Williamson Turn, Anderson, And Scharnov Turn To Rescue Mob



Manoverboard occurs when a person falls in the water while working, is washed by big waves, or because of a simple slip at the side of the ship. Time is of great essence for the crew to respond because the victim may be injured or will most likely suffer from hypothermia due to long exposure to cold water.

Williamson, Anderson, and Scharnov’s turns allow the vessel to maneuver depending on different scenarios. This would depend if the victim just fell and the ship would need an immediate response. A different maneuver is required if the incident occurred hours earlier. Another turn is for either daytime or nighttime search or for sector search and rescue.

The vessel is turned differently depending on the situation. The officer of the watch needs to be familiar with the principles of each maneuver as the safety and recovery of the victim would depend on how quick and efficient the search and rescue operation is.

To let crewmembers react quickly and use proper maneuvers depending on the prevailing circumstances shipmasters and managing companies include Man Over Board (MOB) drills to a list of regular drills onboard merchant vessels.

The Williamson Turn

The Williamson Turn Diagram
The Williamson Turn Diagram

This maneuver is recommended for nighttime search and rescue and reduced visibility situations. It allows the vessel to return to its previous position if the victim is out of sight but within the range of 15-20 nautical miles.

As soon as the officer of the watch is informed that a person has fallen overboard, he immediately puts the steering in manual mode from autopilot as well as informs the engine room to put the engine on standby. He commands the helmsman to put the rudder hard over to the appropriate side.

As the ship’s heading reaches more than sixty degrees from the original course, the wheel is directed in the opposite direction hard over. This is done until the vessel reaches a reciprocal course and the engine is adjusted as needed. As soon as the correct course is attained, the officer on watch places a lookout for the victim. Ideally, the victim is placed on the starboard bow of the ship.

The Anderson Turn

The Anderson turn is also known as the Single turn and is the quickest maneuver to the location of the fallen victim and is recommended if the man overboard is still visible or on sight. It also brings the vessel back to its wake or trail.

This is the quickest maneuver to the casualty. The Officer of the watch places a lookout to keep the victim in sight at the same time that he releases the MOB signal located at the bridge wing. The steering is put to manual mode and the engine is on standby.

The rudder is put hard over to the side of the fallen person. The vessel deviates 250 degrees from the original course to make the Anderson turn. The OOW maintains speed during the turn while stopping the vessel when the victim is 15 degrees off the bow. OOW checks the wind and current during recovery and that casualty does not reach the propeller.

The Scharnov Turn

Scharnov’s turn is not recommended for an immediate maneuver if the victim is still in sight. This turn allows the vessel to back to its previous trial and wake. However, it cannot be carried out effectively unless the time elapsed between the incident and the commencement of the maneuver is known.

The steering is taken off autopilot and put hard over to the side of the fallen crew. As soon as the course/heading deviates about 240 degrees from the original course, the rudder is put to the opposite side. As the heading approaches 20 degrees short of the original course, the wheel is put to midships.

Speed is adjusted as the vessel approaches the man overboard while other teams prepare the rescue boat to be launched. The officer on the watch considers wind and current in the recovery of the victim.

Safety Precautions During MOB Maneuvers

While executing Williamson, Anderson, or Scharnov turns, the safety of the crew and the man overboard is paramount. Here are key safety precautions to remember during these maneuvers:

  1. Communication: Regular and clear communication is crucial. The Officer on the Watch (OOW) must promptly inform the entire crew about the situation and the chosen maneuver.
  2. Steering and Speed Control: Manual steering and controlled speed are essential during these turns to ensure precise maneuvering and prevent any further accidents.
  3. Rescue Equipment: All life-saving equipment, including lifebuoys, lines, and rescue boats, should be ready for deployment. Regular inspection of these tools is necessary to ensure their functionality.
  4. Wind and Current: The OOW should constantly monitor wind direction and water current, adjusting the vessel’s course accordingly to ensure the person overboard doesn’t drift away or come under the propeller.
  5. Lookout: Keeping the person overboard in sight is critical. Multiple lookouts can assist in tracking the person’s position and improving the success rate of the operation.

Choosing the Correct MOB Maneuver

The decision to use one turn over another depends on several factors including:

  1. Visibility: The Williamson turn is typically chosen in low visibility situations such as during the night or in foggy conditions.
  2. Urgency: The Anderson turn is employed when a quick return to the man overboard is needed, often when the person is still in sight.
  3. Wind and Current: The Scharnov turn is chosen when accurate positioning considering external factors like wind and current is critical.
  4. Time: The time elapsed since the person fell overboard also influences the choice of turn.

Ultimately, the OOW’s decision is based on their professional judgment, taking into account all these factors.

Training for MOB Maneuvers

Training for these MOB maneuvers is integral to the crew’s ability to respond efficiently during emergencies. Here are some elements involved in the training process:

  1. Regular Drills: Regular onboard drills are crucial for crew members to understand and practice the maneuvers in a controlled environment.
  2. Simulator Training: Modern training often includes simulator sessions, replicating various sea conditions and scenarios to give the crew practical experience.
  3. Safety Briefings: Regular safety briefings help crew members stay aware of the procedures and safety measures related to each turn.
  4. Instructional Videos and Manuals: These resources provide step-by-step guidance on executing the turns, allowing crew members to study the procedures in detail.
  5. Debrief and Review: After each drill or real-life operation, a debriefing session helps identify any issues and areas for improvement.
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FAQs about Williamson, Anderson, And Scharnov Turns

What is the Williamson Turn and how is it used in rescue mob operations?

The Williamson Turn is a maneuver used by ships to return to a point it passed over. In rescue mob operations, it’s often used to go back to the location of a man overboard or any other emergency scenario.

How does the Anderson Turn contribute to the success of a Rescue Mob?

The Anderson Turn is a quick maneuver used to rapidly return to a specific point on the sea. Its efficiency and speed make it crucial for rescue mob operations, especially when time is of the essence.

Can you explain Scharnov Turn’s role in rescue operations?

The Scharnov Turn is a maneuver that uses a combination of a hard rudder, speed change, and course change. This allows a vessel to return to a specific point while compensating for wind and current, which can be pivotal in successful rescue operations.

What are the key differences between the Williamson Turn, Anderson, and Scharnov Turn in rescue scenarios?

The key differences lie in their execution and use case. Williamson Turn is employed for man-overboard situations, particularly in low-visibility conditions. Anderson Turn is utilized when quick return is needed, while Scharnov Turn is effective when precise positioning, considering external factors like wind and current, is vital.

Are there any particular situations where one turn method is preferred over the others in rescue mob operations?

Yes, the type of turn used is often determined by urgency, visibility conditions, and environmental factors. For instance, the Williamson Turn is generally preferred in low visibility, while the Anderson Turn is chosen when a rapid response is required.

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