Let every man know his station in such an accident.
The tinkling of the bell might be the signal to call the people on deck.
Endeavour to throw the person a rope before he has passed the vessel, and if she has not fresh way, he might be able to hold on until he could receive a bowline knot, or some assistance.
Station one man to drop the life-buoy; if this person uses judgment, he may drop it near the person requiring it.
Let the carpenter or any other man, throw a grating as near as he can to the person in the water, being careful not to strike him.
The chief mate and four men or boys should be stationed to a boat — two to the falls for lowering, and two in the boat with the mate, giving each person his own place; the boatswain to attend at the davits, to lower her as soon as the ship has lost her way; should the boat require four hands, the two who have lowered her can go down by the falls.*
The rest of the crew must go to their stations "about ship" if on a wind, or to their stations for shortening sail if going free.
Two or three times exercise and explanation would make every person know his station; all must be sensible how humane and necessary a duty it is, and would no doubt give it all the attention it deserves.
Every officer in charge of a vessel should always have the best arrangements made for saving any person who has fallen overboard; to do this—
First, a life-buoy ought to be in readiness by night and by day.†
Secondly, a boat should be prepared for lowering or getting out at all times.
And thirdly, the rest of the crew should be stationed to their duties, either for tacking or shortening sail, as may be required.
Most vessels can carry a light boat on the quarter; and if they have two pair of handy davits, they might generally manage to have a small boat‡ on the lee quarter, ready for lowering in moderate weather; a preparation of this sort would save many a fellow creature's life. In assisting a person into a boat, do it over the stern or bow, but not on the broadside, particularly with a small boat.
Judgment must be used not to risk a boat's crew when the wind and sea are high, as of course the attempt can then only be made from the ship to save a person in the best manner possible.
* The hook and thimble sahould be fitted to work as easily as possible; perhaps if the thimble were seized into the lower block of the fall, and the hook to the slings or bolt, they would be more convenient for unhooking when the boat is down.
† Cook's life-buoy is excellent, and is fitted expressly for night and day use.
‡ A fourteen feet dingy or jolly boat is a good sea boat.
Edward Jennings: Practical Hints Addressed to Seamen, for Preventing Accidents on Board Ship, and Especially for Guarding Against Hurricanes, Collision, Fire, ...
R.B. Bate, London, 1844. pp 56-58.
Transcribed by Lars Bruzelius
Sjöhistoriska Samfundet | The Maritime History Virtual Archives | Seamanship | Search.
Copyright © 2002 Lars Bruzelius.