Man-Overboard: A MARSS White Paper
Developing A Reliable and Autonomous Man-Overboard Detection System
It is a sad reality that according to the US Coast Guard, from January 2006 to March 2018, 305 people were lost overboard (MOB) from cruise ships. This is an average of 25 incident per year.
This is not just a tragedy for the individuals involved but also for their families as well.
In many cases the bodies are not recovered and the circumstances of the incident
Rescue rates are very low at only 16.7% compared to the US Coast Guard Search
and Rescue (SAR) goal of 77%. Unless there is an eye-witness that raises the alarm, crew remain unaware that an individual is lost overboard and therefore the exact location of the incident is unknown making successful rescue unlikely. MOB events are typically not discovered until several hours, if not days after they occur and often not before the vessel docks at the next port.
Not only is this a human tragedy but there is also a financial cost. It is estimated that for a typical search in US waters, the US Coast Guard will incur costs in excess of $9M in searches over vast areas of sea with limited chances of success.
According to US Coast Guard data, 75% of incidents happen at night. Knowing exactly when and where an incident occurs vastly increases the chances of success in SAR operations. Therefore, the desirability of an 24 hour effective alert system has become an increasing priority for both legislators and vessel operators.