There is never enough written about good seamanship and safety at sea. Sometimes, with all the great hi-tech MOB devices around these days, it's easy to forget the tried and true. A great Dan Buoy caught my eye during a boat show recently, a compact, fast-activating, inflatable, and reusable man overboard marker buoy.
Having had a bowman go overboard during a recent Race Week, remembering having been first on the scene to search for two Star sailors separated from their boats during another event, and having interviewed young and very capable tall ship crew after they were almost washed overboard during an 'all hands on deck' knockdown squall, I view the old-fashioned Dan Buoy as modern-day safety equipment that recreational and commercial vessels of all types and sizes should carry if they are not already.
The SOS Dan Buoy, for instance, the one I saw at the boat show, is so easy to use, fast to deploy, and a most effective man overboard device. It deploys within seconds of hitting the water, is highly visible, and has similar drift characteristics as the crew overboard. The Dan Buoy will reduce the delay, panic, mistakes, and mishaps associated with MOB’s. It should be the first thing the crew reaches for in a MOB situation.
When it rains, it pours. No doubt the sea state and wind conditions that sent Clipper Round the World crew member Andrew Taylor overboard also made it difficult for the crew to strike sails, turn around, and search for him in an area growing exponentially with every second of delay. It’s a miracle he survived for 1-hour and 40-minutes in the North Pacific.
Man overboard hugging Just Marine's inflated Dan Buoy marker - From Just Marine, the distributor From Just Marine, the distributor Click Here to view large photo
Maintaining visual contact with the man overboard is far better than tracking delayed AIS and EPIRB signals. It’s much more effective to have crew looking for an inflated 7-foot high green/yellow pole and 8-foot long streaming ribbon complete with reflective strips and SOLAS light, and listening for a whistle, than having their heads in the boat trying to figure out how to transmit emergency information over the radio.
A very important feature of the SOS Dan Buoy in particular is its extra large drogue. It does not skip across the top of waves with the wind. It holds its place making it easier for a man overboard to swim to it, grab the arm holds and gain the advantage of the approximately 20 lbs. of buoyancy in the device.
With safety inspections for iconic events and the growing popularity of doublehanded sailing, skippers and crews, if you haven't already, should consider mounting a Dan Buoy in their cockpits and incorporating it into their man overboard drills and procedures.
Don't forget that navies and coast guards around the world, power and cruising sailors, even yachts in Sydney Hobart Yacht Race use a Dan Buoy, many of them the SOS Dan Buoy.
For more information visit the SOS Dan Buoy's website
The video will tell it all: