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Increasing the visibility of a man overboard with a Dan Buoy

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What is the issue?
It is very difficult to spot the head of a crew member in the water in a man overboard (MOB) situation. The crisis will be compounded if the vessel has only two people aboard. With one gone overboard the other has to deal with the boat whilst maintaining a bearing on the MOB position. The chances of them being lost in a challenging seaway are very high.

Why address this?
A man over board is a critical situation where loss of life is highly likely.

How to address this?
Implement a 'Dan Buoy' or 'Man Over Board Pole' on your vessel - see figure 1.

A Dan Buoy pole provides a highly visible target by contrast to the occasionally bopping head in the water. For the person in the water it makes it easier for them to see and make their way to an attached lifebuoy as they can equally clearly see the Dan Buoy above the waves.

In addition to the lifebuoy the Dan Buoy should also have an automatic strobe light, whistle and small drogue attached. All should have a drogue attached or they will blow away from the victim in the water. Attaching a small radar reflecting head will help where radar can be used to assist location of a MOB.

The easiest means of connection is to the backstay. A holding sleeve on top is ideal to push up the head with its flag rolled in plus a holder for the base unit below.

A Dan Buoy will dramatically increase the likelihood of the MOB being rescued. Yet very few yachts carry one and this is largely because manufactured Dan Buoys are very expensive to buy. However if you manufacture it yourself, along the lines suggested in figure 1, it can cost a trivial amount of money. Hence it makes no sense not to have one to assist MOB recovery.

With thanks to:
Michael Harpur, Yacht Obsession.

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