Person overboard drill 3.

When a person is recovered from the water they loose the effect of hydrostatic squeeze. This is the pressure of the water on their limbs.

If they are in a severely hypothermic state, the hydrostatic squeeze is helping to maintain their body core temperature, as soon as they are removed from the water and the pressure is lost, warm blood can flow out the limbs, cool blood will flow in to replace it and heart failure can result.

This effect is exaggerated if the casualty is lifted vertically, as gravity also pulls blood towards their feet.

For this reason, it is best to lift someone horizontally if possible.

One quick means of setting this up when lifting a casualty with a halyard, is to use a spare safety harness line.

If you clip one end of the harness line to the lifting rope by their chest, then pass the harness line around the back of their legs and clip the other end on the lifting rope beside the first one you will lift the casualty horizontally. They are also very unlikely to slip out of the ropes even is completely unconscious.

This technique requires practice and the assistance of a person who is confident to operate in the water alongside the casualty.

Having practised being lifted many times, this approach is also much more comfortable and less likely to crack their ribs!

 

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