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Unsafe personnel transfer – man overboard

What happened

After completing a standard diving activity for underwater hull cleaning on a pilot boat, the diver used the quayside fender to embark from the jetty to the pilot boat.  In so doing, his right foot slipped, resulting in an uncontrolled movement.  The Diving Supervisor, assisting his safe embarkation onboard the forward deck, also lost his balance, resulting in both of them jumping into the water away from the fender and vessel. Their lifejackets inflated immediately, and both swam towards the quay ladder, located a few meters away. No injuries were sustained.

Quayside fender used to board the pilot boat
How not to do it: demonstration of unsafe embarkation

What were the causes?

  • There was no suitable means of access/egress to or from the pilot boat;
  • Complacency – “task seen as routine”;
  • They ought have stopped the job but they didn’t: Stop Work authority was not exercised.


  • Find a safe means of access/egress arrangements at temporary locations;
  • Re-emphasise importance of Stop work authority as an obligation and responsibility.

Members may wish to review:

Safety Event

Published: 15 October 2021
Download: IMCA SF 28/21

Relevant life-saving rules:
IMCA Safety Flashes
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