Cost of a Man-Overboard Alarm System

Cost of a Man-Overboard Alarm System

Cost of implementing a man-overboard alerting system may be a barrier to saving lives. Knowing if a man-overboard situation (MOB) has occurred on your premises is what keeps executives and safety personnel up at night. Fortunately, a solution for detecting a MOB has been around for 20 years. Sometimes referred to as MOB Beacons, Marine Survivor Locator Device, or Locator Beacons, it’s all about technology that will alert of a fall overboard. Making a decision to invest in a man-overboard beacon system should be imperative for a company with employees working on or near water. However, the cost and time to implement a MOB alerting system can seem daunting.

Emerald Marine Products has been protecting employees working on or near water for over twenty years so we have a clear understanding of the costs and time to implement a solution. We have a solution that is easy to implement and very cost-effective.

Understanding True Cost of Ownership of a Man-Overboard Alerting System

In regards to the cost of implementing a system, you want to not just look at the initial purchase price, but the total cost over the lifetime of a product for the Total Cost of Ownership (TCO). We recently had the opportunity to put our mathematical skills to work to calculate the TCO of our ALERT Man-Overboard devices. Why is this important? There are competing products in the MOB Beacon/Locator Beacon marketplace, so it’s important to consider what MOB alarm systems will last longer and understand associated maintenance costs. 

Important Purchase Factor: How Long Will the MOB Beacon System Last? 

If you are involved in purchasing safety technology, one of your concerns is how long with MOB alerting technology last? Emerald Marine Products is proud of the fact that our man-overboard alerting devices have been serving the maritime industry for over twenty years. It is doubtful many of today’s Man Overboard Beacon vendors will be around that long. In our twenty-year span of business, we have seen other MOB Alerting products and technology go out of business

Bluetooth and AIS man-overboard products are very sexy and the rage for “the latest technology” but the truth is, Bluetooth and AIS man-overboard products can be very costly in the long run. Any technology that relies on Apps for use will require updates and continued technical support of its software. Bluetooth and AIS are reliant on other vendors’ products and this doubles or triples the concern for long-term longevity and support. Most systems are not “commercial-grade” and are not expandable.

ALERT MOB alarm products do not require any software to operate. The ALERT Man-Overboard Alarm System relies on the decades-old wireless transmission on the 418MHz frequency. No need for costly software or updates to keep the technology current. Bluetooth and AIS alerting systems may have an initial price less than our ALERT Man-Overboard Alarm System but the TCO may take on a different cost once the longevity of the system is considered.

Dependence on Other Technology to Support a MOB Alerting System 

Many MOB Beacon App-based systems have a life expectancy of 2-3 years based on supporting software technology by the manufacturer or the operating system the apps need to function. Constant updating for bug fixes and security concerns are guaranteed. The ALERT Man-Overboard Alarm System requires no software updates to remain functional. So when looking at the CTO of the ALERT MOB system, you simply need to look at the initial purchase price and any costs associated with new batteries or replacing a worn pouch or outer shell. 

TCO of the ALERT Man-Overboard Alarm System 

Last month, we received 40 ALERT2 Man-Overboard Alarm System Transmitters for a service check-up. This group of 40 allowed us to see how our man-overboard transmitters have fared over a span of time. We are happy to report that other than updating some worn pouches, outer shells, and batteries, the ALERT2 Transmitters were fully functioning. This proved that units in five-plus years of heavy maritime use may require a new pouch or batteries, but nothing more.

In reviewing this sample group of 40 units, and many other servicing checks over the years, we have confirmed our products last 7plus years. Based on a lifetime of 7 years (at a minimum) at an initial cost of $274 plus one set of new batteries, the total cost for one transmitter per day for 7 years is $0.05/day. Assuming one ALERT2 Receiver will be needed to support five ALERT2 Transmitters (numbers will vary so we took an average). We calculated that the average life of a receiver is $0.44/day. As you increase the number of employees, you decrease the TCO of man-overboard alarm protection. 

Your Company Can Be Protected from a Multi-Million Dollar Lawsuit of a Man-Overboard Fatality

We have all heard of the analogy, “for the cost of a coffee at Starbucks you can…” We hate to use that analogy, but when it fits it fits. Using these sample figures previously outlined, a crew of five can be protected for $0.69 per day over a five-year period, A fleet of 10 boats and 40 crew can be protected for $6.40/day over a five-year period. If the TCO doesn’t convince your financial department, think of the money spent on a lawsuit for an injury or fatality when a life-saving product exists and wasn’t used.

Now Easier Than Ever to Implement a Fall-Overboard Alerting Solution

Finally, with the simplicity of costs now comes, the simplicity of operation. With our newly released ALERT Portable, DIY Man-Overboard Alarm System you can have an ALERT Man-Overboard Alarm System functional at a job site (vessel or dockside) within minutes. We are so confident in the life-saving capabilities of our ALERT Man-Overboard Alarm System, we will make it available for a no-risk 30-day evaluation to qualified companies. Further information about the financial, technical, or operational aspects of keeping your employees working on or near water safe, contact Emerald Marine Products at 800-426-4201 or email info@emeraldmarineproducts.com.


SCF Lewis & Clark Fleeting have excellent MOB procedures and testing in place!

When Deckhands or Shore-Side Workers go Missing

We are not addressing work stoppage, strikes or just plain no-show incidents. We are addressing when a worker who executes their job on or near water suddenly disappears. Potentially into the water!

Any company that has employees working on or near water grapples with the concern of a Fall Overboard or MOB incident. It’s in the back of their safety-conscious mind every day. Does it keep them up at night? Hopefully not. The truth is most companies that work on or near water have a plethora of safety issues to deal with. In Emerald Marine Products’ experience, a MOB is one of those “put it on the back shelf” concerns. Statistically, it’s not a top safety concern but the implications of an MOB are far greater than a fall, collision, or medical issue.

A non-fatal MOB will most certainly cause a work stoppage, a potential medical issue and possibly a lawsuit. A fatal Mob will most certainly cause a work stoppage, an investigation by law enforcement, a potential medical issue and most certainly a lack of confidence from the employees and a lawsuit. The financial cost of a non-fatal or fatal MOB can be drastic. “That’s what we have insurance for” is not a defense for not having awareness of MOB issues and address the concern. Insurance may take care of some financial aspects of an MOB incident, but damage to the employees’ confidence, the company’s reputation and the soul retching guilt of the incident can be caustic to the companies future. On the last point alone, we have heard of a non-fatal MOB cause a suicide because the person in charge of the person who fell in the water (but survived) felt so guilty they didn’t better protect them.

You know MOB awareness, protection and rescue needs to be addressed, but where do you begin? As with any procedural change in an organization, change begins with education. Educate yourself and all stakeholders on what a MOB situation is. How vulnerable are your employees to such an incident? If your employees work on or near water, of course, the potential is there. But is the potential of a MOB increased due to; long work shifts, employees out-of-sight from other employees, weather extremes, inexperience, etc? As the potential grows, the implementation of a MOB plan is essential. What’s next?

You are determined to put an operational procedure in place to train your employees on both the hazards of an MOB and most important a response to a MOB. Emerald Marine Products has been manufacturing MOB alerting products for over twenty years. It is with our partnership with C-Hero, manufacture of MOB retrieval products, that our ability to offer companies a complete solution in awareness and retrieval of MOB incidents is complete. Emerald Marine Products and C-Hero have taken the mystery out of MOB awareness, operational execution and continued compliance.

First, begin with awareness. Outfitting any employee working on or near the water with proper protection such as Personal Floating Device (PFD), head, hand, footgear, VHF radio, personal light beacon, and our ALERT Man-Overboard Transmitter. Train your employees of root causes of potential fall situations (tripping on lines, fatigue, misplace objects). All employees working on or near water should be tested in MOB procedures regularly.

Actual MOB procedures can be easily found and adopted by your company if not already implemented. However, in our research, we have found most implementation is lax and irregular. Demand that all supervisors adhere to strict execution on both the exercise and frequency of the MOB test. Outfitting your company with a life-like victim such as our OSCAR – Water Rescue Training Dummy will provide years of easily maneuvered MOB testing procedures. An MOB drill should not use anything less than a full-grown adult victim in both size and weight. Using any training device not the size and weight of an adult is an affront to both your commitment to properly trained employees and the true readiness in the event an actual MOB occurs.

Realistically, what is the ability of your employees to provide a MOB retrieval in a timely manner? If your operation is shore-side and the water has a fast-moving current, how quickly will the person in the water be out of sight? Out of range of a local retrieval? This is a concern that needs to be addressed quickly. If the retrieval will come from another source, do employees in the rescue process know who to contact? Test it! If a local retrieval is possible (such as the boat the person just fell off of), is the rescuer’s ability to properly navigate the rescue boat and able to get the MOB out of the water in a timely fashion? Again, test it!

C-Hero makes several retrieval products to fit your company’s needs and budget. But in all safety procedures, the budget should not drive the solution. If your operation requires a device to lift a person out of the water, and no device exists on your boat, you need to budget for a lift. If all you need to get the MOB to the area where they can be safely lifted out of the water, then explore what type of retrieval product(s) will work best for the physical abilities of your employee. It is the repeated testing of a MOB drill that you will discover or confirm that your process is effective. If testing is frequent and consistent, you will see the level of confidence grow in your employees. Empowering them to be aware of a fall overboard concern will increase their vigilance of fellow employees’ whereabouts. Increasing the safety net within your company’s safety culture.

What about a safety culture once set and then management changes break down the compliance? C-hero has built a robust training and compliance application that is easy to administer. It allows for a step-by-step approach in MOB retrieval training. Once trained, the employee is video recorded in their participation in the training procedure. The video is then reviewed by management and given an approval rating. Annual compliance of each employee can be easily administered. The process can become the “heavy hand” that further institutes compliance within your company.

If Deckhands and Shore-Side Workers going missing is a concern of yours. If the responsibility of your employee’s well-being is a concern of yours, there are products and plans available to easily implement into your safety culture. Contact Emerald Marine Products to discuss your needs when addressing the issue of your employees working on or near water. Addressing your concerns now; before an unexpected event brings a costly accident to your attention.


United States Coast Guard

United States Coast Guard Issues Safety Alert Reassessing Man-Overboard Risks

On April 24th, The United States Coast Guard released a Safety Alert reassessing man-overboard risks in response to a fatality that occurred while a personnel exchange was taking place at sea. You can read the full Safety Alert here  In the Alert it was stated, The ship’s Boatswain and Ordinary Seaman (OS) were manning the port side shell access port and pilot embarkation space behind a hydraulically operated bi-fold hatch door and were preparing for the pilot’s arrival. The port was located forward of the house and approximately 13-feet above the waterline. The Boatswain and OS were unable to monitor the seas from their position behind the hatch door. As the two crew members were in the process of opening the door, seas unexpectedly struck and violently forced it open, flooding the space. The OS was not wearing a harness or safety line nor a personal flotation device; he was subsequently swept out to sea. The Boatswain was forced onto the deck whereby the pilot ladder fell on him, fracturing his leg. The side shell door also sustained structural damage during the incident. Coast Guard Sector New York launched an extensive search and rescue mission that was terminated with no success after 28 hours. The OS was lost and presumed dead.”

The Safety Alert goes on to state, “This casualty reiterates the dangers of personnel exchanges at sea, especially in heavy weather conditions”. Emerald Marine Products agrees that casualty can occur in heavy weather conditions but we have historically seen casualties and near fatalities relating to man-overboard incidents occurring even in calm weather conditions. As reported in the past, man-overboard incidents are caused from many conditions, such as tripping on misplaced objects, dehydration, exhaustion, poor training. Regardless of weather, actions should be taken by companies to assure their employees are protected.

The Safety Alert goes on to state; “The Coast Guard strongly recommends owners and operators of deep draft vessels:

  • Review vessel Safety Management Systems, procedural manuals and guidance that relate to pilot transfers and update as appropriate, considering risks revealed by this casualty;
    • Reinforce the importance for crew members to wear personal protection devices and safety lines when working over the side of a vessel, when exposed to the elements or when there is an absence of a barrier that prevents an accidental water entry;
    • Ensure officers and crew identify potential hazards and conduct a risk assessment, to include consideration of weather conditions, prior to opening the side shell port hatches;
    • Ensure crew communications between Navigation Watch Officers and crew are clear and provide suitable supervision of activities, considering sea state and other changing conditions.”

Emerald Marine Products has heard that more Form CG-835V have been issued to companies that don’t fully comply with Management Safety Systems (SMS) or Towing Safety Management Systems (TSMS). In light of this latest Safety Alert, we are sure the US Coast Guard will be actively looking at many companies compliance with SMS or TSMS.

When companies review their SMS or TSMS policies they should seriously look at the ALERT Man-Overboard Alarm System. In the case of the tragedy outlined earlier, the use of the ALERT system would have helped to track the seaman who was swept out to sea. The ALERT Man-Overboard System is recognized as the leading and fastest indicator of a man-overboard situation. Our automatic water activated transmitters report to the wheelhouse or other monitoring station within seconds of a MOB. A visual of a person in the water will assure a quick response and will be integral in the execution of your MOB recovery outlined in your SMS or TSMS. Why not invest in an alerting system that compliments your mandated MOB procedures? The investment is a fraction of your cost to implement a SMS or TSMS and will pay dividends by providing your employees with the confidence that in the event of a man-overboard incident, the crew will be notified within seconds, and tracking in the event that the MOB is lost will help in their quick recovery.

For more information about our products and how we help companies comply with their Safety Management System or Towing Safety Management System procedures, contact Emerald Marine Products via this contact link or call, 800-426-4201.


MOB Rescue with OSCAR - Water Rescue Training Dummy and C-Hero Lift.

Partnership That Saves Lives

Shane Smith, Founder of C-Hero, a manufacturer of life saving products contacted Emerald Marine Products in 2016 with one goal, increase the chances of saving a life of a tug boat crew member. In 2016, Captain Smith was developing a product that within three years would become a certified type-approval. Specific to International Maritime Organization A520(13) operational readiness requirements for vessels with lower freeboards.

Emerald Marine Products worked closely with C-Hero in the development of their C-Hero Lifting Davit and C-Hero VR-12 Reach poll because our products were so closely aligned and Captain Smith’s knowledge and passion for safety. As Captain Smith expressed when he first contacted Emerald Marine Products, “My product gets a person out of the water, quickly and safely. Your product lets the boat know you have someone in the water in the first place. Before you have a rescue you need to have an alert of a man-overboard.” Captain Smith really understood the impact of a total solution to someone falling in the water. First comes the alert, then the training of a crew so they can spring to a rescue effortlessly and quickly. Finally, the retrieval of the person quickly and safely. “Due to the height and reach of a tugboat, rescue products on the market were not adequate for tugboats”, Captain Smith iterated. Though designed for the tugboats, the C-Hero Lifting Davit works with all other types of vessels such as ferries, push boats and ocean supply vessels (OSV), hence the recently certified type-approval to meet SubchapterM requirements. The USCG (SubM) option boats are required to perform a Man –Overboard (MOB) drill for the USCG at the time of Certificate of Inspection (COI). In 137.215 (4) a surveyor has to examine systems in support of drills and training to ensure that it operates as intended.

Emerald Marine Products is proud to be an adjunct to the SubchapterM requirements and a partner with C-Hero. Together, we provide a total Man-Overboard Alert and Rescue solution with our ALERT Man-Overboard Alarm System, OSCAR – Water Rescue Training Dummy and C-Hero’s Lift Davit and VR-12 Reach Pole. For more information about these products contact Emerald Marine Products via this contact link or call, 800-426-4201.


OSCAR – Water Rescue Training Dummy in action

Recently Kenny Brown, Founder of Maritime Throwdown used OSCAR – Water Rescue Training Dummy to show the differences between a retrieval of a Man-Overboard (MOB) with and without proper retrieval equipment. Thank you Kenny for a well produced video. Every maritime company doing MOB drills should look at OSCAR – Water Rescue Training Dummy as a cost-effective and efficient training dummy. Your employees will appreciate both your concern for their lives and their backs as they carry our lightweight (when empty) and full weight (when filled with water) dummy to provide realistic MOB retrieval exercises.


Fall Overboard Situations Presentation


Now available is a presentation given to the Signal Mutual Safety Meeting about Fall Overboard Situations, their cause, and solutions for fall overboard alerting and retrieval.


Water Rescue, Retrieval, Recovery

Many times the words “rescue”, “retrieval” and “recovery” are used synonymous with each other when describing the action of bringing a fall overboard victim back to the boat commonly referred to as man overboard training. However, depending on who is bringing the fall overboard victim back to the boat and the condition of that fall overboard victim, the words “Rescue”, “Retrieval”, “Recovery” take on different meaning.

At Emerald Marine Products we actually take these words very seriously and have developed a water rescue dummy specific to the needs of the training operation, sometimes referred to as “Oscar Training’.

The word “Retrieval” signifies the first action of a man overboard training operation. The assumption is that someone has fallen into the water and person(s) on the vessel they just fell of need to “Retrieve” that person. So the team begins a retrieval process by knowing how to get the fall overboard victim back to the boat (maneuvering boat, or throwing a device that the victim can hold onto or be captured by). Once the person is near the boat, the retrieval process requires getting them out of the water and onto the boat. This may require a lifting device or brute strength to lift them out of the water. Easier said than done, correct? Hence the need to train for these type of situations.

The word “Rescue” comes after a successful Retrieval. What determines success? Actually getting the fall overboard victim safely out of the water and back onto the boat. Our OSCAR – Water Rescue Training Dummy (part number OT100) serves the purpose of practicing a retrieval so it becomes a successful rescue. When easily assembled, the OSCAR mannequin is six foot in height and when the bladders are filled with water, oscar weigh can be up to 180 pounds, providing a very realistic water retrieval situation.

“Recovery” is used in the event that the retrieval is not successful. The person who fell overboard was lost or drowned before a successful retrieval was performed. Though this term is not used lightly, it is a training required by many First Responder agencies to practice the undesirable job of finding and recovering a drowned victim. In the event of a Recovery training scenario you actually want the “victim” to be fully submerged. Emerald Marine Products manufactures a “Recovery” mannequin that unlike the Water Rescue Training Dummy, where the head and arms will float, can be filled completely filled with water to sink. The OSCAR – Water Retrieval Dummy (part number OT200) is available exclusively through our dealer Landfall Rescue. If your training organization does not need a full-time recovery dummy, the OSCAR – Water Rescue Training Dummy (OT100) can be outfitted with weights to sink the unit. Simply attach at least 40 pounds of weights to the stainless steel mid-section bolt of the rescue mannequin.

Our OSCAR training dummies have been used in scores of training operations. Some operations don’t involve a “victim.” Recently Virginia Tech University used our OSCAR mannequin to float highly sensitive instrumentation to collect data on a research project they are conducting for monitoring tracking agents in water to aid in research on hazardous spills and search and rescue.

Whether your needs require retrieval, rescue, recovery or to simulate an adult human being in water environments that may be unsafe for a real person, our OSCAR – Water Rescue Training Dummy (versions OT100 or OT200) may be just the solution to your training/experiment needs.

OSCAR – Water Rescue Training Dummy available in two colors.


OSCAR – Not just a Water Rescue Training Dummy

Thanks to the Schmale Lab at Virginia Tech sharing this video of our OSCAR – Water Rescue Training Dummy being used for their experiments.
Our portable oscar mannequin is primarily used for man overboard training or practicing swift water rescue techniques, but the Schmale Lab gave new meaning to our water rescue dummy as part of a highly intelligent program to monitor tracking agents in water to aid in research on hazardous spills and search and rescue.
We’re proud that our “Marine Man” as part of our overboard products, can be part of research at a nationally recognized research university!


ALERT418 Man-Overboard Alarm System Introduction Video Now Available

Curious about our two ALERT Man-Overboard Alarm Systems? This new video provides information about the ALERT2 and ALERT418 systems. Their similarities and the improvements made with the new ALERT418 system.


Time to Think about MOB Retrieval Training

OSCAR – Water Rescue Training Dummy available in two colors.

Even though snow and ice is covering a good portion of North America, soon the ice will thaw and rivers will rise due to melting snow and ice. Spring is a great time to think about Man-Overboard drills and rescue operations using a dummy that will provide a realistic “victim” without placing any of your employees in harms way.

“We are seeing a lot of tugboat, towboat, and barge companies purchase the OSCAR Water Rescue Training Dummy as part of their training and demonstration of Man-Overboard drills, specifically for Subchapter M compliance.” reported Robert Linder President of Emerald Marine Products. “We can now make OSCAR available in its usual forest green color or a highly visible orange, but either color it’s a great training device with it’s portable 35 pound weight to get to a testing site and then 180 pounds when filled with water and ready for a rescue drill.” continued Mr. Linder. More information is available at our website  or OSCAR’s specific website of www.oscarwaterrescue.com.