assist in looking for the PIW.
                     •    Be sure to advise the people on the tow that there is a real danger of tripping or
                          broaching if the towed boat shears away violently from alignment.
                     •    Ensure the towline does not sink and become fouled around the rudder/s or propeller/s.
                     •    It might be necessary to drop the tow in order to perform a MOB operation. Consider
                          the environmental factors and water traffic when/if dropping the tow to minimize the
                          possibility of a hazardous situation. Have the tow anchor if possible until the towing
                          vessel can return and continue the tow.
                     •    Never forget that the MOB might be injured if hit by the tow.
                     •    A person who has fallen off the bow or side can be seriously injured or killed by the
                          propellers. Any turns made should move the stern away from the PIW.

Chapter 16 – Person-in-the-Water Recovery

A.27.e. Man           If a person falls overboard from the boat being towed, the initial steps discussed earlier in
Overboard from the    this section (sound alarm, throw ring buoy) should be followed. If there is no other boat in
Towed Vessel          the area to assist, dropping the tow to recover the PIW is the best choice.
                      If the MOB takes place in restricted waters, the disabled vessel should be anchored as soon
                      as the tow is released.

      NOTE           Always ensure everyone onboard the vessel being towed is wearing a PFD.

A.27.f. Towing        When towing a boat alongside, the initial steps discussed earlier in this section (sound alarm,
Alongside             throw ring buoy) should be followed. Towing alongside allows more freedom to turn.
                      Consider the following points:
                      •   Engines, while useful, will not respond as usual. Remember, the engines were designed
                          to propel one boat, not two.
                      •   When making a turn, turn slowly towards the side with the tow and pivot on the tow. Be
                          careful not to swamp the tow.
                      •   The best approach is to make the pickup on the free side since the operator can better
                          observe the person-in-the-water and the pickup.
                      •   Again, consider dropping the tow.
                      The procedures will remain the same, whether the person falls from the tow or towing

A.27.g. Summary       The effect of each action on all of the boats and persons involved should always be
                      considered. People before property. People’s safety is the number one priority. People
                      onboard the tow are just as important as the PIW. If the towed boat is not manned, the
                      coxswain should consider dropping the tow! All people and vessels involved should always
                      be informed of every situation.

                      The best way to handle an MOB emergency is to prevent one from happening. Being aware
                      of the crew; knowing where they are and what they are doing is essential.

Approaching Under Surf Conditions

    CAUTION !        The Auxiliary is not authorized to operate in surf conditions.

A.28. Description     Recovering a person overboard in heavy weather requires special precautions beyond the
                      routine described in the section on general person overboard procedure. The general
                      procedure is put into effect as soon as the alarm is sounded. See Chapter 20, Heavy
                      Weather Addendum, Section D, for more information.


A.29. Description     Recovery techniques for a PIW are the same for any type of distress. Situations could vary
                      from recovering someone from the crew as an MOB, passengers from a ditched aircraft,
                      fisherman from a sinking boat, someone washed off of a jetty, or any other form of
                      emergency where people are in the water.


                                                                 Chapter 16 – Person-in-the-Water Recovery

A.30. Recovery   The condition of the PIW will dictate the type of recovery procedures used. Once the
Methods          condition of the PIW can be determined, that is, conscious, unconscious, or injured, the
                 coxswain will select one of the procedures below and assign crewmember duties
                 accordingly. Generally, the pickup is completed at the lowest point of freeboard and away
                 from the propellers.
                 "Training boat crews for Person in the Water Recovery requires the use of a life-like
       NOTE      dummy (OSCAR). The recommended OSCAR is a stuffed and weighted (approximately
                 180 lbs dry) Anti-Exposure Coverall secured at the neck and feet."

A.31. Person     Perform the following recovery method when the person is conscious and able to move
Overboard is     freely in the water:
Uninjured and
Conscious           Step                                       Procedure
                      1       Upon command of the coxswain, a crewmember casts out a heaving line or a
                              float line to the PIW.
                      2       The person will hold onto the line and be hauled in for recovery by the
                              crewmember tending the line.
                      3       If the person needs assistance to board the boat:
                              • Two crewmembers could be used to pull the person up out of the water
                                   and onto the boat by each placing a hand under the person’s armpit (use
                                   the other hand to hold onto the boat);
                              •   A recovery strap/piece of line (see Figure 16-9) or a boarding ladder may
                                  be used if available.

                                           Figure 16-9
                          Recovering a PIW with a Recovery Strap or Line


Chapter 16 – Person-in-the-Water Recovery

A.32. Additional      The construction of some boats allows the rescue team to reach the victim at the surface of
Procedures            the water.
                      •   The boat crewmembers should physically pick the person straight up out of the water to
                          a sitting position on the gunwale (gunnel). (see Figure 16-10)
                      •   Be careful not to drag the person’s back across the rail.

                                                  Figure 16-10
                                 Recovering the PIW at the Surface of the Water

                      If only one person is available to lift an uninjured person from the water, perform the
                      following procedures:

                          Step                                         Procedure
                           1         Position the victim facing the boat with both arms reaching upwards.
                           2         Boat crewmember should reach down with arms crossed and grasp victim’s
                           3         Boat crewmember should lift the victim straight out of the water while
                                     simultaneously uncrossing the arms. This should extract the victim from the
                                     water in a corkscrew motion.

                      If the freeboard of the boat is too high to recover the victim safely, perform the following

                          Step                                         Procedure
                           1         Use a rescue strap/line under the armpits in a horse collar fashion. (see
                                     Figure 16-9)
                           2         The line should cross the chest, pass under each arm, and up behind the head.
                           3         Use padding for comfort, if available.

                      A person is light in the water due to buoyancy; however, once free from the water, the
                      person becomes “dead weight.” This should be kept in mind and special care should be
                      taken when recovering injured persons.


                                                                       Chapter 16 – Person-in-the-Water Recovery

A.33. PIW is      In the event that the PIW is unconscious or injured, a direct pick up from the boat may be
Unconscious or    attempted if on scene conditions permit a safe recovery. If conditions are such that a direct
Injured           pick up would be unsafe, utilizing a surface swimmer to recover the PIW should be
                  considered. The procedures for deploying a surface swimmer are as follows:

                  Always use extreme caution when using a boat hook to maneuver an unconscious or injured PIW
       CAUTION!   alongside for pick up.

                      Step                                           Procedure
                        1        The coxswain will designate one of the crewmembers as a surface swimmer.
                        2        The surface swimmer will don PPE appropriate to the weather conditions as
                                 stated in the Rescue and Survival Systems Manual, COMDTINST M10470.10
                                 (series), Chapter 6. Other pieces of equipment the swimmer could use are,
                                 swim fins, a mask and snorkel, and a swimming harness with tending line.
                                 (see Figure 16-11)
                        3        For quick deployment, the line should be coiled and attached to the back of
                                 the swimmer’s harness.
                        4        When the surface swimmer has reached the unconscious or injured victim and
                                 has obtained a secure hold on the person, the crewmember tending the
                                 harness line will haul both back to the boat.

                  A flotation equipped stokes litter is employed to recover a person only if that person is
                  seriously injured and seas are calm. (see Figure 16-12)

A.33.a. Surface   Surface swimmers are any swimmers not trained as rescue swimmers. Their training is
Swimmer           accomplished through Personnel Qualification Standard (PQS). They are deployed from
                  floating units, piers, or the shore. A surface swimmer must wear the appropriate PPE
                  including a swimming harness with a tending line. Another crewmember will tend the
                  harness whenever the swimmer is in the water.

                  Additional information regarding surface swimmers qualification requirements can be found in the
       NOTE       U.S. Coast Guard Boat Operations and Training (BOAT) Manual – Volume I, COMDTINST
                  M16114.32 (series).

       NOTE       The Auxiliary does not have surface swimmers.


Chapter 16 – Person-in-the-Water Recovery

                                                Figure 16-11
                                         Surface Swimmer’s Harness

                                                 Figure 16-12
                                        Stokes Litter and Miller Board

A.34. Requesting a    The primary mission of the helicopter rescue swimmer is to provide rotary wing stations
Rescue Swimmer        with the capability of deploying a properly trained and conditioned person to assist persons
                      in distress in the marine environment. The rescue swimmer must have the flexibility,
                      strength, endurance, and equipment to function for 30 minutes in heavy seas, and the skills
                      to provide basic pre-hospital life support for the rescued individual(s). The rescue
                      swimmer’s EMT skills may also be used during other SAR cases in which the swimming
                      ability is not required.

                      If medical assistance is needed, the parent Station shall be advised. The Station may arrange
                      for medical assistance on-scene or at an agreed upon rendezvous point.


                                                                    Chapter 16 – Person-in-the-Water Recovery

A.35. Multiple    For multiple PIWs, the question becomes which person-in-the-water is recovered first. The
PIW Recovery      answer to this requires the coxswain’s best judgment. An accurate assessment once on the
                  scene will dictate the coxswain’s response. Consideration should be given to the following:
                  •   Are one or more persons in the water injured?
                  •   Which persons in the water have on PFDs and which do not?
                  •   How close are the persons in the water to the beach or jetty?
                  •   How old are they and what is their physical condition?

A.36. Multiple    The Multiple Person-in-the-Water Recovery (MPR) System is an inflatable rescue device
PIW Recovery      designed to assist in the retrieval of multiple survivors from the water to the deck of a rescue
(MPR) System      vessel. (see Figure 16-13) The MPR was specifically designed for use on the 41' UTB. When
                  installed and operated correctly, the MPR will inflate in less than 10 seconds and be ready for
                  use. The unique design of this system allows rescuers to descend the ramp to assist in the
                  recovery of multiple PIWs or allows multiple PIWs to easily climb from the water.

                  Specific instructions will be provided at the Station to 41' UTB crewmembers on use and
                  operation of the MPR system.

                                             Figure 16-13
                                    Multiple PIW Recovery System

                          Section B.            Water Survival Skills

Introduction      In the event a crewmember enters or ends up in the water due to an emergency, survival
                  procedures should be pre-planned. By doing so, the chances for a successful rescue are

                  This section addresses the survival techniques that will greatly increase the survival for a
                  PIW. Crewmembers should never forget that wearing all required PPE is the best insurance
                  for survival.

B.1. Cold Water   The length of time a person can stay alive in cold water depends on the temperature of the
Survivability     water, the physical condition of the survivor, and the action taken by the survivor. Figure
                  16-14 and Table 16-1 illustrate the relationship between an uninjured victim’s activity,
                  water temperature, and estimated survival time. Swimming typically reduces a person’s
                  chance of survival due to more rapid loss of body heat.


Chapter 16 – Person-in-the-Water Recovery

                                                   Figure 16-14
                                            Water Chill and Hypothermia

                                                     Table 16-1
                                       Survival Times vs. Water Temperatures

                                       How Hypothermia Affects Most Adults
    Water Temperature ° F (°C)             Exhaustion or Unconsciousness            Expected Time of Survival
        Less than 32.5 (0.3)                        Under 15 min.                       Under 15 to 45 min.
        32.5 to 40 (0.3 to 4.4)                     15 to 30 min.                       30 to 90 min.
        40 to 50 (4.4 to 10)                        30 to 60 min.                       1 to 3 hrs.
        50 to 60 (10 to 15.6)                       1 to 2 hrs.                         1 to 6 hrs.
        60 to 70 (15.6 to 21)                       2 to 7 hrs.                         2 to 40 hrs.
        70 to 80 (21 to 26.7)                       2 to 12 hrs.                        3 hrs. to indefinite
        Over 80 (26.7)                              Indefinite                          Indefinite

B.2. Critical            Time is critical when forced to enter cold water. The loss of body heat is one of the greatest
Factors                  dangers to survival. Critical factors that increase the threat of hypothermia and other cold-
                         water injuries include:
                         •     Prolonged exposure to cold-water temperatures.
                         •     Sea spray.
                         •     Air temperature.
                         •     Wind chill.


                                                                    Chapter 16 – Person-in-the-Water Recovery

B.3. Survival     Several preventive measures that can be used to increase the chances for successful cold
Techniques        water survival include:
                  •   Put on as much warm clothing as possible, making sure to cover head, neck, hands and
                  •   If the hypothermia protective clothing does not have inherent flotation, put on a PFD.
                  •   Avoid entering the water if possible. If it is necessary to jump into the water, hold
                      elbows close to sides, cover nose and mouth with one hand while holding the wrist or
                      elbow firmly with the other hand.
                  •   Before entering the water, button up clothing, turn on signal lights (only at night), locate
                      your survival whistle and make any other preparations for rescue.

B.4. Water        Water survival skills that should be utilized to increase the chances for surviving cold water
Survival Skills   immersion include:
                  •   Immediately upon entering the water, become oriented to the surrounding area. Try to
                      locate sinking boat, floating objects, and other survivors.
                  •   Try to board a lifeboat, raft, overturned boat (if floating), or other floating platform as
                      soon as possible to shorten the immersion time. Body heat is lost many times faster in
                      the water than in the air. Since the effectiveness of the insulation worn is seriously
                      reduced by being water soaked, it is important to be shielded from wind to avoid a
                      wind-chill effect. If able to climb aboard a survival craft, use a canvas cover or
                      tarpaulin as a shield from the cold. Huddling close to the other occupants in the craft
                      will also conserve body heat.
                  •   While afloat in the water, do not attempt to swim unless it is necessary to reach a fellow
                      survivor or a floating object which can be grasped or climbed onto.
                  •   Unnecessary swimming will pump out any warm water between the body and the layers
                      of clothing and will increase the rate of body-heat loss. Also, unnecessary movements
                      of arms and legs send warm blood from the inner core to the outer layer of the body
                      resulting in a rapid heat loss.
                  •   The body position assumed in the water is very important in conserving heat. Float as
                      still as possible with legs together, elbows close to your side and arms folded across the
                      front of the PFD. This is called the HELP (Heat Escape Lessening Position) and
                      minimizes exposure of the body surface to the cold water. Try to keep head and neck
                      out of the water (see Figure 16-15). However, if wearing a Type III PFD, or if the
                      HELP position turns the body face down, bring legs together tight and arms tight to
                      sides and head back.
                  •   Another heat conserving position is to huddle closely to others in the water making as
                      much body contact as possible. A PFD must be worn to be able to maintain these
                      positions in the water (see Figure 16-16).
                  •   Avoid drown-proofing in cold water. Drown-proofing is a technique where the person
                      relaxes in the water and allows their head to submerge between breaths. It is an energy
                      saver in warm water when a PFD is not worn. The head and neck are high heat loss
                      areas and must be kept above the water. That is why it is even more important to wear a
                      PFD in cold water. If a PFD is not worn, tread the water only as much as necessary to
                      keep head out of the water.
                  •   Keep a positive attitude about survival and rescue. This will extend survival time until
                      rescue comes. A will to live does make a difference.


Chapter 16 – Person-in-the-Water Recovery

                                            Figure 16-15
                                            Single PIW

                                            Figure 16-16
                                            Multiple PIWs


                                    Chapter 16 – Person-in-the-Water Recovery

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