Man Overboard! Protection Against MOB Accidents in the Maritime Industry

Photo of a supply vessel

Photo of a supply vesselWhat protections do maritime workers have to prevent man overboard accidents? What safety precautions exist to rescue workers who fall overboard?

According to the International Maritime Organization, the most important element for a successful man overboard (MOB) recovery is early detection. If even a few short minutes pass after a MOB, rescue can become problematic. As a matter of fact, most MOB deaths occur in broad daylight in calm seas. Research from the BoatUS Foundation found that from 2003 to 2007, 749 of 3,133 boating fatalities were MOB deaths. Of those, 76 percent occurred during the day and 90 percent occurred in calm weather with less than one foot of waves.

As the seas see more and more travel, MOB accidents have increased. What technology exists to detect MOB events and rescue the victims before it is too late?

Man Overboard Tech

Many ships are equipped with GPS plotters outfitted with Man Overboard buttons. These buttons are activated as soon as a MOB event alarm is raised, creating a record of the last known GPS location of the man overboard.

Some companies use personal alarms that can detect MOB events. These usually consist of one mother unit and units worn by each crew member. Some can be activated manually by workers, while others send a signal when they come into contact with water. Some are distance activated, sending a signal when the individual unit is too far away from the mother unit. Still others are built into other parts of the boat. These might do things like cut the ship throttle if a MOB is detected, or autopilot around to the location of the lost person.

MOB events can happen for a variety of reasons. Some are intentional. Others might happen due to a slippery deck or a faulty guardrail. If you have lost a loved one in a man overboard accident, speak to a maritime accident attorney.


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