Jake Kavanagh takes a non-textbook view of man overboard recovery
Have you ever had a real 'Man Overboard' situation? They can be scary, but all that practicing with fenders helps. I had several as a lockkeeper on the Thames, and another from a RIB I was driving off the Chichester Bar. All were recovered intact, although a little embarrassed.
On the Thames we called them SPLASHERS, which stands for ' Surprised Person Leaving A Ship Hurriedly and Entering River.'
These situations could be quite spectacular, sometimes even involving a backward somersault. This happened to a heavily made up lady who was drinking champagne on the front of a luxurious motorboat one day.
As the boat nosed its way into a busy lock, she was flirting outrageously with one of the crew on the foredeck. The crewman said something risqué, the lady went forward to playfully slap him, and as she stepped back she managed to trip on the anchor windlass and go clean through the gap in the guard rails.
She hit the water in an untidy belly flop, but the skipper had seen her go (or at least heard the squeal) and had stopped the boat in time. As the poor woman spluttered to the surface, the lockkeeper was already running towards her with a long aluminium ladder.
Grounding it beside her, he helped her up to safety whilst a dozen onlookers gleefully applauded. But if the lady was expecting any sympathy from her friends, she was to be disappointed. "Hey, Marjorie," one of them called 'I hope you didn't spill your champagne."
She told him to 'hang on'.
People are incredibly heavy when wet, as one woman discovered when her husband fell over board from their motorboat near the mouth of the River Hamble. Realising she didn't have a prayer of getting him back on board she threw him a line and told him to 'hang on.'
She then towed him the relatively short distance to the foreshore, cast him off, and told him to 'walk back to the marina, dear, I'll meet you there."
Not textbook – but effective.
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