When you fall overboard at sea, the first line of defense is to not fall overboard at sea. We wear harnesses and run jacklines and tie ourselves in and keep one hand for the boat and shuffle and worry and obsess.
When you fall overboard at sea, the second line of defense is to hope somebody notices. Whenever one of us leaves the cockpit, we notify the other so that there is a spotter to notice that someone has fallen overboard. But sometimes the other is asleep or whatever.
So we bought a Kannad R10.
This little gizmo is an AIS/GPS MOB SRS. Automatic Identification System/Global Positioning System Man Over-Board Survivor Recovery System. You install it into your inflatable life jacket. When you fall overboard and inflate your life jacket, it activates and uses GPS to locate it’s position, then broadcasts an emergency device SART (Search And Rescue Thing) AIS signal that alerts every boat within a few miles radius that there is a person in the water, showing their location. If we get all the gadgets to work right, a very loud alarm will go off on both the laptop and the Garmin Chart Plotter. The person that didn’t fall overboard will then turn the boat around and go back and retrieve the person that did fall overboard. This probably sounds easier than it is.
Here is a website and video of how the thing works: http://www.kannadmarine.com/en/safelink-r10
You remember AIS, right? Here’s more about it: https://svbrightwater.wordpress.com/2012/08/22/the-mmsi-allows-dsc-and-ais/
This is all new stuff and pretty expensive, so we only bought one and will use it whenever one person is on watch alone. Hopefully it all works. It sounds good, anyway, which helps with the obsessing part.
Obviously, a large part of “man overboard” safety is maintaining a good relationship with the “man onboard.”