In 1969 IMO considered search and rescue matters, and as a first step prepared the Merchant Ship Search and Rescue Manual (MERSAR). This manual was adopted by the seventh IMO Assembly in 1971. The purpose of this Manual is to provide guidance to those who, during emergencies at sea, may require assistance or may be able to render assistance. In particular, it was designed to help the master of any ship who might be called upon to participate in search and rescue operations.
The terms listed below are taken from the International Convention on Maritime Search and Rescue, 1979, and have the following meanings:
.1 search and rescue region. An area of defined dimensions within which search and rescue services are provided.
.2 rescue co-ordination centre. A unit responsible for promoting efficient organization of search and rescue services and for coordinating the conduct of search and rescue operations within a search and rescue region.
.3 rescue sub-centre. A unit subordinate to a rescue co-ordination centre established to complement the latter within a specified area within a search and rescue region.
.4 rescue unit. A unit composed of trained personnel and provided with equipment suitable for the expeditious conduct of search and rescue operations.
.5 on-scene commander. The commander of a rescue unit designated to co-ordinate search and rescue operations within a specified search area.
.6 coordinator surface search. A vessel, other than a rescue unit, designated to co-ordinate surface search and rescue operations within a specified search area.
Chapter I Co-ordination of search and rescue operations
1.1 Requirements for co-ordination
1.1.1 The effective conduct of search and rescue operations essentially requires co-ordination between the organizations and units concerned which can comprise aircraft, ships and shore-based life-saving facilities. The method by which this co-ordination is achieved varies, depending on the detailed organization in each area. The following general description illustrates the main considerations and emphasizes the particular role of merchant ships.
1.2 Co-ordination by land-based authorities
1.2.1 Certain governments vest responsibility in designated land-based
authorities to exercise general co-ordination and to supervise, as appropriate, the conduct of search and rescue operations. This task is usually carried out by units established for coordinating search and rescue in designated areas. The units are usually -referred to as rescue co-ordination centres (RCC) or rescue sub-centres (RSC) and the areas as search and rescue regions (SRR).
1.2.2 In some regions these authorities have specialized ships and aircraft (SAR units) available to participate in these tasks. Other aircraft and ships, military and naval or otherwise, which have a SAR capability are also employed as available. When incidents occur in remote regions, SAR aircraft may not always be able to participate.
1.2.3 In the majority of regions, merchant ships will normally be able to participate although the degree will depend on shipping density. In this context the role of coast radio stations (CRS) is of special importance because they are in close contact with land-based SAR authorities.
1.3 On-scene co-ordination
1.3.1 In all circumstances merchant ships are liable to be involved in search and rescue operations either in conjunction with specialized SAR units or independently. In the former case merchant ships may receive information additional to that obtainable from distress traffic or specific requests from land-based SAR authorities. However, and in view of the general practice of co-operation by merchant ships, it must be emphasized that no order or advice received from these authorities can set aside the obligation or the rights of any master as set out in regulation V/10 of SOLAS 1974.
1.3.2 On-scene co-ordination between the units concerned will be required and the role of merchant ships in this context will be governed by the following considerations:
.1 If specialized SAR ships (including warships) are not available to assume the duties of on-scene commander (OSC) but a number of merchant ships are participating in the operation, it will be necessary that one of these assume the duty of coordinator surface search (CSS). Detailed guidance concerning the selection of the CSS and its task is contained in paragraph 3.6.
.2 If specialized SAR ships (including warships) and/or SAR aircraft are on-scene simultaneously with merchant ships, it can normally be expected that one specialized unit will assume the duties of on-scene commander (OSC). Merchant ships can then expect to receive specific instructions from the OSC (normally via the specialized ships if the OSC is airborne). The OSC is the commander of that specialized unit which is in charge of on-scene SAR operations.
.3 It is important that the CSS and any SAR aircraft present should co-ordinate their operations. Direct communication between units on 2,182 kHz or, if available, 156.8 MHz (VHF channel 16) would be most desirable. However, although many ships and SAR aircraft have one or both of these facilities, this does not apply universally. In the latter case intercommunication and co-ordination can be effected via the CRS and land-based SAR authority.
.4 Owing to the potential hazard of collision and the noise problem associated with helicopters operating in a confined space during rescue operations, it is essential that their operations be coordinated by the unit in best communication with them. This may be the RCC, the OSC, the CSS, one of the helicopters or a fixed-wing aircraft. This unit should provide operating areas and altitudes for the helicopters and be responsive to the requirements of helicopters as well as the requirements of surface rescue units whose operations may be hampered by helicopter noise and rotor wash.
1.4 Designation of OSC and his responsibilities
1.4.1 When rescue units are about to engage in SAR operations, one of should be designated OSC as early as practicable and preferably ore arrival within the specified search area.
1.4.2 The appropriate RCC or RSC should designate an OSC. If this is practicable, units involved should designate by mutual agreement an OSC.
1.4.3 Until such time as an OSC has been designated, the first rescue unit ing at the scene of action should automatically assume the duties and onsibilities of an OSC.
1.4.4 The OSC shall be responsible for the following tasks when these e not been performed by the responsible RCC or RSC, as appropriate:
.1 determining the probable position of the object of search, the probable margin of error in this position, and the search area;
.2 making arrangements for the separation for safety purposes of units engaged in the search;
.3 designated appropriate search patterns for the units participating in the search and assigning search areas to unit or groups of units;
.4 designated appropriate units to effect rescue when the object of the search is located;
.5 coordinating on-scene search and rescue communications.
1.4.5 An OSC shall also be responsible for:
.1 carrying out the plan for the conduct of the operation as directed by the RCC or RSC which is coordinating the search and rescue operation;
.2 modifying the plan for the conduct of the operation as facilities and on-scene conditions dictate and informing the RCC or RSC of any such modification;
.3 making periodic reports to the RCC or RSC which is coordinating the search and rescue operations. These reports should include but not be limited to, weather and sea conditions, the results of search to date, any actions taken, and any future plans or recommendations;
.4 maintaining a detailed record of the operation, including onscene arrival and departure times of SAR units and other vessels and aircraft engaged in the operation, areas searched, track spacing used, sightings and leads reported, actions taken and results obtained;
.5 advising the RCC or RSC to release units when they are no longer required;
.6 reporting the number and names of survivors to the RCC or RSC which is coordinating search and rescue operations, providing the centre with the names and designations of units with survivors aboard, reporting which survivors are in each unit and requesting additional assistance from the centre when necessary, for example, medical evacuation of seriously injured survivors.
1.5 Designation of CSS and his responsibilities
1.5.1 If rescue units (including warships) are not available to assume the duties of an OSC but a number of merchant ships or other vessels are participating in the search and rescue operation, one of them should be designated by the coordinating RCC as the CSS. If this is not practicable, units involved should designate a CSS by mutual agreement and keep the RCC informed.
1.5.2 The CSS should be designated as early as practicable and preferably before arrival within the specified search areas.
1.5.3 The CSS should be responsible for as many of the tasks listed in paragraph 1.4 as the vessel is capable of performing (see also paragraph 3.6).
1.6 RCC/RSC communications with OSC/CSS
1.6.1 In addition to communications set out in chapter 7, an RCC or RSC may pass information to an OSC or CSS using the SITREP format given at annex 1.
Chapter 2 Action by a ship in distress
2.1 Transmission of the distress message
2.1.1 A ship in distress should transmit the distress call and message on any one or more of the following international maritime distress frequencies as may be available:
.1 500 kHz (radiotelegraphy);
.2 2,182 kHz (radiotelephony); and
.3 156.8 MHz (VHF channel 16) (radiotelephony).
2.1.2 It is further urgently recommended that any distress transmissions on the frequency 500 kHz or 2,182 kHz be preceded by the appropriate alarm signal.
2.1.3 It is also recommended, in remote ocean areas, to transmit the distress call and message in addition on a ship/shore H/F circuit to a CRS (see paragraph 7.1.2). This should be done in all cases where distress calls on 500 kHz, 2,182 kHz or 156.8 MHz (VHF channel 16) are not replied to by other stations.
2.1.4 Should there be any doubt concerning the reception of the distress message, it should also be transmitted on any frequency available on which attention might be attracted, such as an inter-ship frequency which may be in use in local areas. Before changing frequency, however, adequate time should be allowed for reply.
2.1.5 In the event of failure of the ship's radio station, it may be possible to transmit a message using the portable equipment, provided for use in survival craft, connected to the ship's main aerial system.
2.1.6 The use of an emergency position-indicating radio beacon (EPIRB) may be a further means of alerting ships in the vicinity.
2.2 Components of the distress message
2.2.1 Important components of the distress message include:
.1 identification of the ship;
.3 nature of the distress and kind of assistance required;
.4 any other information which might facilitate the rescue (e.g. course and speed if under way; the master's intention, including the number of persons, if any, leaving the ship; type of cargo, if dangerous).
2.2.2 It will also be important to furnish relevant information such as:
.1 weather in immediate vicinity, direction and force of wind, sea and swell, visibility, presence of navigational dangers (e.g. icebergs);
.2 time of abandoning ship;
.3 number of crew remaining on board;
.4 number of seriously injured;
.5 number and type of survival craft launched;
.6 emergency location aids in survival craft or in the sea;
.7 (for casualties under way, particularly where these retain the use or partial use of engines and steering) course and speed, and any alterations thereto.
2.2.3 When requesting medical assistance for an ill or injured person, additional relative information, as indicated below, should be furnished. Other information may also be necessary in certain cases. Codes from chapter 3 of the International Code of Signals may be used if necessary to help overcome language barriers. If medical evacuations are being considered, the benefits of such an evacuation must be weighed against the inherent dangers of such operations to both the person needing
assistance and to rescue personnel;
.1 patient's name, age, gender, nationality and language;
.2 patient's respiration, pulse rate, temperature and blood pressure;
.3 location of pain;
.4 nature of illness or injury, including apparent cause and related history;
.6 type, time, form and amounts of all medications given;
.7 time of last food consumption;
.8 ability of patient to eat, drink, walk or be moved;
.9 whether the vessel has a medical chest, and whether a physician or other medically trained person is aboard;
.10 whether a suitable clear area is available for helicopter hoist operations or landing;
.11 name, address and phone number of vessel's agent;
.12 last port of call, next port of call, and ETA of next port of call; and
.13 additional pertinent remarks.
2.2.4 It will normally be impracticable to include all information in the initial distress message. The timing of subsequent transmissions will be governed by circumstances. In general, if time allows, a series of short messages will be preferable to one or two long ones.
2.3 Direction-finding and homing
2.3.1 Subsequent to the transmission of the distress message on 500 kHz,
two dashes of 10 to 15 seconds duration shall be transmitted, each followed by the ship's call sign, to enable coast direction-finding stations and ships to take a D/F bearing. This transmission should be repeated at regular intervals.
2.3.2 In cases where 2,182 kHz is used similar action should be taken, using a continued repetition of the call sign or name of ship or a long numerical count in place of the two dashes mentioned in paragraph 2.3.1 above.
2.4 Cancellation of distress messages
2.4.1 Distress messages should always be cancelled as soon as saving of life is no longer required or search is terminated.
2.5.1 It is important that all means for indicating the position of ships in distress or survival craft should be properly used. Radio transmissions should be made as soon as possible but other means, e.g. rockets and hand flares, should be conserved until it is known that they may attract the attention of aircraft or ships in the vicinity. The attention of masters is directed to the great advantage of prior training, so that as many of the ship's crew as possible are familiar with the proper use of all the appliances provided for their safety.
Chapter 3 Action by assistillg ships
3.1 Distress call and message
3.1.1 Ships may receive:
.1 the alarm signal and/or d istress call and message from a ship, directly or by relay;
.2 the distress call and message from an air craft, usually by relay from a CRS;
.3 signals emitted by EPIRB, considered to be distress signals;
.4 visual or sound signals from ships or aircraft in distress.
3.2 Immediate action
3.2.1 The following immediate action should be taken by each ship on receipt of a distress message;
.1 acknowledge receipt and, if appropriate, retransmit the distress message;
.2 try to take immediately D/F bearings during the transmission of the distress message and maintain a D/F watch on 500 kHz and/or 2,182 kHz;
.3 communicate the following information to the ship in distress:
(iii) speed and expected time of arrival (ETA);
(iv) when available, true bearing of the ship in distress;
.4 maintain a continuous listening watch on the following international distress frequencies:
(i) 500 kHz (radiotelegraphy);
(ii) 2,182 kHz (radiotelephony); and
(iii) 156.8 MHz (VHF channel 16) (radiotelephony);
.5 operate radar continuously;
.6 if in the vicinity of the distress, post extra lookouts.
3.2.2 The ship or coast station in control of distress traffic should establish contact with the responsible area RCC through a CRS and pass on all available information, up-dating as necessary.
3.2.3 Ships which are able to communicate on the distress frequencies 500 kHz, 2,182 kHz and 156.8 MHz (VHF channel 16) shall, if appropriate, repeat the distress message on these frequencies.
3.3 Proceeding to the area of distress
3.3.1 Ships proceeding to the area of the distress should plot the position, course, speed and ETA of other assisting ships.
3.3.2 The communication equipment with which ships are fitted may be obtained from the International Telecommunication Union's "List of Ship Stations".
3.3.3 Ships should attempt to construct an accurate "picture" of the circumstances attending the casualty. The important information needed, which should be included in the distress message, is listed in paragraph 2.2. Shoulcl the ship in distress fail to transmit this information, a ship proceeding to assist should request what information is needed.
3.4 On-board preparation
3.4.1 While proceeding, it will be important to make adequate preparations. Certain of the measures that might be considered are:
.1 a rope (guest warp) running from bow to quarter at the waterline on each side and secured by lizards to the ship's side to assist boats and rafts to secure alongside;
.2 a derrick rigged ready for hoisting on each side of the ship with a platform cargo sling, or rope net, secured to the runner to assist the speedy recovery of exhausted or injured survivors in the water;
.3 heaving lines, ladders and scramble net placed ready for use along both sides of the ship on the lowest open deck and possibly crew members suitably equipped to enter the water and assist survivors;
.4 a ship's liferaft made ready for possible use as a boarding station. Inflatable liferafts should not be activated unless required;
.5 preparations to receive survivors who require medical assistance including the provision of stretchers;
.6 when own lifeboat is to be launched, any means to provide communications between it and the parent ship will prove to be of very great help;
.7 a line-throwing appliance with a light line and a heavy rope, ready to be used for making connection either with the ship in distress or with survival craft.
3.5 Aircraft casualties
3.5.1 If the casualty is an aircraft, supplementary information is contained in chapter 8.
3.6 Establishment of the CSS
3.6.1 The duties of the CSS are to organize and co-ordinate search and rescue operations by merchant ships. This is liable to be a complex task and this consideration has a bearing on the selection of the CSS (see paragraph 13).
3.6.2 It is most desirable that the CSS should be established as early as practicable and preferably before arrival "on-scene".
3.6.3 The CSS must be established by mutual agreement between the ship concerned and the coordinating RCC, having due regard to the ship's capabilities and ETA. However, the unit which arrives first should take such immediate action as may be required.
3.6.4 It is important that the CSS should have good radiocommunication facilities.
3.6.5 In case of language difficulties the International Code of Signals and Standard Marine Navigational Vocabulary should be used (see also paragraph 5.16).
3.6.6 On assuming the duty, the CSS should immediately inform a CRS. It should also keep it informed of developments at regular intervals.
3.6.7 The CSS should keep the RCC/RSC coordinating search and rescue operations informed at regular intervals and whenever the situation has changed.
3.7 Visual identification of the CSS
3.7.1 The CSS should display continuously the following visual signals:
.1 BY DAY - International Code Group "FR",
.2 BY NIGHT - A distinctive signal which the CSS will promulgate.
3.8 Control of inter-ship radiocommunications
3.8.1 It will be necessary for the CSS to control the available inter-ship communication channels. The strictest radio discipline and procedure should be exercised.
3.9 Approaching the scene
3.9.1 When approaching the scene, ships should make full use of any radio direction-finding facilities to "home" and similarly to locate any transmissions from EPIRB. Characteristics of an EPIRB are contained in chapter 7.
3.9.2 The radar should be operated and effective lookouts maintained (see chapter 5, figure 5-5 for typical radar detection ranges).
3.9.3 At night, searchlights should be used or some form of surface illumination should be contrived.
3.9.4 The CSS should be kept informed of any contacts made by D/F, radar or visual sightings. If the CSS has not been established, this
information should be transmitted to all stations on the distress frequency or frequencies.
3.9.5 Ships should take measures to make themselves highly visible to survivors, such as making smoke during the daytime and keeping the ship well lit at night. However, caution should be taken as it is vitally important not to impair the vision of lookouts by the excessive use of lights.
3.9.6 When searching for survivors, who might possibly be in canopied liferafts, ships should sound whistle signals while searching to attract the attention of the survivors so that they can use visual signalling devices.
3.9.7 Extra lookouts should be posted so as to search a 360' arc around the ship for the duration of the search. This will provide for sighting signals set off by survivors even after the ship has passed them.
3.9.8 The ship's crew should be prohibited from dumping debris over the side for the duration of the search to prevent the debris from causing false sightings.
3.10 Arrival on-scene - Search procedures
3.10.1 If the casualty has not been located, a search should be initiated without delay using an appropriate search pattern (see chapter 5).
3.10.2 To co-ordinate the search effectively, the CSS should maintain a general plot of the area under search and assisting ships should do the same. In search planning, the CSS should make full use of all electronic navigational devices.
Chapter 4 Assistance by SAR aircraft
4.1.1 Ships in distress or survivors at sea may be supplied by SAR aircraft with special items of droppable equipment, which may come in containers or packages of different types and dimensions.
The contents of each container or package should be clearly indicated in print in at least three languages, by self-explanatory symbols, and also by streamers coloured according to the following code:
Red - medical supplies and first-aid equipment;
Blue - food and water;
Yellow - blankets and protective clothing;
Black - miscellaneous equipment such as stoves, axes, compasses, cooking utensils, etc.;
Combination of colours - mixed contents.
Miscellaneous equipment may include, in particular:
.1 individual liferafts or several liferafts linked by a buoyant rope;
.2 buoyant radio beacons and/or transceivers;
.3 dye and smoke markers and flame floats;
.4 parachute flares for illumination;
.5 salvage pumps.
4.2 Assistance by helicopters
4.2.1 A helicopter may be used to supply equipment and/or rescue or evacuate persons.
4.2.2 The radius of helicopter action usually varies between 50 and 200 nautical miles from base and lifting capacity between one and more than 15 persons depending on the size and type of aircraft.
4.2.3 Certain rescue.;operations will involve risks for the helicopter crew. Therefore it is essential in each case to evaluate the seriousness of the situation and to ascertain the need for helicopter assistance.
4.2.4 In supplying equipment a helicopter normally comes to a hover over a cleared space and lowers the equipment by means of its winch cable. Personnel on deck need only unhook the cable.
4.2.5 During rescue operations a helicopter normally uses a special device for hoisting or lowering persons. Large helicopters frequently lower a member of their own crew aboard the ship for assisting in the disembarkation procedure and in the use of the equipment. For the evacuation of persons, the end of the hoisting cable may be provided with one of the following means:
.1 a rescue sling;
.2 a rescue basket;
.3 a rescue net;
.4 a rescue litter;
.5 a rescue seat.
126.96.36.199 The most widely used means for evacuating persons is the rescue sling. The rescue sling is suited for the purpose of quickly picking up persons, but it is unsuitable for patients. Rescue slings are known by several names and come in slightly different shapes and configurations (see figure 4-1). Sliiigs may be made of webbed, belted material similar to that used in parachute harnesses. The sling is put on in much the same way as one puts on a coat, ensuring that the loop of the sling is passed behind the back and under both armpits. The person using the sling must face the hook. Hands should be clasped in front as shown. One must not sit in the sling, nor should the sling be unhooked.
188.8.131.52 Some SAR helicopter units use the double lift method which consists of a normal rescue sling, and a seating belt manned by a helicopter crew member. This method is suitable for pick-up from the water or the deck of incapacitated persons, not wounded badly enough so that a litter has to be used. The helicopter crew member puts the person into the sling and conducts the hoist operation.
184.108.40.206 The use of the rescue basket does not require any special measures. The person to use the basket merely climbs in, remains seated and holds on.
220.127.116.11 The rescue net has a conical "bird cage" appearance and is open on one side. The person to use the net merely enters the opening, sits in the net and holds on.
18.104.22.168 Patients will in most cases be disembarked by means of a rescue litter. Notwithstanding a ship's litter may be available in most cases, the evacuation of patients should normally be done in a special litter provided by the helicopter . To this litter bridles are fitted, and it can quickly and safety be hooked on and off, for for which purpose a suitable hook is attached to the hoisting cable. Even if the transfer of the patient from the ship's own stretcher to the litter provided by the helicopter is painful, it should be preferd to a risky evacuation in a litter which is not suited for the purpoes.
22.214.171.124 The rescue seat looks like a three-pronged anchor with flat flukes or seats. The person to be hoisted merely sits astride one or two of the the seats and wraps his arms around the shank. This device can be used to hoist two persons at once..
4.2.6 A direct radio link should be established between ship and helicopter. However, an exchange of information and instructions about rendezvous positions, etc. may be established through shore-based radio staions . When the helicopter is equipped with a suitable direction-finder, there is also the possibility of identifying a ship and of homing on it by making use of the ship’s radio transmission on an agreed frequency. A list of available frequencies for communication with assisting aircraft is contained in paragraph 7.3.
4.2.7 Means of communication between ship and helicopter are further indicated in the International Code of Signals - General section, I DISTRESS - EMERGENCY under "Aircraft - helicopter".
4.2.8 The position of the ship, as well as the course and speed to the rendezvous position, should be given in the fullest possible detail, and further, the local weather situation and particulars about how to identify the ship from the air. Also, information should be submitted of the identification means to be used, such as flags, orange smoke signals, spotlights, daylight signalling lamps or heliograph.
4.2.9 As large a clear stretch of deck as possible should be made available as a pick-up area . The area of deck which is clear of obstructions should be marked with a yellow painted circular shape about 5 m in diameter which is appropriate to the clear area available. During the night, winching area floodlighting should be provided and the floodlights should be located so as to avoid glare to pilots in flight or to personnel working on the area. The arrangement and aiming of floodlights should be such that shadows are kept to a minimum. The spectral distribution of the floodlights should be such that the surface and obstacle markings can be correctly identified. obstacles should be clearly identified by obstacle lights. Where winching area floodlighting and obstacle lighting cannot be provided, the ship should in consultation with the pilot, be illuminated as brightly as possible particularly the pick-up area and any obstructions, e.g. masts, funnels, etc. Care should be taken that such illumination will not blind the helicopter pilot.
4.2.10 In addition to the removal of obstacles one should bear in mind the strong air-current caused by the helicopter. Clothing or other objects lying about should be cleared away or secured.
4.2.11 Under certain circumstances the helicopter pilot may prefer a deck space other than the one prepared for disembarkation. If the decks of the ship do not offer a suitable place, the helicopter may be able to lift a person from a lifeboat or a liferaft, secured on a long painter. Cases have occurred of liferafts being overturned by the down draught from the helicopter. It is therefore advisable for all persons in a raft to remain in the centre of the raft until they are about to be lifted.
4.2.12 Portable fire-fighting equipment for oil fires should be stationed near the disembarkation space. Also, if possible, the fire-fighting pump should be started and hoses should be connected and kept in readiness.
4.2.13 For better identification from the air, and also for showing the direction of the wind to the helicopter pilot, flags and pennants should be flown.
4.2.14 All crew members concerned, as well as the person to be evacuated, should wear lifejackets. This precaution may be abandoned only when it would cause unjustifiable deterioration of the condition of the patient to be transferred.
4.2.15 Care should be taken that the patient does not wear loose clothing or headgear.
4.2.16 On no account should the lifting device on the end of the winch cable be secured to any part of the ship or become entangled in the rigging or fixtures. Ship's personnel should not attempt to grasp the lifting device unless requested to do so by the helicopter. Even in this case, a metal part of the lifting device should first be allowed to touch the deck in order to avoid possible shock due to static electricity.
4.2.17 When helicopter hoisting is to be done from carriers of flammable/explosive cargo or in the vicinity of a flammable mixture spillage, the hoisting must be grounded clear of spillage or the carrier's tank venting area in order to preclude a possible fire or explosion from an electrostatic discharge.
4.2.18 The helicopter pilot will want to approach the ship in such a way that the helicopter will hover into the relative wind and with the pilot's side (starboard) closest to the ship during the approach. If the hemliaciontpatienr is to approach in the usual manner, from the stern, the ship should a constant speed through the water and keep the wind 300 on the port bow. Where the hoisting area is not at the stern, the ship should keep the wind 30o on the port bow or on either beam if the area is amidships, or 300 on the starboard quarter if the area is forward. A flow of air, as free of turbulence as possible, clear of smoke and other visibility restrictions, over the hoisting area is very important to permit a smooth and safe pickup or delivery. These procedures may be modified on instructions from the pilot if communications exist.
4.2.19 Generally, personal belongings should not be taken along. Loose gear can become entangled in the hoist cable or, worse yet, become sucked up into the helicopter rotors with disastrous effects.
4.2.20 The following hoisting signals may be used:
DO NOT HOIST Arms extended horizontally, fingers
clenched, thumbs down.
HOIST Arms raised above the horizontal, thumbs up.
(If a survivor has to give the hoisting signal himself, he should raise only one arm to prevent slipping out of the sling.)
(Note.- If it is desired to include marshalling signals, standard signals can be selected from annex 2 of the Convention on International Civil Aviation.)
Chapter 5 Planning and conducting the search
5.1.1 In order that surface units, and especially merchant ships on-scene,
will be able to search effectively, in conjunction with SAR aircraft when available, it is essential that search patterns and procedures should be preplanned to enable merchant ships of all flags to co-operate in coordinated operations with the minimum difficulty and delay. To achieve this aim, a number of search patterns to meet varying circumstances have been established.
5.1.2 Typical man overboard manoeuvres are given in annex 2 to this manual.
5.2 Responsibility of CSS
5.2.1 As indicated in paragraph 3. 10, it is the responsibility of the CSS
to select and then to initiate in conjunction with assisting ships the most suitable search pattern.
5.2.2 It is equally the responsibility of the CSS to adjust the search pattern in view of the subsequent developments which may include:
.1 additional assisting ships arriving;
.2 additional information;
.3 weather conditions, visibility and daylight.
5.3.1 The following definitions relate to the conduct and execution of search patterns:
The most probable position of the search target at a given time, taking into account the expected effect of drift since the initial position of the incident was established.
The estimated composite resultant of wind, current and/or tidal stream which may cause a change in the position of the search target.
.3 Expanding square search pattern
A type of search pattern suitable for a single ship which should search outward in expanding squares from the datum (see pattern 1).
The movement of an object caused by its being pushed through the water by local winds blowing against the exposed surface of such object.
.5 Sea current
The current prevailing in the open sea that is caused by factors other than local winds.
.6 Sector search pattern
A type of search pattern suitable for a single ship in special circumstances (e.g. man overboard) in which the ship searches radially from datum using a system of sectors 6f a circle (see pattern la).
.7 Parallel track search patterns
Search patterns suitable for two or more ships in which all ships maintain parallel courses (see patterns 2, 3, 4 and 5).
.8 Ship/aircraft coordinated search pattern
A search pattern in which a ship and an aircraft conduct a coordinated search (see pattern 6).
.9 Wind current
The surface current prevailing in the open sea generated by winds pushing the water along.
.10 Additional terms used
An explanation of the terms track, commence search point, and track spacing is given in figure 5-1.
5.4 Planning the search
5.4.1 It will be necessary to establish a datum taking into account the following factors:
.1 reported position and time of casualty;
.2 time interval between ships proceeding to assist and the ir arrival on the scene;
.3 estimated surface movcments of the casualty and/or survival craft during the period mentioned in (b). These will depend primarily on drift. Figure 5-3 provides estimates of leeway;
.4 the likelihood of SAR aircraft arriving on-scene before assisting ships;
.5 any supplementary information such as D/F bearings or sightings.