Man Overboard.

On all occasions "Put the helm down," "Hands shorten sail about ship," "Life boat's crew away," lower the weather boat as quickly as possible, before the ship has lost her headway; order the officer not to pull astern and to look out for signals.

Let go the life buoy as close to the man as possible.

Send some one aloft in the mizen rigging to keep his eye on the man.

Bend the starboard (M) and port (N) signals on, hoist them to the main and mizen mast heads at the dip, and when one is wanted for directing the boat, hoist it up to the truck.

If on a wind.

Up courses, in upper sails, proceed as in tacking, leaving the main yard square. The ship being hove-to will drop on to the man, particularly if the cross-jack yard is squared and braced up as requisite to force the ship ahead or astern.

Studding-sails set.

Brace up crossjack yard, haul in the boom sheet, up weather clew of mainsail, in royals, man the studding-sail downhauls, let go the top-gallant and lower studding-sail tacks, and take the sails in at once: with these sails it does not matter whether the wind is on the fore or after side, as they are taken in; but topmast studding-sails, if taken aback when they were half-way down would create confusion, therefore, in taking them in wait until the studding-sails lift, then let go the tack, lower the halliards, haul down the downhaul and short sheet, the latter rope with men on the yard will bring the sail down on the after side of the topsail, and therefore becalmed; leave the studding-sail on the lower yard made up as well as possible, and warn the men to hold themselves fast before touching any of the braces; take the lift jiggers off and let go the burton falls.

"Stations for about ship." — As the sails light up lee clew and gear of mainsail, when head to wind, square the main yard, brace round the crossjack yard. When her head is paying off on the other tack, brace round the head yards, hauling the fore tack on board and the fore and head sheets aft. As the ship will require to forge ahead, if the wind was nearly aft and she has taken a large sweep in coming round, the main yard may be braced up as required.

When running, the wind does not strike the sails with so much force as when the ship is close hauled, as then she is approaching the wind, therefore in rounding to, besides taking in the studding-sails the upper sails must be taken in.

Again, the masts are not so well secured from forward, as they are from aft, therefore before heaving to, sail must be shortened, otherwise the stays will have too much strain brought on them.

The topsails, being the principal working sails, should not be lowered; if obliged to, reef as quickly as possible.

The great object when a man is overboard is to approach the man, and also the boat in the event of accident to her, a thing of not unfrequent occurence. The ship, if hove to, is constantly drifting away from them, and her way will not be stopped so soon as by tacking.

When running, if the foresail were hauled up and the main-yard braced up, the ship would come round quicker, but as sail always has to be shortened, by the time those ropes were manned it would generally be too late for the evolution.

The weather boat is recommended to be lowered in preference to the lee one, because she is much easier kept clear of the quarter, in consequence of the stern moving round sideways to leeward against the water, and if the helm is put down at once the ship will be upright, or nearly so, by the time the boat is ready for lowering.

If the lee boat were lowering and she were delayed at all, she would become the weather boat, and also be farthest from the man.

Again, the weather boat becoming the lee one enables her to be hoisted up immediately on her return.

The quarter boat's davits are usually fitted with jackstays and foot pieces, to enable the men to get into the boats quickly.

Fit a man rope for every two men, and a jacob's ladder from the mizen chains.

A tup containing blue lights and a match, should always be kept in each quarter boat.

If she is lowered at night the lighted match from the aft deck should be taken.

A light unless covered blinds the coxswain.

Life Buoys.

The common service life buoys always capsizes when a drowning man clings to it, owing to his trying to get as high out of the water as possible.

It is intended for him to place his feet on the bottom step, but as that keeps his head only above water, few men have the presence of mind to trim it properly.

If the buoy is let go at night, the match must be lighted before the buoy is let go. The right handle is to light the match and the left hand one to let go the buoy.

If the right handle is painted red and the left-hand one white, they can be easily distinguished apart in the darkest night.

Kisbie's circular life buoys are usually distributed about the upper deck, and in the new long ships, the buoy thrown from the gangway often falls closer to the man, if he has fallen overboard from forward, than the one thrown from aft.

A kisbie has lately been fitted with a light, for night use, by Mr. Dennis, R.N. It is very useful, but being rather unsightly against the stern of the ship has gained enemies.

G.S. Nares: Seamanship.
Griffin & Co., London & Portsmouth, 1874 (4th). pp 195-197.

Transcribed by Lars Bruzelius

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