STANDARD instructions in various naval publications touching on the procedure of a vessel in the case of a man overboard are sufficiently vague to call forth many a wardroom argument. Uncertainty in the minds of many watch officers as to the best procedure leads to blind “doing what the book says.” Want of skill is evident from reports of inspection in the excessive time usually taken to recover a man who has fallen overboard from a vessel under way.
In search of the procedure which gives the greatest probability of recovering the man in the least time, a special study of the problem and a large number of experiments were made on the U.S.S. Borie. From these experiments has developed the discussion which follows.