A Pocket Guide to Recovery Techniques, 2014 Edition (KA947E) (eBook)

Published Date

December 2014

A Pocket Guide to Recovery Techniques, 2014 Edition (KA947E) (eBook)

(Excludes any applicable taxes)

This pocket guide sets out the SOLAS requirements relating to onboard recovery plans and provisions and provides practical guidance on recovery of persons from the water.

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SOLAS regulation III/17-1, Recovery of persons from the water, requires all ships on international voyages to have ship-specific plans and procedures for recovery of persons from the water, taking into account guidelines developed by the International Maritime Organization (IMO) and identifying the equipment intended to be used for recovery purposes and the measures to be taken to minimise the risk to shipboard personnel.


This pocket guide discusses implementation of onboard recovery plans and procedures, with reference to MSC Circular 1447, ‘Guidelines for the development of plans and procedures for recovery of persons from the water’. It sets out techniques for different rescue scenarios, such as recovery of persons in survival craft and persons in the water, and identifies possible difficulties that may be encountered in a rescue operation. It also looks at immediate care for persons rescued from the water.

Introduction: your part in recovery at sea
Aims and contents of this guide
The task of recovery: possible problems
Planning for recovery
Providing assistance prior to recovery
The recovery process – general considerations
Bringing people to the side of the ship – the approach
Bringing people to the side of the ship – rescue craft and lines
Getting people aboard the ship: factors to consider
Getting people aboard the ship: climbing and lifting
Standing by when people cannot be recovered
The immediate care of people recovered
Appendix 1: Recovery: Master’s checklist
Appendix 2: Extracts from MSC Circular 1447 ‘Guidelines for the development of plans and procedures for recovery of persons from the water’

Your part in recovery at sea


As a seafarer, you may have to recover people in distress at sea. This might be someone overboard from your own ship – a fellow crew member, or a passenger – or your ship might be responding to someone else’s emergency; for example a ship abandoned because of flooding or fire, or a ditched aircraft. You may have little warning, and lives may be in your hands.


In many areas of the world, especially when out of range of shore-based search and rescue (SAR) facilities, your ship may be the first, or the only, rescue unit to arrive in time. Even if you are joined by specialized units, you will still have a vital role to play, especially in a major incident involving many people.


Many ships are required to have ship-specific plans and procedures for recovery of persons from the water, and the IMO has agreed that it is beneficial to have recovery procedures planned for any vessel. This guide also considers recovery from small craft such as liferafts etc.


If you are required to recover people in distress, it is your capability that matters. To ensure that you can respond safely and effectively, you need to know the plans and procedures for recovery specific to your ship and to think about the general issues beforehand.


The recovery process is often difficult. For example, it may be complicated by:


1. the size of your ship: survivors may have to climb or be lifted considerable distances to get aboard;


2. differences in relative movement between your ship and the craft or people alongside: it may be difficult to stay alongside or for survivors to get onto ladders etc. or in through shell openings; and


3. the physical capability of those to be recovered: they may be able to do little or nothing to help themselves.


This guide discusses these problems, and some solutions. It suggests practical recovery techniques which have been used successfully to recover people in distress at sea.

A​​s a specialized agency of the United Nations, IMO is the global standard-setting authority for the safety, security and environmental performance of international shipping. Its main role is to create a regulatory framework for the shipping industry that is fair and effective, universally adopted and universally implemented.  

In other words, its role is to create a level playing-field so that ship operators cannot address their financial issues by simply cutting corners and compromising on safety, security and environmental performance. This approach also encourages innovation and efficiency.

Shipping is a truly international industry, and it can only operate effectively if the regulations and standards are themselves agreed, adopted and implemented on an international basis. And IMO is the forum at which this process takes place.

Title: A Pocket Guide to Recovery Techniques, 2014 Edition (KA947E) (eBook)
Number of Pages: 44
Product Code: MM1040EA
ISBN: ISBN 13: 9789280116007, ISBN 10: 9280116002
Published Date: December 2014
Author: IMO

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