Fall Overboard Tragedy Can be Prevented

ALERT Man-Overboard Alarm System

ALERT Man-Overboard Alarm System protects all people on or near water.

As a manufacturer of products specific to fall overboard alerting and retrieval, we monitor the news for fall overboard incidents. Just today we read about two fatalities that occurred, each when a worker fell into the water and no one was aware of the issue until it became tragic. The Maritime Executive Online reported, “In the early hours of Saturday morning, a deckhand disappeared from a moored towboat on the Mississippi River at St. Joseph, Louisiana. The Coast Guard, the Mississippi Department of Wildlife and the local sheriff’s department conducted a search of the river all day Saturday – including dragging the river and scanning with sonar – but without success. The search resumed Sunday morning.” In the same online issue of The Maritime Executive Online reported , “At about 1700 hours Sunday, Sector Honolulu received a distress call from the master of the fishing vessel Kawaiola, who reported that one of their crewmembers had gone overboard. The missing fisherman was last seen on the deck of the vessel at 1430 hours, and the crew did not realize that he was no longer aboard until several hours had passed.”

Two different locations, two different industries, two different work environments but both ended in the same outcome – a person fell into the water and no one was aware of this fall-overboard until minutes, even hours passed before this person was missed. We don’t know the details of these tragedies but we do know the use of an ALERT Man-Overboard transmitter on that worker could have averted the tragedy by altering the crew and vessel of a man-overboard (MOB).

Even if the person is wearing a personal flotation device (PFD), which definitely can give the person a greater opportunity for survival, there is still a need to alert the vessel that the person fell from, as this is the greatest chance of survival. The ALERT Transmitter immediately notifies the boat that a MOB has occurred, quickly calling into action all eyes and able bodies to rescue the man-overboard in minutes.

Emerald Marine Products is moved by these tragedies to reach out to the fishing community and to other small business that rely on the health and safety of their workers to continue to prosper in a very competitive and physically challenging work environment. We ask these enterprises to seriously consider investing in wearing and using PFD’s. We promise to do all we can to make our ALERT product available to you at a discount so finances are not the issue in preventing fishermen or small businesses from using a fall overboard alarm system. Because our ALERT Man-Overboard Alarm System is automatic and water activated, when the person falls overboard, conscious or not, PFD wearer or not, the device when it gets wet will begin to transmit to the ALERT Receiver and within seconds the alarm is alerting all those in the area of a fall overboard situation.

We encourage solo fishermen, small fishing companies, non-profits catering to the commercial fishing industry, and other small businesses with employees working on or near water to contact us and see if we can help protect their fleets, We’d love to see these all too familiar headline’s about “Disappearing Deckhand” and “Search for Missing Fisherman” to have a better end to the story. A headline that reads, “Fisherman Falls Overboard and is Rescued by Crew”. Life saved, a story with a much better ending than the one’s we read all too often.


Emerald Marine Products included in the Marine News 100 Recognition

Marine News Issue of the MN100


Emerald Marine Products is pleased to announce that we were selected to be part of the 2018 Marine News MN100. MN100 is Marine News magazine (www.marinelink.com) yearly review of the best companies serving the workboat, brown water, inland and coastal markets. Emerald Marine Products was awarded inclusion in the Equipment/OEM Division for our ALERT418 Man-Overboard Alarm System product. Also cited in the article is our support of safety for the maritime industry for over twenty years with our other products, the ALERT2 Man-Overboad Alarm System and our OSCAR – Water Rescue Training Dummy. We appreciate the recognition and honor of providing safety products to the maritime and other industries working on or near water. For an image of the article, click here.


R/V Thompson off coast from Emerald Marine Products

R/V Thomas G. Thompson pays a visit to Emerald Marine Products

Can you imagine our surprise today as we were testing an ALERT2 Receiver bound for the R/V Thomas G. Thompson (currently in midlife overhaul) when we saw the R/V Thomas G. Thompson from our building. The Thompson is currently undergoing sea trials in Puget Sound. It was a great feeling knowing the product we were testing for use as their Man-Overboard Alarm System was just a mile from our facilities.


University Readies Its Ships Against MOB Incident

Safety is important on any boat, even more so when scientists and inexperienced students are working on deck. The School of Oceanography at the University of Washington protects those on board its two research vessels with Emerald Marine Products’ ALERT Man-Overboard (MOB) Alarm Systems™. If someone should fall overboard, an alarm instantly sounds, providing critical extra time for a successful recovery in the cold Pacific Northwest waters and points beyond.

The university purchased ALERT2 systems for its 274′ R/V Thomas G. Thompson and 66′ R/V Clifford A. Barnes. Each is equipped with an ALERT2 Receiver, 18″ whip antenna, seven Transmitters with Spray Tight Pouches and a Man-Overboard Portable Direction Finder to pinpoint the victim in darkness or heavy seas.

Especially on the smaller Clifford A. Barnes, where people are often alone on deck, everyone wears a work vest and has access to a small and lightweight ALERT2 Transmitter. If the unit is immersed in water, it triggers the receiver to activate a piercing alarm in the wheelhouse. Unlike MOB systems that rely on satellites, like AIS, the ALERT2 is instantaneous.

There’s a need for immediacy. At even a mere 3 kts, an MOB will be 100′ astern in just 20 seconds. The sooner crew can launch a locally-managed rescue operation, the greater the success will be.

“We chose the ALERT system because of its simplicity and affordability—it’s a good value,” said Capt. Douglas Russell, manager of marine operations. “And, we received great customer care during the purchase process.” Package prices start as low as $1,068.

Founded in 1930, the Seattle-based School of Oceanography at the University of Washington provides its students with the academic tools and resources to study the marine environment, and its interaction with the earth and atmosphere. It offers baccalaureate and graduate degree programs. Its website is www.ocean.washington.edu.


ALERT2 Man-Overboard Alarm System™ versus AIS

There is a lot of hype about an AIS (Automatic Identification System) device as being the solution of a Man-Overboard Alarm device. The truth is, an AIS device is not necessarily the best solution for a Man-Overboard (MOB) situation because of the lag-time associated with its technology. The ALERT2 Man-Overboard System is all about knowing a MOB has occurred in seconds, the greatest chance of rescue is from the vessel the MOB fell from. Here are the differences:
EventALERT2 Man-Overboard Alarm SystemAIS
Fall Overboard (event)Upon immersion the MOB wonders what the heck happened.Upon immersion the MOB wonders what the heck happened.
MOB comes up for air (+10 sec.)Luckily MOB is coherent and now above the waves. MOB looking at surroundings trying to get barrings. At this point the ALERT2 is already transmitting to ALERT2 Receiver.Luckily MOB is alert and now above the waves. MOB looking at surroundings trying to get barrings. Hopefully not panicked, MOB needs to remember how to activate AIS.
What is happening on vessel? (+20 sec.)ALERT2 Receiver howls and crew take action to search for MOB. If the boat has ALERT2 Receiver wired for engine kill, the boat has stopped moving.If MOB is successful, AIS is turned on. If first attempt fails, other manual activation may be required. Once activated AIS searches for GPS coordinates.
Search & Rescue (+30 sec.)Crew on vessel are looking for a visual of MOB. Once sighted, a crew member will lock-on to MOB as others begin rescue.Once GPS coordinates are located, the transmission to AIS-enabled receiver receives broadcast. Furthermore, the AIS icon may appear on the chart plotter as a vessel, not a MOB – so crew may still not be aware of person overboard.
1 minute has passedVessel traveling 6 knots has separated 600 feet from MOB! ALERT2 MOB has either been sighted or ALERT2 Portable Direction Finder is able to home in on signal.Because of lag-time, MOB will probably no longer be in sight. All rescue will be dependent on following GPS coordinates.
3 minutes have passedWith transmission of alarm automatic, evasive action has commenced and rescue is well on way.In reality rescue is probably just beginning.

Check out the ALERT Man-Overboard Alarm Products.

The ALERT Man-Overboard Alarm System is made up of:


Dredger

When Mere Seconds Count

There are a dozen products on the market that are identified as fall-overboard locator beacons. Our product, the ALERT2 Man-Overboard Alarm System™ has two functions that differentiate from the other fall-overboard locator beacons on the market.

For a vessel moving 6 knots, a person who has fallen overboard will drift 100 feet in 10 seconds, 600 feet in 60 seconds. In between that 10 and 60 seconds, even on a clear day, they are no longer visible to the crew on the boat they just fell off of. When time is of the essence, ALERT2 is far superior to the other fall-overboard locator beacons.

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Further Enhance Your Crew’s Safety

As the United States Coast Guard invites people involved in the Commercial Fishing Industry to learn about the Alternative Safety Compliance Program (ASCP), Emerald Marine Products suggests taking the proposed safety solution a little further to really enhance the potential for saving a life at sea.

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The Value of ALERT2 Man-Overboard Alarm System

  • 30% of all marine fatalities on United States Coastal Waters were from a fall overboard*
  • #1 reason for a fall overboard was trip/slip, #2 reason was lost balance, and #3 is unknown*
  • Most fatalities could have been prevented if two actions occurred: 1. victim wore a Personal Flotation Device and 2. Crew were aware the victim fell overboard

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Coast Guard Releases Towing Industry Safety Data from 1994 – 2014

In 2014 there were four crew fatalities, which is the lowest number on record. Three of the four were a result of crew-members falling into the water. In the past 20 years, 72 fatalities have been a result of falling into water. Emerald Marine Products is glad to see that the number has been reduced over the years, thanks to better prevention and heightened awareness. On average, three fatalities a year occur due to falling in water. In the past eight years, an average of 15 fall into water accidents occur each year, of which six tend to be serious (if not fatal) occurrences.

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Though AIS Is Required, It May Not Be the Best Solution for Your Safety

The ruling, “Vessel Requirements for Notices of Arrival and Departure and Automatic Identification System”  becomes effective March 2. However, you have until March 1, 2016 to install the AIS.

AIS or Automatic Identification System is now required on all vessels 65 feet or longer. Primarily for the benefit of being able to identify boats in the area, AIS has also been touted as a life-saving technology with fall-overboard (FOB) awareness and location of person who fell overboard using GPS technology embedded in the AIS device. However, the truth is that AIS is not the best solution for FOB awareness or for that matter, the location of the person who fell overboard.

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