Search billions of records on

NZ Bound   Index   Search   Hints    Lists   Ports

Overboard - "Lost at Sea"

Incidents such as these don't often end happily!

The biggest problems are speed, distance and time. 

In the age of sail persons falling or being washed overboard was common and chances of safe recovery were slim. Crew men were lost when working on decks washed over by heavy seas or when handling sail aloft in which case they might be killed outright. Occasionally the Master as well as passengers and animals where lost overboard.  Steamships were safer with decks higher above sea level. Recover would depend on the state of the weather and the alertness and skill of the watch on deck. Bad weather would preclude launching a small boat.  At the cry of 'Man Overboard!', one or more buoys were dropped one with, the other without a line. If the man in the water got hold of the second, he could be pulled inboard, fairly readily.  The first thing to be done was to heave the ship to so a boat could be launched and take a compass bearing at the time of the accident. It was the task of the lifebuoy lookout, to keep the man in the water, or at least the lifebuoy, in sight.  Two men would be subsequently detailed to ascend the mizzen rigging for the same purpose.  The lifebuoy lookout and the men chosen to go aloft in the mizzen rigging would have been detailed when the watch came on deck and was mustered.  The boat being cleared away and the crew wearing cork vests, the coxswain was given directions by the officer of the deck as to the direction in which to pull.  By means of flag signals, one meaning 'Steer to your starboard!', one meaning 'Steer to your port!', and a third meaning 'So you go well!', the coxswain of the boat was directed in the desired direction.  Preparations were immediately made for rehoisting the boat on its return and the surgeon would have to be called, so he could resuscitate the victim of the accident, when brought on boardThe boat lantern was brought aft each night, and kept by the binnacle, or some other place known to the boat's crew.  At night, in addition to the lifebuoy flares, a lantern was run up to the peak of the gaff, to indicate the ship's position to the boat, which itself carried a lantern, and a box of flares. 

Whalers were adept at lowering boats quickly and unless on passage, the ships were cruising in a search pattern, slowly so there are accounts of men, children, and pets being rescued after falling overboard from whaling vessels, even those who had fallen from aloft. There are accounts men jumping in to "help" shipmates before realizing they cannot swim.

They were hardy were those old whalers!

Otago Witness 22 December 1898 page 20 col. b
Once Tommy Chasland, who was harpooning, a whale, off Otago, saw impending danger and jumped overboard before the whale struck the boat with its flukes and cut it in two. Three of the men were never seen again, but old Sam Perkins and another clung along with Chasland to the over-turned stern half of the boat. As a thick fog had closed around them, and fearing they would not be rescued by the other boats, Chasland volunteered to swim ashore and get help. Some time after a boat picked the two men, who were almost unconscious by this time from cold, it being the month of July. Tommy had swarm six miles to get help, he was witnessed coming ashore naked.

Man Overboard!

Otago Witness 22 December 1898 page 20 col b
The Shaw, Savill, and Albion Company's fine ship Canterbury, from London, arrived last Sunday. The Canterbury is consigned to Messrs Dalgety and Co. (Limited), and brings some 2000 tons of cargo, of which 890 tons are dead weight and the remainder measurement. She had made a fair passage of 99 days from anchor to anchor. On October 19 an accident occurred which might have resulted in loss of life, but for the admirable discipline maintained by Captain Collingwood. It appears one of the apprentices, Ralph Dodsworth, fell from aloft overboard, the ship at the time going 10 knots an hour. Captain Collingwood immediately hove the ship aback, and lowered away the starboard boat, manned by the second officer and five seaman. They succeeded in picking up the lad, together with two life buoys which had been thrown to his aid, and bringing him back to the ship in the short space of half an hour. An action of this sort is worthy of record and commendation.

A man overboard situation demands the display of the greatest possible coolness, seamanship, and quick thinking, if the man were to be recovered. The officer of the deck had to make two crucial decisions: firstly, whether to launch a boat at all; secondly, how best to bring the vessel to the wind, and drop the cutter. This was one of the questions he ran through in his mind upon taking over the watch, so that, in the event, the correct orders would be uttered instinctively. A well fitted ship's boat could survive in quite heavy seas, but the most dangerous moment occurred when it was dropped or being recovered. The decision whether or not to risk the lives of a whole boat crew in the hope of saving one man, depended on the weather conditions. If launching a cutter was out of the question, the ship would be got about, in the hope of somehow getting near enough to the man to heave him a line and haul him aboard.

The New Zealander  Saturday October 11th 1845
Accidents at sea. A letter has been forwarded to W. Dobson, esq., Secretary at Lloyd's, proposing the use of the following signals. In cases of men being washed overboard, it is generally happens that there is a very heavy sea running; and the boats are unable to see the position of the man; but from the ship the man many be distinctly seen, they can inform the boat's crew how to steer. If to steer steady, show a white flag; if to pull to port, a blue flag; if to starboard, a red flag. The above useful signals are being introduced into the Royal Navy, and their usefulness fully proved.

Oil Overboard

The Daily Atlas, (Boston, MA)  October 23, 1843
Wreck of the ship Hoogly of Warren, R. I.. The ship Italy brings in two passengers, Walter Brodie and James Stewart, from the ship Hoogly, from NZ, which ship they left on the 9th inst. at sea. The Hoogly had been totally dismasted in a violent hurricane on the 3rd inst. in lat. 34 40 N and lon. 66 38 W. She had five feet water in her hold and would have foundered had not the masts been cut away about an hour before the hurricane. The H. spoke the ship Nonantum of Boston, which must have been in the same hurricane. The Italy supplied the Hoogly with what spars and sails she required. Nothing was left on the Hoogly's decks except the cook house, her three boats were blown away like so many pieces of paper. After the hurricane was over, they pumped her out, and some oil having broken adrift in the hold, so completely smoothed the sea down when it was pumped out, that not one sea broke over her.

Hawkes Bay Herald Saturday 3rd January 1863
Captain of the Kent, ship arrived from Melbourne and reported very heavy weather off Cape Horn - 100 tons of copper ore and flour, and 28 tons of oil, having to be thrown overboard to save the ship. In the past it was thought you could still the waves in a storm by pouring oil into sea.

Hawera & Normanby Star, 17 July 1882, Page 4
On one occasion when off the coast of New South Wales, he encountered a hurricane so severe that he believes his schooner would undoubtly have been swamped; had he not had recourse to oil-bage, which acted almost miraculously in soothing the waves. "We made five small canvas bags, each to contain, about three pints of oil (fish oil is found to be most efficacious). To each of these he attached a cord of about a dozen fathoms in length, and threw them overboard from different points of the ship fore and aft. The leakage from the bags was sufficient to spread an oily film over the surface of the ocean, close round the ship, lasting for two days and nights, during which time not a sea broke over her.
    Only about a fortnight ago, when a vessel of 26 tons, called the "Lady Jane" was about fifteen miles from Port Nicholas Heads, the captain became so alarmed for the vessel's safety, owing to the breaking of the sea, that he determined to try the experiment of using oil. He threw a quantity of oil overboard, and that, believed, was the cause of his safe arrival in Wellington Harbor.

Grey River Argus, 19 September 1885, Page 2 A STORMY PASSAGE.
Auckland, September 18. The ship Wanganui, from London, presents a battered appearance, owing to a stormy passage off Tristan d'Acunha in a storm. They had to use oil bags, which was done with success. A fortnight after the poop ladder and other moveable things were washed away, the galley fire extinguished, sails adrift, skids carried away, and part of the bulwarks missing, whilst an apprentice named Jones was knocked down on the deck and badly hurt.

Hawera & Normanby Star, 19 September 1885, Page 2
Auckland, September 18. The ship Wanganui, from London, presents a battered appearance, owing to a stormy passage. Off Tristan D'Achuana, she had, in a storm, to use oil bags, which was done with success. ...whilst an apprentice named James was knocked down on the deck, and badly hurt.

Otago Witness 6th January 1883 pg 9
An experiment tried at Timaru in stilling the angry waves by the use of oil: "The result was convincing. The oil spread remarkably fast, and although only about half a gallon was used on each occasion about an acre of smooth expanse became visible, into which a boat might have safely have been lowered with ease and safety. In no instance was it more apparent than in one long roller which came down upon the Titan's quarter. The portion of the wave to which the oil had not extended was threatening in appearance as usual, but when it entered the region of the oil's influence its force was quite subdued, and its menacing appearance quite smoothed away."

The Timaru Harbourmaster went out on the 28th ult. in the steam tug Titan to test the efficacy if using oil in a heavy sea. He proceeded some miles out, taking a lifeboat with him. The result of the experiment exceeded the most sanguine expectations, and fully satisfied all on board.

2006. Cooks grease the sides of a cooking pan to prevent boiling over. When making fudge wipe 1" wide band of butter around the rim of a 3 quart pan to prevent boil-over.

Knocked overboard

Nelson Examiner and New Zealand Chronicle, 8 September 1849, Page 110
Courageous Conduct at Sea. An incident occurred on board the Cornwall, shortly before reaching Taranaki, which merits to be recorded. A child named M'Vicar, about five years of age, belonging to one of the emigrants on board, while standing on the forecastle, was knocked overboard by the jib-sheet. A Mr. C. Taylor, one of the passengers, who witnessed the accident, with great promptitude threw off part of his clothes and jumped into the sea to save the life of the child, which he fortunately succeeded in doing by seizing it before it finally sunk, and, by the aid of the life-buoy which had been cut adrift, he was enabled to support his charge until picked up by the boat, and both were again safely landed on the deck of the ship.

Deck Cabin with Captain Overboard

The Daily Southern Cross 29 June 1863 pg3
Wreck of the Duke of Wellington, 80 tons burthen, with loss of five lives. The ill-fated vessel, property of Mr Hale of Bellambi, was lying in Bellambi Harbour on Sunday afternoon, but as the sea broke over her and the captain considered it prudent to put to sea. He consequently slipped anchor, and with sixteen tons of ballast on board, stood off the coast with the intention of making a more secure shelter. After seeing the anchor stowed away, and everything snug on board, the captain proceeded to the deck cabin, leaving the vessel in command of the mate, and with the crew on deck amounting to four hands. He had not been there very long before a tremendously heavy sea struck the vessel carrying away the deck cabin, and at the same time capsizing her. Edward Hebner, the captain, and the cook and steward, named Basil Blanch, were washed away with the deck cabin, both succeeded in keeping hold of the remains of the cabin until picked up by the Hunter steamer on Tuesday, after being buffeted about by waves for upwards of fourteen hours. They would have been compelled to pass the night in their perilous position, had it not been for the watchfulness of the man at the wheel belonging to the Hunter. The names of the crew lost were: - Bayford, mate; John Johnson, James Todd, Edward Greville, and another whose name is uncertain. Survivors reached Wollongong and received the attention and kindness which distressed mariners are sure to obtain from an old son of the ocean, pilot Edwards. Not long ago the Duke of Wellington left Manakau for Bellambi and made a fine run up.

Second thoughts

Otago Daily Times 28 August 1863, Page 4
The ship City of Dunedin (steamer) left on the 4th instant, and on the 5th, when off Fairhead, Scotland, a frantic passenger leapt overboard. In three minutes the ship was rounded to, a boat lowered, and the passenger rescued, a feat which not only evinced able seamanship but showered that gear and tackle were all in the best condition.

The Hero

Otago Witness 27 May 1865 pg 12
The Hero, after being detained in Melbourne, took her departure on the 15th, arriving at Port Phillip Heads and anchoring, the S.N.W. gale and heavy sea and rip making it impossible to put to sea. On Tuesday, the 16th, weather slightly moderating, got under way again and steamed through in company with H.M. Falcon; S.W.W. on Saturday, the 20th, at 1 a.m., increased with furry, the sea running mountains high, and the vessel taking much water on deck; at 8 a.m. a fearful sea broke on board, washing the starboard lifeboat out of, and braking the iron davits short off, throwing it into the belly of the main-staysail, tearing it to pieces, smashing the skylight, and dragging the port life boat out of its gripes. At 8.30 a.m. a still more unfortunate sea broke on board- the second officer and the carpenter being engaged securing the skylight, both were washed over board. The helm was immediately put down, the main-topsail thrown to the mast, and three men sent aloft to see if anything could be seen of the unfortunates. Happily, the keen eye of one of the firemen detected a living being floating on a plank,, two points on the lee bow. The engines were immediately reversed, the sails kept aback, and by a masterly maneuver, the ship was brought down to the floating body of the carpenter, who was speedily rescued in a most exhausted state from the jaws of death. The carpenter reported the second mate as being alive about twenty minutes after they were carried overboard. Captain Logan, providoreship  of the Hero is this voyage under the management of Mr T. Mason, late of the City of Hobart. Mr E.A. Libatt - purser. Mr Fred. Bicknell is the mail agent in charge.

Time Trail

Otago Witness 3 March 1866 pg 16 From the Lyttelton Times
The Otago and South Australian steamers left for Wellington yesterday evening, within a few minutes of each other, about 6 o'clock. A trail of speed would be made. When the South Australian passing Officer's Point an alarm was given that 'a man was overboard. Numerous boats were put off at once from the stairs. The accident was observed by Mr Messiter, who was along side the ship Lyttelton, and with the assistance of two of the crew from the ship succeeded in rescuing the man, who it is thought would have perished. The South Australian reserved her engines as soon as the alarm was given. The people was a stern and observed the accident. They lowered a boat but Messiter secured him. The man was a crew member of the South Australian, ss., 237 tons, Captain Pain. He was taken on board the Otago, and the steamers preceded on their voyage, having been delayed for about five minutes. The Otago arrived at Wellington 25 minutes in advance of the South Australian; but it was said that on board the latter vessel the quality of the coal prevented anything like the full pressure of steam being attained.

A sailor boy fell from the maintop into the sea

Nelson Examiner and New Zealand Chronicle, 13 September 1866, Page 2
The Castlemaine Daily News, of a late date, relates the following interesting account of preservation from drowning, lately received by a resident of Castlemaine, from a passenger in the Swiftsure, on her last voyage to England : � " A sailor boy fell from the maintop into the sea, when we were going between ten and eleven knots an hour. A life-buoy was thrown to him, which he caught, and in a few minutes the ship was stopped and a boat let down, but by that time the boy was half a mile astern. Presently a squall of wind and misty rain came on, and we lost sight of the boat even from the masthead. At last the first mate saw it, and the captain noted its direction by the compass, and then ' bouted ship ' to go back to it. In the meanwhile the wind had shifted three points, so we were able to go back to exactly our former place, and fancy our surprise and joy to hear the shout of ' The boy is ahead of us, swimming straight for the ship.' A rope was thrown out to him, but he missed it, and also lost the life-buoy ; however, the sailmaker jumped into the sea after him, tied a rope round him, and both were brought safely on board. The lad was dreadfully exhausted, and very cold, having been in the sea two hours and a-half. He was well rubbed and wrapped in warm blankets, but he would not sleep until he heard that the boat was safe, which was not till about an hour after. Only imagine the astonishment of those on board when they heard that the boy was on board. The captain (Mayhew) had never heard of such an escape before. That the ship should run down to the very spot where the lad was, seemed truly providential. The boy and the sailmaker both returned thanks for their deliverance on the next Sunday."


Otago Witness 3 Nov. 1866 pg6
Charles Dunn and George William Dickson, two able seaman belonging to the ship Scoresby, 785 tons, of London, who were picked up by Captain Lemon, of the ship John Stewart, on the 7th July, in lat. 38deg. 19 min. S., and long. 38 deg. 42 min. E. They were in the long boat. The Captain had told them to abandon ship after a gale, as she was taking on water, but the captain was drunk. Only the two of them managed to get into the long boat. No water for three days. On board ship there was 21 in number, Captain Hackland was master, Mr Purdy first officer. The ship belonged to Mr Lidgett, of London. ....

Third Time

Daily Southern Cross, 11 May 1869, Page 4
While H.M.s. 'Challenger' was saluting at 8 o'clock yesterday morning, one of the, guns, when being reloaded, suddenly went on and blew a seaman named George Duck into the water. Mr. George O'Connor, acting sublieutenant, jumped overboard after him, and rescued him from drowning. The poor fellow had his right arm and the greater portion of his left hand blown off besides other injuries. This is the third time Mr. O'Connor has nobly distinguished himself in the same way on the two previous occasions the ship was at sea running at a fast rate through the water.

Bronze Medal

The Times, Monday, Apr 22, 1872
The Royal Humane Society - The case of two seaman, McGruer and McIntosh, of the ship Otago, from New Zealand, have come before the committee of this society, which has awarded them the bronze medal and vellum testimonial, in acknowledgement of their noble conduct in jumping into the sea and rescuing from drowning a passenger who had fallen overboard while the ship was under good way and in heavy weather. The officer, McGruer, had sailed on an outward voyage before these awards were decided. The presentation to the apprentice, McIntosh, was made at the last general monthly meeting of the Gaelic Society of London, at their rooms in Bedford-row.

Hauled on board!

On July 28 1873 on a passage from Gravesend to Auckland the Hydaspes while tacking, the weather main sheet threw three male passengers overboard. The ship was immediately backed and one was promptly hauled on board. Lifebuoys were thrown to the others, one of whom could swim, and he reached the buoy; the other could not swim, and his struggles were witnessed from the ship. The lifeboat was rushing to the rescue, and reached the spot as he was sinking for the third time. Mr Watson, the third officer, dived from the boat and brought him up. After a couple of hours on board the youth recovered. The passengers loudly cheered Watson and the boat's crew when the boat returned to the ship.

An Incident of the Otago's Homeward Voyage

Otago Witness 5 May 1870 page 20
North British Daily Mail
Andrew Barr, a young Glasgow sailor presently residing with his father in Oxford street here, and rapidly recovering from the effects of his accident. The lad, who was only sixteen in January last, is an apprentice with the well-known firm of Patrick Henderson and Co., St Vincent Place, and as such formed one of the crew of their fine composite ship Otago, in her last homeward voyage from New Zealand, by way of Cape Horn. When rounding the Cape they had a taste of the weather so generally experienced by the mariner in that desolate and stormy region; but a day or two afterwards, on the 17th April, being Easter Sunday, and between seven and eight o'clock in the morning, the master, Captain Stuart, gave orders to have a little more sail put on the vessel. To this end Andrew, among others, went aloft, his special business being to assist in unfurling the main royal, the topmast sail in the ship. Whilst so engaged a sudden gust of wind blew the rope out of his hand, and the loosened sail struck him on the face and knocked him over, from an elevation, of about 130 feet. In his descent the poor fellow struck on no fewer than three spars successively, each time receiving cruel damage. First he came down head foremost on the yard immediately below, the topgallantsail yard, whereby the scalp was laid open across almost from ear to ear; next he came in contact with the topsail yard, the left thigh being broken, the knee joint of the same leg put out, and the hip disabled; and lastly, the fore right leg striking the mainyard, was cut and bruised from the shin up to near the knee. Thus maimed and bleeding, be bounced from the belly of the mainsail into the sea. The accident was observed by those upon deck; In two or three seconds, he came to the surface, and held up his hand. The signal was seen by them, and the ship was put about and a boat lowered. The vessel was going right before a fine breeze at the rate of eight to ten knots an hour. The boat was manned by Mr Stevens, first mate, Mr Johnstone, third mate, and three of the crew, who each put forth their best exertions in pulling back to the rescue; but it was calculated that at the time they started they would be at least two miles away from the disabled swimmer. They pulled on, and pulled about, straining eyes across the waves in every direction. At last, after cruising about for the better part of half-an-hour, they were resting despondingly on their oars for a minute previously to putting about for the ship again, when one of the men who had himself been overboard once in these same seas suddenly called upon Mr Stevens, who was at the helm, to "look out for birds," and, if he saw any, to steer for them at once. Mr Stevens almost immediately saw a small troop of albatross wheeling over the surface of the water, about a mile to the right. At once the rowers bent to their work again, and when about half the distance had been accomplished, Mr Stevens cried out that he saw him, and urged the rowers to pull for dear life, and recover their young messmate dead or alive. The men needed little persuasion to 'put it on' to the utmost. Mr Stevens now shouted out to the lad to 'hold on" and they would save him, and the spent swimmer heard the call. They got him by the collar and hauled him into the boat. His first words were "Oh! John, don't hurt me." He swooned away, but had recovered consciousness by the time they had reached the vessel again. The others scrambled up the ladder in the usual manner, the hooks were let down, and the boat hoisted up to the davits, with Andrew. The rescued lad was at once conveyed to the after-cabin, and every arrangement that could contribute to possible recovery made, and be said that the hero of it had been snatched from the jaws of death. The divided scalp was sewn together. The broken bone was set. Less than two months after the accident land was sighted, he was in a condition to be brought on deck to see it. The Otago having arrived at London, Mr Barr, sen., was advised that it would be desirable that he should go up and bring his son home, which he did. The lad is warm in his commendations of the unremitting attention and kindness which he experienced throughout at the hands of Captain Stuart, personally, and also of Mrs Stuart, who accompanied her husband on the voyage. Undeterred by his experience of the dangers of the seas, Andrew's firm resolve is still to "follow the sea" and he is not without hopes of rejoining the Otago on her return to New Zealand next month. There us that about him which gives assurance that he is a piece of the stuff out of which the British sailor of the true stamp is made.

'A man overboard!"

Daily Southern Cross, 9 March 1875, Page 3
A saloon passenger by the R.M.S.S. 'Cyphrenes,' which arrived from San Francisco yesterday on Sunday evening last, Charles H. Delmore, was standing near the compamon door on the starboard side of the deck, with several others, chatting, suddenly he exclaimed that the ship was going to founder, and with that lerp overboard. The second officer, Mr Brown, with three of the crew, lowered the small boat hanging on the davits, astern, and, engines having been stopped, by the orders if Captain Wood, pulled towards the drowning man. Though the night was extremely dark, Mr Brown managed to rescue him. From the time the cry of 'A man overboard!" until Mr Delmore was placed on deck again only 28 minutes elapsed. Later in the evening the passenger was sufficiently recovered to be able to return his thanks to Mr Wood, for the great kindness he had shown, and for the trouble he had put him to by his insane conduct.

Taking in sail

The Daily Southern Cross, October 15 1875
The schooner Rosannah Rose, Captain Soule, arrived from Dunedin last night. The captain reports of the passage as follows: "Left Dunedin on October 1st, with a S.W. wind. In taking in a sail a man, named Jacobs, fell overboard, but was rescued from his perilous position before long in the water.

The alarm was given...

The Star 18 November 1875 pg2
The ship Duke of Edinburgh, captain Mosey, from London to Lyttelton. On Sept. 27, with fresh breeze and strong sea, ship going 8 knots, whilst at dinner, the alarm was given - "man overboard." Hove to and sent port lifeboat in charge of Mr Rowlands, second officer, who succeeded in picking the man up, none the worse for his immersion, excepting a wetting, and the boat was in the davits fifteen minutes after the alarm was given. The man was James Whealan. He kept himself afloat on his back, not seeing the life bouy, which was picked up close to him.

The quartermaster dived and caught Bowlings hair.

Evening Post, 29 January 1877, Page 2
Auckland, 27th January. Albion Company's ship Canterbury, from London, 80 days out, with 2000 tons cargo and l9 passengers. On the 18th December, George Bowling, A.B., had a fit and fell overboard from the starboard foreyard arm. The ship was going four knots. John Sawbert, quartermaster, jumped off the forecastle head and dived and caught Bowlings hair, and succeeded in putting a lifebuoy over him. Bowling was taken on board, and remained unconscious for nearly an hour.

Fishing for porpoises out on the martingale.

Evening Post 1st December 1877
The New Zealand Shipping Company's chartered vessel Crownthorpe, 812 tons, (Captain Everett) arrived from London on this morning after a passage of 110 days, bringing a large general cargo for Wellington. She sailed from Gravesend on the 13th August.  The voyage throughout has been a very pleasant one, very little rough weather being experienced. When in the tropics one of the seamen has a narrow escape from drowning. He and another were fishing for porpoises out on the martingale, when the vessel giving a sudden dive, he was washed off. The ship was immediately put about, and a boat lowered; within a very few minutes the sailor was on deck again, none the worse for his ducking. 

Heavy seas! 

The Piako left London, 25 September 1880,  for Port Chalmers and struck a terrific gale in the Bay of Biscay. An A.B. named John Heywood, fell overboard, when the ship was logging eleven knots, but in spite of the heavy sea that was running, a boat was lowered and in less than an hour was safe on board again. Arrived Port Chalmers January 4 1881. Captain W.B. Boyd.

A father to the rescue.

Grey River Argus, 9 January 1882, Page 2
 Auckland, January 7. The infant child of George Vause fell overboard from the steamer Durham, at Northern Wairoa. The father jumped overboard and rescued it.

Off the Falkland Islands!

When the Loch Fyne was on a passage Home from Lyttelton  in 1882 she was off the Falkland Islands she encountered a heavy gale. The sea carried away the second officer overboard at the fore-rigging and in the roll of the ship to leeward she "scooped" him in abaft (toward the stern) the mizzen rigging with a broken arm. A 17 apprentice, a Glasgow boy, went over board from the jib-boom when the ship dived into a head sea and was lost. 

  A Rough Passage!

John Wickliffe - During the voyage out to Port Chalmers November 1847 Ferens wrote:
On Tuesday, 14th, round the Isle of Wight. I will note that during one night's gale the 3rd mate fell overboard but fortunately seized a rope in his fall. A sailor, the name of Dick, seeing him fall was springing from the bulwarks to catch a rope to throw at him when he fell head foremost into a large tub of salt water, which, he said, "made him feel all queer."

An excellent swimmer

Colonist, 4 January 1887, Page 4 SINGULAR RESCUE AT SEA.
(From the Liverpool Post' Sept. 18.) On the 21st ult., about half past ten in the evening, while the screw steamer Kingdom was on its way from Dunkirk to Liverpool, being then off Dungeneas and Beachy Head, Mr. James Forrester, the chief engineer, was sitting on the rail of the steamer, drinking a cup of coffee, and, observing, a light he turned about to have a better look at it. In doing, so he overbalanced himself, and fell head foremost into the sea. The steamer at the time was going at full speed, and Mr Forrester's absence was not noticed till twelve o'clock midnight, at which time he he should have relieved the watch for the, next four hours. When it was found after a search, that he was not on board the, obvious and unpleasant conclusion naturally arrived at was that he had fallen overboard and been drowned. Forrester, it seemed, is an excellent swimmer, and although on first being immersed he had the water violently dashed in his face by the revolutions of the screw he kept him afloat and, summoning all his presence of mind on seeing that the steamer had left him hopelessly in the rear, he swam about in the hope of encountering and being picked up by some passing  vessel. To aid this purpose and to lighten himself for a prolonged struggle he attempted to divest himself of his boots and some portion of his clothing, but was unable to do so. After swimming for about an hour and a half, his hopes were realised and he was rescued by a Danish schooner, the captain and crew of which paid him every attention. He was eventually landed at Little Hampton, Sussex, where his story was hardly credited by the port authorities. At length a friendly Custom House officer came to his assistance and put him in the way of obtaining, upon a ring which he wore, sufficient money to take him to Liverpool. Arriving here, he went to the office of the owners, told them his story, and was congratulated on his narrow escape. He learned that the Kingdom, from which he had fallen overboard, had not yet arrived, but was expected every hour. On its arrival in the Mersey he went out in a small boat to meet her, and the pleased astonishment with which his appearance was greeted after he had been given up for lost may be easily imagined. At first no one could credit it, but on being convinced that it was he in bodily presence, a loud shout of congratulation was set up. It may be stated that at the time Mr Forrester fell overboard the sea was comparatively calm, and it was furthermore fortunate that he was rescued at the moment he was, because a few minutes afterwards a heavy fog set in, which lasted several hours, and which would have made it impossible for him to be seen by any passing vessel, even at the distance of a few yards.


Timaru Herald Wednesday 2 November 1887
White on the voyage from Kaipara to Melbourne the brigantine Peerless was hove-to during a fierce gale. During this time a tremendous sea broke over her, and washed two of the hands overboard. A rope was thrown to them, which, most fortunately, they managed to secure, and they were hauled in again.

Failed Rescue. Lifeboat never returned.

Timaru Herald Saturday 5 November 1887 pg4
Search for Missing Seaman
1000 reward offered for the discovery of two young men named Alexander and Robert Murray, ex -Conway cadets, and sons of Lieut-Colonel Murray, of 56 Herne-hill, London, who were lost at sea on July 16th, 1886. The lads belonged to the ship Earl of Jersey, which was on its way to Singapore. A man named Hood who was engaged in reefing fell overboard, in latitude 40 deg S. and longitude 9deg. W, during a fresh gale from the northward. A life bouy was thrown to him and the lifeboat promptly manned by the second mate, Alexander Murray, an ex-Worcester cadet named Middleton, a steward, a boatswain, and two A.B.'s and Robert Murray. The life-boat never returned to the ship, must have capsized, was lost sight of in a rain squall. The captain searched for four days. Guns were fires and lights burnt a night. Note was forward by Lady Brassy, dated Port Darwin, Sept. 5th. The lamented death of Lady Brassey took place on Set. 14th while the Sunbeam was on her voyage from Port Darwin to Mauritius.

A.B. had a fit aloft.

Evening Post, Wellington Monday 29th January 1877
Port Chalmers, 28th January
Albion Company's ship Canterbury, from London, 80 days out, with 2000 tons cargo and 19 passengers. On the 18th December, George Bowling, A.B., had a fit and fell overboard from the starboard foreyard arm. The ship was going four knots. John Sawbert, quarter-master, jumped off the forecastle head and dived and caught Bowling's hair, and succeeded in putting a lifebouy over him. Bowling was taken on board, and remained unconscious for nearly an hour.

Thrown over!

5 October 1876 on the 'Cardigan Castle' London to Lyttelton in 1876. Sarah wrote: "All ill. Have just left off trying to eat breakfast. Ship rolling from side to side. Tins, buckets and people flying about in all directions, while to crown all a man fell overboard. Six men went out in the lifeboat to rescue him. It was very dangerous for there was a heavy sea and the boat was nearly capsized. We heard since that the man threw himself over and did not make the slightest effort to catch the life buoy. However, they brought him back alive and he was put in the locker for a fortnight."

4 November 1876 on the 'Cardigan Castle' London to Lyttelton in 1876 Sarah wrote "We heard that a man had fallen overboard but it was a false report. We heard afterwards that someone had thrown an empty box over without The Captain's permission and to show his authority he sent out a boat with Five men to bring it back. It was afterwards cut up for firewood. A calm hot day. This evening a sailor jumped into the sea and swam after a hat that was thrown over. He was hauled up with a rope. A squall came on so we went below early."


Otago Witness Saturday 19 January 1878 pg17
At the recent meeting of the London Board of Directors of the New Zealand Shipping Company (Limited), the Chairman, E.P. W. Miles, Esq., presented to Mr S.C. Baumgartner, third officer of the company's ship Piako, a valuable sextant, in recognition of his intrepidity in jumping into the water and rescuing from drowning one of the ship's crew who fell overboard whilst the vessel was at anchor in Lyttelton harbour; and to Mr J.N. Baxter, second officer of the same vessel, a handsome telescope, as a mark of their appreciation of similar intrepid conduct in saving from drowning another member of the crew.

Captain overboard

Hawkes Bay Herald 27 Oct 1878
The barque Helen Denny will finish discharging her cargo today. Captain Ruth of this vessel had a narrow escape of drowning on Saturday. He accidentally fell overboard from his boat which was being towed by the Belle. He, however, was got safely on board again, little the worse for his bath.

A ducking!

Hawkes Bay Herald, Tuesday September 20th 1881
Shipping Arrival - Port of Napier -
Sept. 19 - s.s. Oreti, from Northern ports.
Mr Clark, the second officer of the steamer Oreti, had a narrow escape from drowning when the steamer was passing Lottin Point. He fell overboard unnoticed by anyone, but was fortunate enough to get hold of the tow line of the patent log. He was in the water fully ten minutes, and was dragged under twice before his cries were heard on board the steamer. He was then rescued, nothing the worse of his ducking.

D. T.'s

Hawkes Bay Herald November 22 1888
Auckland -Wednesday. Arrived - Ionic from London, 45 days out-all well. While anchored at Plymouth a passenger suffering from delirium tremens jumped overboard.  Mr McKinstry, second officer, rescued him, and the passengers presented him with a purse of sovereigns.

Gallantly rescued.

Hawkes Bay Herald 3 December 1888
Lyttelton Sunday. Arrived - R.M.S. Rimutaka, Captain Greenstreet, from Plymouth, after a passage of 42 days 11 hours. She left Plymouth on October 20th with 335 passengers, landed 27 at Teneriffe, 8 at Capetown, and 100 at Hobart, for various Australian ports, bringing 180 to New Zealand. The passage has been a most eventful one. On November 8th, the day before the vessel arrived at Cape Town, Miss Duckworth, a second-class passenger, fell overboard, off the Cape of Good Hope, and was only rescued just in time by a steerage passenger named Mr Cavill, who pluckily jumped overboard and kept her afloat until a boat arrived upon the scene. Captain Greenstreet handled his ship remarkably well, and had her stopped and back upon the scene in a very short space of time. Miss Duckworth received a very severe shock, but by careful nursing she is much improved. Two days after this unfortunate incident, when the vessel was in a heavy gale, with a cress sea, an A.B. named W. Brooke was washed overboard and drowned. A heavy S.E. swell was encountered from 10th November to 23rd November. On November 27th, a saloon passenger named Alexander Forrest, an accountant on in the National Bank at Dunedin died of apoplexy, and was buried at sea. These events marred the enjoyment of the voyage considerably. The passengers and officers subscribed �25 for Mr Cavill, a professional swimmer, hailing from Sydney, as an acknowledgment of his pluck in rescuing Miss Duckworth, and �55 for the mother of the seaman Brooke, she being dependent upon him for support.

Washed overboard during a gale and on board again!

Timaru Herald Thursday 15 August 1889
The barque Ganymede. By the English mail to hand yesterday by the Aorangi, we receive the following report of the barque Ganymede's trip from Timaru to London:- Left Timaru on Sunday 17th February with light easterly wind, which continued to 8 p.m. when it suddenly shifted to the S.W., with thick dirty weather and heavy squalls.... On the 13th a fresh S.W. wind was picked up, which carried the vessel down to Cape Horn which was passed on the 16th, 27 days out. On the 17th light northerly winds again set in until 29th, when a fresh W.S.W. wind was picked up carrying the ship up to lat. 21 S, long 25 20 W. Light winds and variables then set in, the vessel crossing the line on April 13th, 57 days out. ... May 13th a terrific gale was experienced carrying away the jibboom, springing the focu and main topgallantmasts, and blowing all the sails to ribbons. On the 16th the gale moderated. On the 29th another terrific gale, blowing a number of sails away, also washing one of the boats and all moveables overboard. During this gale an able seaman was washed overboard while making the foretopmast-staysail fast, but owing to his presence of mind and coolness in the water he was picked up before the ship passed him.... The Lizard light was seen on June 11th and light N. winds prevailed till the 13th when the ship was taken in tow off the Isle of Wright, arriving in London on June 15th, after a lengthy passage of 117 days.

Not all incidents were accidental!

Some people jumped over the side when drunk, or disturbed mind or when  deserting. On board the R.M.S. Rimutaka, s.s., 4473 tons on a voyage from Wellington to Plymouth a female passenger attempted suicide by leaping overboard in the North Atlantic, near Cape Verdes on 16 April 1905 and was rescued by the steward, D. Pearce. Account in the London Daily Mail 27 April 1905.

He immediately seized a life-bouy! 

The Star March 2 1896 page 2
William Warner went to sea when a youth in the British mercantile service, but afterwards under the American flag. His first voyage to New Zealand was made from Bristol in 1861, when he was second mate on the Reah Sylvia. When in mid-ocean, with a very heavy sea running, a passenger named Gleeson, who is still in the Colony, fell overboard. Mr Warner immediately seized a life-bouy and jumped in after him. A boat was lowered, and both men were found clinging to the life-bouy, some distance from the ship. When they again reached the vessel loud cheers were given the rescuer for his plucky act. Mr Warner returned Home in the vessel, but came back to the colony, and took up residence in Christchurch. With the late Sir Julius von Haast he took part in the exploration of the West Coast. In 1865 he went to assist the late Mr J.G. Ruddenklau in the management of the City Hotel and the following year became landlord of the Golden Age Hotel, on the site of the present Hereford Hotel. In 1873 when the late Mr Coker left the Commercial Hotel, Mr Warner became the proprietor of it. He married twice, first to a daughter of the late Mr R.P. Hill, and afterwards to a daughter of Mr Little, of Christchurch, formerly of Nelson. By his second wife he had three children. During the last few years he resided at New Brighton and became commodore of the Sailing Club. 

William Francis Warner of Warner's Hotel. He was born at Littlehampton, Sussex, emigrated to Canterbury, NZ as second mate on the Rhea Sylvia in 1861. During the voyage he dived off the ship to rescue a passenger who had fallen overboard. He was accidentally drowned by upsetting of the yacht Waitangi at the estuary at Sumner near New Brighton, 29 February 1896, aged 61. Burial service was conducted by Rev. W.A. Pascoe at the Riccarton Cemetery. Drowned along with James Murray, of the New Brighton Hotel who for several years a resident of Rangiora and the licensee of the Red Lion Hotel, late of County West Meath, Ireland,: aged 32 years. James was buried at the Linwood Cemetery in the Catholic portion with Father Marnane officiating. Mr R. Beetham - Inquest: One thing very noticeable in these cases - namely that there was no life-saving apparatus on the boat. 

About three and a half days' sailing from Tahiti

Evening Post, 15 August 1913, Page 8
Considerable excitement and alarm was caused on the steamer Aorangi, which arrived in port from San Francisco this afternoon, when that vessel was about three and a half days' sailing from Tahiti. While working on one of the ship's boats, an ordinary seaman named Funnel fell overboard. He at once disappeared from the view of those on board, so it was decided to circle round for some time. A vigilant search was made of the locality, and the steamer eventually returned to the scene of the occurrence. Guided by the voice of a man calling for assistance, the Aorangi steamed about a mile and a half distance and succeeded in picking Funnel up. The rescued man who is considered one of the strongest swimmers on board, had been in the water for about three and a half hours before being recovered. It was found that the man was little the worse for his trying experience.

Cats and dogs!

Zingara - ship's cat overboard and recovered. The New Zealand 3-mast topsail scow, Zingara, 233 tons, built in 1906. While on a voyage from Auckland to Hokianga, to load timber, in January 1921 had a near collision with a steamer off Cape Brett and the ship's cat went overboard and was recovered off North Cape.

Conrad the Cat

A quarter of mutton somehow fell from the William Hyde in the English Channel, a boat was quickly lowered to retrieve the crew's dinner.

Bathhurst 1821 -1823 off the coastal waters of Australia the ship's dog fell and a sailor over board and both were recovered.

April 15 1930 page 14
Captain A.D. Turton, commander of a Clan liner carrying a number of foxhounds from Liverpool to Bombay. When the vessel was crossing the Bay of Biscay this particular foxhound was tied up on the afterdeck. Later it was missed, probably slipped its collar. Half-an-hour elapsed before the loss was reported to the captain, but as soon as he learned of it he turned the ship round and steamed back a mile beyond the estimated distance travelled since the hound fell overboard. The dog was not sighted and the vessel turned again and steadied on the southerly course. The dog was then sighted a short distance ahead. A boat was lowered and the animal was hauled aboard exhausted. After careful attention it completely recovered.

10 May 1844 pg 7. Two seaman, in reefing a topsail in a heavy squall, were thrown from the yard into the sea. The Labrador dog sprang overboard and seized one of the men by the collar of his jacket; at that moment the man caught a rope which was heaved to him, and instantly the dog relinquished his hold, and swam off to the man who was still struggling without any help.

July 16 1930 pg11
Fleetwood, July 15. The French steam trawler Gris Nez left Boulogne last Friday for the West Scottish fishing grounds. One of the crew happened to walk round the stern of the trawler when he saw the dog in the sea about 200 yards away. The alarm of "Dog overboard" was raised. The engines stopped and the vessel reversed. Closer inspection showed a Newfoundland dog valiantly struggling in the water in an endeavour to keep a man, Jean Marie Martin, 39, of Boulogne, who was a fireman of the trawler, afloat. He must have fallen in only seen by the dog, with whom he was a great favourite. Unfortunately, the dog was compelled by exhaustion to release hold of the man before the vessel could reach the spot. The dog, Truc, was hauled aboard with ropes. Is five years old and owned by Captain Wattez.

A Tussle with an Albatross - fiction

The following is from a book entitled "Three Years of a Wanderer's Life," by John F. Keane: "There is a famous story of a man having kept himself afloat, after falling overboard, until picked up, by seizing hold of an albatross that came within reach. There is nothing improbable in this. I have been overboard with an albatross myself, and found the bird quite manageable in the water. I was one day catching Cape hens and mollyhawks with a fine twine line and light hook made from a bent needle, when a large albatross plumped suddenly down on my bait, and hooked before I could prevent him. The ship was barely moving through the water... I had only dropped about ten yards astern and I was able to steer it after the ship, a rope's end was thrown to me." Timaru Herald Tuesday 2 August 1887

Attacked by an albatross

Evening Post, 10 April 1912, Page 3
AUCKLAND, 9th April. On the voyage of the steamer Surrey from Liverpool to Auckland, a seaman fell overboard when the vessel was halfway between Capetown and Australia. A saloon steward named C. Leon de Lance immediately dived overboard to the rescue. He unsuccessfully searched for the missing man, whose name was Porter. Suddenly he was viciously attacked by an albatross, and had great difficulty in beating it off. De Lance was rescued with difficulty, but no trace of Porter was found.

A Sailor's Worst Nightmare, to fall overboard without being seen! 

A merchant seaman fell overboard off a steamship in tropical waters. When he didn't show up for his watch the ship came about on a reciprocal course and they found him treading water about eight hours later. Seafarers often say that the only significant distinction between a sea story and a fairy tale is that the sea story lacks the traditional opening: "Once upon a time...."

A  Narrow Escape!

On a long voyage across the Indian Ocean to Durban there was a cry of "Man Overboard" and of course we all dashed out on deck to see what had happened. Some boy of 16 or so who was a steerage passenger had been hanging out his daily washing and reaching too far out had overbalanced and fallen overboard. The order was given for the ship to stop and by the time she had curved around and stopped moving - the boy had been carried away a good half mile or more.  It took the crew about 10 or 15 minutes to work loose that lifeboat which was struck with paint and in the meantime the boy had drifted further out and the Emigration Officer who was in charge of the Emigrants and who felt that he was responsible for the boy - had now jumped in after him and he was also being carried away by the strong currents. The Laundry man who was a strong swimmer was another who decided to dive in and help so that we now had two men and a boy in the sea - each a long enough way from the other. The sea was quite choppy that day and it was very difficult to see at a distance an object like a head bobbing up and down between the waves. However they did find someone after a while he turned out to be the Emigration Officer. The lifeboat made another detour and this time landed with the laundryman all exhausted. Still a third time it went out and the Captain was just going to signal it to return as we had been there well over an hour now and all thought the poor boy was drowned or eaten by sharks, when the cry went up that some dark object was to be seen bobbing up and down on the opposite side. The boat was directed there and there was the boy - all swollen from the sun and the water - almost unrecognisable but still alive.

"Sail" past!

While on the Flying Cloud's 5th voyage, c. 1855  retiring from Canton, the Master's wife, who served as the navigator aboard, saw through her cabin porthole, a body "sail" past. She rushed on deck threw over a lifebuoy, and gave the alarm. The American clipper, built in 1851,1783 tons, Captain J. Cressy, hove to and two boats were lowered and the man recovered.

The Sailor's Death Grip

Otago Witness 16th October 1880 page 31
"I was once sailing by the Island of Cuba" said a sea captain. "when I was startled by the cry, "'Man overboard!"
"A sailor at work on the forecastle had fallen into the ocean. Seizing a rope, I threw it to the drowning man just as he passed the ship's stern. He caught it.
"Making a slip-noose, I slid it down to the struggling sailor, directing him to pass it under his arms. He was drawn on board; but such was his death grip on the rope, caught as the ship was sailing by, that it took two hours before his grasp relaxed so that it could be released from his hands. The strands were imbedded in the flesh."
The sailor's death grip illustrated Paul's meaning when he bade Timothy :lay hold on eternal life."

Jumped or fell

Otago Witness Wednesday 5 Dec. 1900 page pg19 cb
As the Omapere was leaving Westport on Saturday morning, a man either jumped or fell overboard. He was rescued, and continued the voyage with the steamer.

Colonist, 29 April 1905, Page 4 BRAVE RESCUE AT SEA.
London, April 28. Near Cape Verde a passenger, Mrs Weeks, jumped overboard from the s.s. Rimutaka, bound from New Zealand to London, when a steward named Pearce followed, and after half an hour's gallant struggle he succeeded in rescuing her.

Ashburton Guardian, 5 December 1921, Page 5 SMART RESCUE AT SEA.
CHRISTCHURCH, This Day. When the Canopus was two hours out from Wesport on Saturday afternoon a member of the crew fell overboard. There was a high wind and a fairly heavy sea. The alarm was given, and a boat lowered, and the man picked up in an exhausted condition. Fifteen minutes elapsed from the time of the alarm until the man was placed on board again.

Picked up the lad and two life-buoys

Ashburton Guardian, 5 December 1921, Page 5
Port Chalmers, December 18 Captain Collingwood, of the ship Canterbury, which arrived from London to-day, reports that on October 19 Ralph Dodsworth, an apprentice, fell overboard whilst the ship was going ten knots an hour. Captain Collingwood immediately hove the ship to, and lowered a boat with the second mate and five hands, who picked up the lad and two life-buoys thrown to his aid, bringing him safely on board in half an hour.  

Jacob's ladder

Evening Post, 14 August 1928, Page 9 MAN OVERBOARD
MONTEEAL, 13th August. The voyage of H.M.A.S. Australia from Portsmouth to Montreal was not without incident. When the cruiser arrived on her four days' visit, an incident was reported which bore eloquent testimony to the presence of mind of the complement and their navigational qualities. Heavy weather was encountered on the voyage, and a petty officer was washed overboard during a storm. The sea was too rough to launch a lifeboat, though one was immediately manned with volunteers. The ship was stopped after circling the helpless sailor, and lowered a Jacob's ladder. She was then steered alongside the swimming man, who was able to catch hold of the lower rung, assisted by another officer. An area line was thrown to him, and he was brought aboard little the worse for the experience. Following the arrival of the Australia, the officers and crew were officially welcomed by the Mayor, Mr. Houde, and prominent citizens. Later Rear-Admiral Hyde returned the visit to the City Hall. On Sunday the officers and men took part in church parades, and, later attended a baseball game.

Prompt rescue at sea

North Otago Times, 16 February 1899, Page 1 
An eye-witness writes as follows to the Lyttelton Times :"One of the smartest pieces of seamanship and life saving that one could imagine was witnessed by the passengers of the s.s. Wakatu, Captain Wills, on her journey to Port Robinson last Saturday. One of the sailors went overboard from the foc'sle, and a lifebuoy was thrown, but owing to the swell on the water the poor fellow could not sight it. Captain Wills, with the assistance of his men, had a boat launched, manned by three men, and the steamer was put round hard. The man was on his back, then wheeled on to his face and sank, but the men in the boat reached and got him by the head. A cheer went up from the passengers and crew. In less than five minutes from the cry of 'Man overboard,' the rescued sailor way on board."  

A Strong swimmer

Grey River Argus 24 March 1911, Page 8 AN OCEAN RESCUE  - SAILOR'S REMARKABLE SWIM
A remarkable story of a rescue at sea was told by Captain R. Young, of the Steamer Nolisement, which arrived at Melbourne recently from Buenos Ayres, via Albany. It appears that the Nolisement commenced her voyage from Cardiff, and when about 58 miles south-west of St Vincent, at 9.30 a.m. on November 8, the look-out man heard screams coming from the water some distance ahead on the port bow. He could see nothing, however, and reported the matter to Captain Young. "I expect it was a big bird," said the Captain, "but we will investigate." He then got his binoculars and swept the ocean with them in the direction the look-out man indicated. "Good heavens ! " he ejaculated, "it is a man swimming." A boat was launched, and the stranger, who was nude, was brought aboard in a very exhausted condition. "I thought you were going to pass me," he gasped. After receiving nutriment and being stowed comfortably in a bunk he told his story. "My name is Hendrick Andersen," he said. "I am 21 years of age, and a native of Copenhagen. I am one of the crew of the steamer Milton" ("We passed Her early this morning" interposed one of the officers.) "Yes, I suppose you would, said Andersen; "she was steering for St. Vincent. At 4 o'clock this morning I came on watch and sat on the ship's rail. A sudden roll of the vessel threw me overboard, and when I rose to the surface I could see her masthead lights disappearing ahead of me. I screamed and yelled, but it was of no avail - she had gone right ahead, and in no time the thud of her screw had faded away, and her lights with it." "I am a strong swimmer, and for a long time I struck out steadily, swimming hopelessley, but do my best for life. Then I began to tire, and so decided to float. I did so, but not for long, before I was attacked by fish. They bit my arms and legs you will see the marks there now. As long as I kept moving I was not troubled with them. I saw the day dawn, and it seemed years after when I saw you coming along. I could not have lasted much longer." We landed him in Buenos Ayres. The captain of the Milton subsequently reported his loss at sea.

Thrown into the harbour at Wellington 1901

Royal Humane Society Bronze Medal Citations taken from the RHS Annual Report for 1901
Whipp, Herbert, Leading Seaman H.M.S. Archer Case 31721
On the 29th August, 1901, a Seaman, belonging to H.M.S. Archer was thrown into the harbour at Wellington, New Zealand, through the capsizing of a boat. At great risk, Whipp jumped in and supported him till they were picked up.

Got a fresh crew

Poverty Bay Herald, 10 April 1907, Page 6
A very interesting letter (says the Christchurch Press) was received last week from Valparaiso from Mr L. A. Waters, formerly of Christchurch, who is now second officer of the big four-masted barque Galgate, of Liverpool. The Galgate was chartered last year to take a large cargo of lumber from Portland, Oregon, U.S.A., to Valparaiso, and was one of a large large fleet of sailing ships which took cargoes of timber to be utilised in the rebuilding operations in the stricken city. Writing from Valparaiso in January, Mr Waters says: � "The Galgate arrived here on the 17th inst. after a very smart passage of 6l days from Portland, Oregon. We left Astoria, and crossed the bar on November 28th, in company with the ship Buccleuch, which was bound to Queenstown for orders with a cargo of grain. Our ship had on board a very large cargo of lumber� no less than 2,500,000 feet � including a big deck cargo. After leaving the Columbia river, we had a splendid run, and were cutting out the passage in steamer time. As the ship was over twelve months out of dock, her bottom was a bit foul, but we had a run of luck, and had fair winds for nearly the whole of the first four weeks out. On Christmas Day we passed Pitcairn Island, only twenty-seven days out, which was a very fast run. On Boxing Day, however, a very unfortunate accident happened. We were bowling along, going ten knots. before a slashing breeze, when about 10.30 in the morning, the third mate, a young fellow, fell from aloft, off the mizzen lower topsail yard, and dropped into the water, The cry of "Man overboard" was raised, and a life-buoy was thrown to him. All was bustle. The ship was travelling at a good speed, and he was soon a long way astern. I went away in the life-boat with four men, in a nasty sea arid under a glaring hot sun. We were out two hours, but could see no trace of the unfortunate lad. The ship stop and picked us up, and I got a fresh crew, as the other sailors were done up with pulling in the rough sea. It appears that we passed quite close to the young fellow, but did not see him, because the glare of the sun on the water and the white wave tops made it impossible to distinguish anything a few yards away. The second time was but three hours and a-half. They lost sight of us for two hours from the mastheads where the skipper had sailors on the lookout for the young fellow. The captain getting anxious (as we were too), put the ship round to pick us up again. We could only see her masts above water, we were so far away. Then, instead of coming towards us, she was running away, she stood further and further away, and at just as I thought we should be left behind (not a very nice feeling I can tell you, to be adrift in a boat in the middle of the Pacific), the captain hove the ship to again. Well, after a long, long pull we got within 150 yards of the ship and my men were getting a bit played out. I saw something in the water ahead. I gave a shout of joy, but we were too late. The men at the mastheads had spotted him and had heard him call out. They put another boat over just before we saw him. The sun was getting low at the time and everyone was anxious. I was a bit played out, and the men were much more so. We got up to him just as the men in the gig were lifting him out of the water. He was picked up at a quarter past four in the afternoon after having been in the water for five hours and three-quarters, under a glaring sun, and, in. a nasty sea, which, about there, is said to be infested with sharks. The captain and his wife had been in a terrible state, as the young fellow was the son of a great friend of theirs, but when he was rescued there was great excitement and cheering on board. He was quite sensible and spoke quite rationally when picked 'up, although, of course, he was very much exhausted, and nearly done. It was a marvellous rescue.


The Star January 9 1909 pg5
Wellington, January 9
When off Cape Palliser, yesterday, Wiberg, a seaman of the barquentine Pelotas, from Gisborne to Wellington, jumped overboard at 1.30 a.m. on Friday. When he found himself in the water he caught hold of the log line dragging astern, and was hauled on board again. Wiberg suffered from delirium tremens. He was handed over to the police this morning. Jan. 11. Wiberg, a Swedish sailor, pleaded guilty to-day to attempting to commit suicide on the high seas. The accused had been drinking heavily.

Perhaps Paddy was Right!

Otago Witness 8 July 1865 pg14
The other day a lady fell off the Ramsgate boat into the Thames. A poor Irishman sprang overboard and rescued her. When she was safe on deck again, her husband, who had been a calm spectator of the accident, handed the brave fellow a shilling. Upon some of the bystanders expressing indignation, Pat, said, as he pocketed the money, "Arrah, don't blame the jintleman - he knows best; may be if I hadn't saved her, he'd have given me a guinea." 

After a hasty glance at the compass he gave orders

Evening Post, 16 March 1929, Page 20 A WONDERFUL RESCUE
The most remarkable rescue at sea that I have known occurred during a voyage from Manila to Queenstown in the sailing ship Invincible (writes W. J. Clarke, in the Melbourne Argus). On a dark and somewhat stormy night we were between Samatra and the Cape of Good Hope, and the captain, after taking a few turns up and down the poop deck, ordered the outer jib to be taken in. Suddenly I heard the belting of canvas as the halyards were let go, followed by a piercing shriek and cries of "Man Overboard!" The cry passed quickly along the ship, but all realised that there was little chance of a rescue on such a night. The odds were about a million to, one against the seaman being found alive or dead, for he was wearing oilskins and heavy sea boots. The waves, too, were, very rough, there was a strong breeze and drizzling rain, and the night was as black as pitch. The captain rushed on deck. After a hasty glance at the compass he gave orders to jamb the helm hard down and then let go everything. The ship must have covered a couple of miles, and several more on the turn, before being finally brought to. By calculation and great skill the captain managed to work the Ship right back over the track. All hands were on deck, heart-stricken at the thought of losing a comrade. They were looking into the foamy sea, straining eyes and ears. Some mounted the rigging, while other perched on the bulwarks, but little could be heard except the loud swish of the water. An hour and a half had passed, and still the ship sagged on a leeward course. The captain would not give up hope. Suddenly, from the pall of darkness, came tome sort of a cry, heard by only a few, and the tension became more acute. Five minutes passed it seemed an hour and then a feeble but distinct call was heard by most of us. A boat was, lowered, and as it left the side of the ship many silent prayers were offered for its safety. Ten minutes elapsed, and then a joyful shout proclaimed the success of the search. I just saw a shadow pass as he was carried across the deck and down the companion-way to the captain's own cabin. For several days he remained there, too weak to be removed. When eventually, he was well enough, he went forward to his mates, and each, in his own rough way, shook him affectionately by the hand. In time he told us something of his terrible experience. Determined to fight for life, he had, removed his oilskins and sea boots, and had begun to swim after the ship. The sea, however, was too rough, and h decided that his only chance was to float. The water was bitterly cold, and he had the constant fear of cramp and sharks. Then he heard the ship again, and, with all his remaining strength, he shouted. He had been in the water, more than two hours.

Shot the Sun

Evening Post, 7 February 1938, Page 4 A REMARKABLE CASE
SYDNEY, January 28. Falling from the motor vessel Macdhui in shark-infested waters off the Queensland coast, Nell Buckingham, 27, a Sydney school teacher, was picked up two and a half hours later after the ship, put back for 17 miles. The vessel was almost on top of the woman when she was seen floating in calm water. When the cadet officers, on the Macdhui "shot the sun" to ascertain their bearings for practice purposes, they provided Captain Michie with information which afterwards helped him to save, Miss T Buckingham's life by the skilful handling of his vessel. These cadets had taken a sea bearing within approximately four minutes of the time that Miss Buckingham had fallen overboard. Although, the vessel had travelled 17 miles before Miss Buckingham was reported missing, this bearing enabled Captain Michie to locate her. A remarkable chain of circumstances, described by Captain Michie as "rather exceptional," surrounded her rescue. Miss Buckingham was clad only in her nightgown, and it is believed that the billowing of this garment in the water saved her from being attacked by sharks. When Miss Buckingham went aboard at Salamaua, she was suffering from the effects of malaria fever, contracted during a holiday in New Guinea. She had been under constant observation, but it was-apparently while she was alone for a few minutes after the doctor had left her cabin, that she disappeared. Although it is not the general practice, one of the senior officers had checked the bearing taken by the cadet- officers and signed their report Setting : his course accordingly, and allowing 400 yards south for the drift, Captain Michie returned at full speed towards Sandy Cape, and at 12.53 p.m., his ship was back at the position it occupied at 10.25 a.m. Exactly four minutes later, Miss Buckingham was seen floating on the water only a few yards from the Macdhui's course. She raised her arms from the elbows in answer to the ship's siren.

She did a whole lot to save herself! October 9 2003 

A 34 year old woman who fell off a 65-foot shrimp boat in the Gulf of Mexico was found Wednesday evening after she painted "SOS" on an empty oil rig more than 70 miles south of Galveston. The shrimp boat was moving from one location to another searching for shrimp. Tuesday evening she decided to climb up onto a shelf like structure at the stern that holds some of the netting to lie in the soft netting and relax and read. On the ladder, "my shoe came off, and I slipped and fell into the water." She shouted as loud as she could, but the boat puttered on. The three other crewmen, including the captain, were in the wheelhouse or down below and didn't see her. They also couldn't hear her shouts. She wasn't wearing a life preserver and had on only shorts and a light shirt. She eventually started hearing the bell from an offshore oil platform and swam toward the sound. "It was so hard because the current seemed to be pushing me away." After 13 long hours of swimming, treading rough water and struggling to keep above the waves, she finally reached the platform just as the first light of dawn was coming and with her last bit of strength she pulled herself up the metal ladder to the platform. There was nobody there. The door to a small storeroom was open, and inside she found what she needed to survive. In a trash can were water bottles with a bit of water left in them. "I was so thirsty." She found a blanket and took off her wet clothes and wrapped herself in the warm, dry blanket. She found some plastic garbage bags, some yellow caution tape and a can of spray paint. She blew up some of the bags, wrote "HELP" on them and dangled them from the platform with the yellow caution tape. She wrote "SOS" on the helicopter pad in hopes that someone flying overhead would see it. She took life vests she found on the platform and wrote messages on them and tossed them into the water. "I thought if someone found one of them floating, they'd know to come look for me." Search boats, a helicopters and a military jet looked for her Wednesday. She was rescued about 6:30 p.m. after a searcher from the air noticed "SOS" painted on an oil rig. She had used a can of spray paint she found on the rig. She was sunburned, and her lips and eyelids were swollen, but she was otherwise in good physical shape. At the time of the rescue, she was seven miles from the shrimp boat, not far from where she fell off the boat. She was cold and shaking, a little dehydrated and in a slight state of shock. The bell on the oil rigs are helpful during fog to warn passing ships.

 It feels real good to be on dry land and at home! 18 April 2003

A 31year old, Michigan man fell off a cruise ship about seven or eight hours after the vessel left its Galveston dock, about 4:30 Saturday afternoon, for a five-day cruise to Mexico and managed to stay afloat until a passing cargo vessel rescued him about 17 hours later. He was plucked from 68-degree water in the Gulf of Mexico about 50 miles offshore by a cargo ship at approximately 5:30 p.m. the same day. The friend with whom he shared a cabin didn't realize he was lost until the captain got a message from the cargo vessel around 6 p.m. Sunday. The cruise ship was already 450 miles away from the rescue site before its captain was notified that one of his passengers was missing. "The last thing I remember was me and my buddy talking to some girls in the casino around midnight." He was last seen in one of the ship's bars in the very early hours of the morning of the 13th. "The next thing I knew I woke up in the water." He saw several ships pass in the distance during his ordeal. "Several times I would say `Well, God, this is as far as I can go' and I would start to go down," "But then somehow I would come back up. I wasn't really thinking about sharks or anything, I was just trying to stay up. I dog paddled, I backstroked, I floated. I just did everything I could think of. I kept swimming toward ships that I would see, and tried to flag several down, but they didn't see me." On Sunday around 5 p.m. he was able to flag down, a Maltese-flagged cargo ship delivering copper from Chile to the port of Port Arthur, by waving his yellow T-shirt.  People on the bridge of the cargo ship spotted him in the water. "I was able to swim right up to within 150 yards of it. I had a yellow T-shirt under my sweatshirt and I took that off and started waving it." The ship passed but soon stopped and he saw a rescue boat coming. "That crew was doing everything in their power to warm me up and feed me" From what I've been told, going overboard is every seaman's nightmare, and I think they basically looked at me as one of them."  He was a U.S. Army 82nd Airborne Division parachutist from 1992 to 1996, said his will to live enabled him to stay afloat for a seemingly impossible 17 hours as perhaps 20 ships passed without spotting him Sunday in the Gulf of Mexico. "I had just one of two options. I could either swim or sink, and I chose not to do that latter."  He was exhausted, badly sunburned and had sores in his underarms and crotch. The water temperature and his youth helped save him. He stands 6-foot-1-inch and weighs about 200 pounds. He exercises almost daily in hotel gyms during his frequent travels as an industrial noise analyst. He doesn't remember falling off the ship but said doctors told him the plunge of perhaps 60 feet or more knocked him cold. When he came to, he was alone and the cruise ship was out of sight. He never saw any sharks lurking nearby, but he struggled to avoid abounding jellyfish. As ship after ship missed him and he tired, and was tempted to give up. "I sank about 20 feet in water, and I just decided I wasn't ready to quit yet, so I went back to the surface and continued to swim." 
    If he had been further up the Eastern Seaboard or up the West Coast where the water is a lot cooler, he probably wouldn't have survived. Though relatively young and healthy he was very lucky to have survived. Sixty-eight degrees isn't exactly warm. Being able to stay in the water for up to 17 hours without any type of flotation device is, in itself, amazing. Normal body temperature is 96 to 98.6 degrees. About 50 percent of patients who have a core temperature less than 90 degrees in such a case should have some form of organ damage, usually kidney damage. Rare individuals survive even severe hypothermia without permanent damage. "It was my first cruise, and it will probably be my last."

We really weren't holding out much hope for finding him after that amount of time.
14 May 2005

Brisbane. A 41-year-old sailor, from Ipswich, spent 14 hours in the sea after falling 80-metres from the 33,000 tonne oil tanker Barrington about midnight on Saturday, 14 May, NZ time (10 pm. AUS. time), off the north Queensland coast, while it was sailing from Mackay to Cairns. He was in the deep shark-infested waters, for about 12 hours before the tanker's crew reported the man missing by notifying the Australian Search Rescue at 10am yesterday morning. They had performed several searches of the the tanker.  He was found by a group of recreational fishermen of the, New Dawn, yesterday afternoon on their way home to Dingo Beach after a trip to the outer reef.  He had swum towards the fishing boat after spotting it in the distance.  They were heading for home after an overnight trip to Gould Reef. They made a stop at a spot near Holbourne Island, in the shipping channel, 20 nautical miles north-east of Bowen, to fish for some red emperor when they heard cries for help. He swam towards the fishing boat when he saw it stop the first time but before he reached close enough for them to hear him yell, it motored off. When he saw it stop the second time, he again swam over to it. "We stopped for a time and there were no fish there so we went to another spot. One of my mates on board heard someone yelling. "I said, 'Oh don't be silly'. "Then we heard, 'Help', and we just thought we'd go and have a look at this. Next minute we see him. We saw this splash in the water." They were led to the sailor, whose broad smile at the sight of them they will never forget.  He had a big, broad smile on his face. He was so glad to see us. "All he had on was a pair of pyjama shorts. He was shaking and we put some clothes on him and offered him something to eat and drink."  The anglers contacted rescue crews, who arrived within minutes. He can't really recall what happened.  He was in boxer shorts and that's it. He could barley speak and was too exhausted to stand. He was winched on to the Queensland Rescue helicopter just before 2.30pm and was flown to Bowen, then flown to Townsville Base Hospital by the Royal Flying Doctor Service, suffering from hypothermia, dehydration, exposure and a suspected broken arm and was admitted overnight for observation. He was fortunate that conditions were calm and there was no wind.  The guys that found him were just amazed. They just couldn't believe that some guy could just swim up to them 20 nautical miles from land. He must have had that drive to keep him going for that amount of time because it's amazing to stay in the water for between 14 and 16 hours.


A novice yachtie and skipper in an 18 foot yacht, 64 kilometres south of the Cape and drifting near Cook Strait were winched to safety. The boat was knocked over several more times when conditions worsened and the skipper was swept overboard when a massive rogue wave crashed over the boat, tipping it on its side and partially knocking out its communications systems. He was secured by a lifeline and pulled himself back on board. Jan. 2006.

A six year old survived 20 hours

Sunday 5 February 2005. A six-year-old boy has been found alive kept afloat by a life ring for more than 20 hours in the Red Sea on his own following the sinking of a ferry with the loss of as many as 1,000 lives. He found himself separated from his parents, who were missing, presumed drowned, in the chaos as the ferry, al-Salaam Boccaccio 98, sank on Friday. The ship went down when the crew failed to contain a fire that broke out on the car deck during a crossing between Duba in Saudi Arabia and Safaga in Egypt. The young boy was among the 460 survivors. Crew members battled a fire that broke out in the car deck the vessel was only 20 miles off Duba. The water began to flood during the firefighting operation into the ship which caused it too tilt and eventually sink. It listed five, then ten degrees and then 15 and then 25 degrees and that was the beginning of the end. A total of 1,414 people on the ferry.

Rescue Sausage
23 November 2005

A chance encounter with a police rescue boat saved a young Japanese diver as she drifted out to sea during a weekend scuba trip that went wrong off the coast of Wellington. Yuki Fujita, 28, from Kobe, went diving for crayfish on Saturday. When she surfaced early from the dive, she couldn't find her diving buddy, the dive group or their boat, local media reported Monday. She had drifted 4.5 kilometers away from the party near Cook Strait and was paddling for her life wearing her scuba tank and weight belt in heavy seas. After 2 hours adrift, when Fujita, an experienced diver, was out of sight of land, a police search launch suddenly appeared close by as it sped to the search zone several kilometers away. "It was my last hope and I yelled 'help, help' and waved my rescue sausage," she said, referring to the bright orange inflatable plastic strip divers carry to attract attention in an emergency. She was pulled from the water and only then realized how near she had come to death. "I started shaking and burst into tears and vowed I would never scuba dive again. The newspaper reported that about the time of the rescue back in Kobe, her mother, Mieko Fujita, was visiting the shrine at the family grave to pray, a prayer Mrs. Fujita believes helped save her daughter's life.

Diver never gave up hope of rescue
Wednesday February 08 2006

"Kia ora," he said as they hauled him from the sea yesterday where he had spent the last 75 hours, he had to contend with sharks and hallucinations for the three nights at sea. By yesterday the air search had been called off and the family, had begun praying for his body to be returned from the sea. A former New Zealand navy diver left adrift at sea for three days survived by eating crayfish and raw kina (sea slugs) after he became separated from his dive partner during a dive charter at 1pm on Sunday afternoon. He failed to surface from a diving expedition off the northwestern end of Mana Island, near Porirua north of Wellington. A massive air, sea and land search began in the area. A team of helicopters undertook an aerial search covering hundreds of square kilometres. The weather had been idyllic, with good visibility, no wind and calm waters. The flights on Monday were provided free, and Tuesday's flights at a small charge to the family. Family members and friends also went out in the helicopters and helped with shore searches. He could see the search parties looking for him on Sunday afternoon, but was powerless to attract their attention. He was drawn up the coast by a huge rip as far as Waikanae, 27km to the north, before being drawn back to the vicinity of Mana Island, where his ordeal had begun. "When I saw the searchers finish up for the day, and I realised I was going to be alone for the night, I sent up a little karakia, a prayer," "I was looking for some sort of spiritual guidance so I just thanked God for the day and asked him for his protection in the night." He said he then felt "a warm gust of air", which gave him the sense that he was not alone.

Rob Hewitt, 38, was suffering hypothermia and severe dehydration when he was found in mist and rain by former navy colleagues who joined police divers after an air search was called off. He had travelled some distance in and out for some considerable time with the movements of the tide. The divers decided to follow up some local information about a sheltered cove around the corner, where seaweed and flotsam usually washed up. They went to see if there was anything there that could give searchers a clue and it was there they spotted the wetsuit hood about 400m off Mana Island. Hewitt was found about 500m off the northern bluff of Mana Island, about 300m from where he had initially gone down wearing only the bottom of his wetsuit and a yellow catch bag containing the remains of the crayfish and sea slugs that he had eaten during the ordeal. He had discarded his diving equipment. The diver may have been protected by the thickness of his navy-issue dive suit, and was alert and talkative when rescued. He asked for a drink of water. 'I've been swimming all the time.' He said he had never been on the island. Mr Hewitt's Navy training, a former chief petty officer, served in the navy for 20 years, and the warm sea temperature was a relatively warm 18C or 19C., personal mana and inner strength had brought him through. To spend three days in the open water, that's a lot of courage and commitment. He credited the love of his fianc�e and family for "getting him through". He also thanked Tangaroa, Maori god of the sea for "bringing me home".

Five hours in the short choppy sea.
Timaru Herald 20 February 2006

60-year-old, yachtsman, Tony Lister, was adrift in choppy seas five nautical miles off the mouth of the Orari River on Saturday afternoon. His yacht was rigged and sailed away from him to the south. He sculled on his back and slowly make for the shore. Mr Lister is a member of the Coast Guard and works on the Prime Port tug, known for always wearing a life jacket and is not a strong swimmer. While putting up the spinnaker a wave or swell caught the yacht and he was tossed overboard. His partner is the president of the South Canterbury Coast Guard and when she could not contact him on radio or cellphone was concerned. About 3.40pm Ms Osbourne paged the coastguard and by 4pm they were off. After alerting boats in the area for help the yacht "Corsair" was found south of Timaru, empty, floating 13 to 14 nautical miles away from where he went overboard. They put someone on the boat to bring it home. The GPS was taken to the harbourmaster who downloaded the information and located where the yacht had been turned around. Word went out that Lister was missing, and the maritime community rallied. The coastguard, yachties, fishermen, a helicopter and aeroplanes searched for him. Private and commercial operators came to assist. The Timaru port's tug and pilot launch travelled up the coast. Launchmaster, Vic Gray, had a gut feeling where Mr Lister would be, based on the north east-wind and swell pattern. He knew Mr Lister would have a lifejacket on and head for the shore. He would be closer to the coast and well south of the Orari. At 7.20 having drifted about two nautical miles south of the Opihi River and three-quarters of a mile from shore he was found. `Got him!' Could see by the way he was floating he was upright, he wasn't dead.  "You've got to hand it to the guy." Mr Lister was blue. His teeth were chattering and was in a bad way. Mr Lister said the cold was not a problem until the last hour and time actually went fast. Lying on his back sculling he used clouds to help him keep heading for the shore. When he saw the yacht and helicopter he knew a search had started and there was a chance. Mr Gray and launchmaster Temarawa Kabiriera hauled him aboard and said he was in pretty bad shape, having swallowed a lot of water in the choppy seas. He vomited a lot of seawater, but soon started to turn from blue to pink. About 5 hours in the water. Lister was found alive because he maintained contact with someone on shore and had a buoyancy vest but it was missing a whistle, and he needed one.  "Put them on, leave them on," Lister said.

Sept. 2012. Tony Lister, South Canterbury Coastguard, senior skipper, was named the organisation's national volunteer of the year.  He has been the unit's safety officer and training officer since 2000 and has attended every crew and public training course held over that time. In February 2006. Mr Lister attributed his survival to his lifejacket and someone on shore knowing his whereabouts.

25 Dec. 2009 Timaru Herald The Westpac rescue BK117 twin-engine helicopter is called out once, sometimes twice, a day is used continually on paramedic attendances, critical patient transfers from accident scenes, searching, water and mountain rescues and inter-hospital patient transfers. It also supports the New Zealand Police in Christchurch with searching, surveillance and crime prevention. The BK117 would cost $6.2 million to replace and has a further $1 million worth of equipment on board, due to it being a fully equipped intensive care unit in the sky. Grant Withers, 41, has been a rescue pilot for 20 years and said the job remained challenging and rewarding. "The challenges are always different from people getting lost in the Alps to people falling out of a boat at sea."

NZ diver rescued after drifting at sea for 12 hours
Wellington, NZ 23 April 2006

Wellington diver Stuart Grenside is tired but uninjured after spending the night drifting in the sea off Wellington's south coast in the Thom's Rock and Karori Light area. The 34-year-old was one of  ten divers and a boatman who were diving late yesterday afternoon (probably looking for crayfish) when he became separated from his companions and reported missing around 5pm. An air and sea search was mounted but there was no sign of the missing diver until shortly after 5am today when he was heard by a crewman on the Strait Shipping vessel The Kent. A fishing vessel was alerted and picked Mr Grenside up where he was taken to Seatoun Wharf, checked by ambulance staff, and taken home to sleep off the ordeal. It was more practical to let the fishing boat pick up Mr Grenside rather than lower the cargo ship's life boat. The diver was spotted after a crew member had gone on deck to smoke and heard his cries for help. They stayed with the diver and directed a nearby fishing boat to pick him up at the mouth of Wellington Harbour.  "There was a real risk that the diver could be run over by one of the search boats so we called the water search off for the evening. Three other vessels joined the search and the Westpac rescue chopper utilised both night sun and night vision equipment and continued sweeping the coastline without success and all vessels transitting the Wellington shipping lanes were given hourly updates to look for the missing man. He was experienced diver had with him a rescue sausage which is great for daytime visibility, but is easy to miss at night. These are great for daytime visibility but we encourage any diver who goes into the water within two hours of sunset to make sure they carry a strobe light, mini personal flare or a torch. This means that if something does go wrong it heightens your chances of being seen by rescuers. The water temperature wasn't too bad but the waves were getting a bit rough. Fog rolled in. Water conditions were getting quite rough by 7pm. A 25 to 30 knot northerly wind was blowing, and the sea had built to 1.5 metres. It was very dark, pitch black conditions, with no moon. He was found seven miles from where he went missing. 12 hours

Cruise Ship Jumper Can Thank 300-Pound Girth for Helping Save Life
Saturday, March 17, 2007

MIAMI. A 35-year-old Orlando man jumped from his balcony on a cruise ship and drifted 20 miles for about eight hours before the Coast Guard found him in the Atlantic Ocean. He was an average swimmer. It was about 60 feet to the water's surface. At that height, it's like falling on cement. Petty Officer Coon spotted him about 75 yards from the Coast Guard cutter Chandeleur. "I knew that was our guy," Coon recalled. "I hollered out, 'Man overboard, portside!" His 300-pound girth likely helped him float easier than someone leaner. Someone who is really overweight and has excess fat, their body density would be less than water. Layers of fat also would insulate him. He was rescued at 0845. EDT about 30 miles off the coast of Fort Lauderdale, Fla. He suffered mild hypothermia and a collapsed lung but was in good condition at Jackson Memorial Hospital in Miami. A witness said that he was drunk when he went overboard. "It was an overwhelming feeling that you felt from the gut of your stomach," to rescue him. Two Coast Guard cutters and two helicopters took part in the rescue, which swept 125 miles and cost $72,955. He won't be asked to reimburse those expenses. While seas were 4 to 6 feet high, and winds were 17 to 20 mph, temperatures were forgiving. The National Weather Service reported the air at about 72 degrees and water temperatures in the mid-to-lower 70s offshore.

The distress call came around 2:30 a.m.:
ABC News March 26, 2007

A man and a woman had fallen over the balcony of a cabin on the cruise ship Grand Princess, and into the Gulf of Mexico. The Coast Guard is used to working in challenging conditions. The call said a 20-year-old male and a 20-year-old female fell off a balcony of the Grand Princess cruise ship. "We calculated their distance, and they were about 180 miles off the coast of Texas. Just on the edge of our range." The ship, which was just hours into a seven-day cruise, had left Galveston, Texas, late Saturday afternoon, for a tour of the Caribbean. The odds of a successful rescue were slim. Weather was quite bad. It was dark. It was foggy and we had very low visibility. Once we got offshore, there was no visibility. At one point it looked like we would have to turn back, but the crew decided we would go another 40 or 50 miles, and then it started to clear up. The Coast Guard rescue helicopter stopped on a nearby oil drilling platform to refuel, which gave it the range needed to proceed to the Grand Princess. Once the helicopter crew reached the rescue site, they discovered the crew of the Grand Princess had lowered lifeboats into the water, and were searching for the couple. They had already found the woman, and were looking for her companion. The Coast Guard helicopter dropped down to about 50 feet above the water, and the crew started scanning the gulf with a searchlight. Our rescue swimmer saw the man splashing. He was watching his head go up and down, so we spotlighted him, and kept spotlighting him, and talked one of the lifeboats. The man had been in the water for at least four hours, but was in good condition. The Coast Guard station at Ellington Air Force Base responds to an average of 200 rescue calls a year. "It's a good feeling, a little bit like an adrenaline rush. The crew has great job satisfaction. We get to fly. We get to run missions like this, and this one had a happy ending."

Gulf fishermen missing since Wednesday found alive.
Friday, May 18, 2007 Houston Chronicle

Two fishermen missing since Wednesday are alive and back ashore after their 23-foot boat capsized too quickly for them to send a "mayday" message, they said. A.P., 29, climbed aboard a manned oil platform in the Gulf of Mexico around 3:30 a.m. today and walked into the galley where oil workers were sitting around. "Who are you?,'' the surprised platform crew as saying. They fished from 7:30 a.m. Wednesday until the boat went over at about 11 a.m. A.P. and his friend, M.P., stayed with their overturned boat from noon Wednesday until about 9 p.m. Thursday, when A.P. decided to try to swim to an oil platform in the area. Both had grabbed life vests as their 23-foot Mako boat overturned and the Coast Guard cutter Amberjack found M.P. in the water around 6 a.m. today. He was about 2 miles from the rig when picked up, A.P. said. Said something broke on the pair's boat and the vessel flooded before they could react. Both men appeared badly sun burned, red, blistered and dehydrated. As they clung to the boat during daylight hours Wednesday and Thursday, a Coast Guard helicopter and Guard Falcon jet flew near but did not spot them. "But we knew they were looking for us," A.P. said. Late Thursday the pair estimated they were within a half mile of some oil platforms and they decided to swim for one. Both men started swimming toward a rig, but were carried away by the current. When they got close to another rig, A.P. swam ahead and climbed aboard the platform. The pair said they were 36 miles offshore of Freeport when their boat capsized. "It just flipped over." The boat remains missing. "The sea got it," A.P. said. The Gulf takes a lot. It doesn't give much back. "We figured we need to leave something to the sea." Approx. 40 and 43 hours in the gulf.

That sinking feeling. Three men stranded on top of boat for eight days in the Gulf of Mexico.
August 2009

BLESSING, Texas. Three men spent eight days stranded in the Gulf of Mexico atop their capsized boat enduring hunger, blistering heat, scares from sharks and hallucinations, but they never gave up hope they'd be rescued. "It was on a day-to-day basis that everybody had their breakdown," "I knew we were coming home; I never had a doubt," said, the boat owner. The three were reported missing Aug. 22 after they left Matagorda, on a fishing trip. They went to sleep that Friday night and were awakened by water coming in. "They tried to start the pumps to get the water out. They would not start." That once both the two engines onboard failed, it wasn't long before the twin-hull boat filled with water and capsized. "Once we were awake and saw what happened, it flipped over in one minute." Suspects that the bilge pump on the port side of the catamaran failed or shorted out, allowing seawater to fill the interior hull. "Then us country boys went into survival mode. That's all we could do." They made more than thirty dives underneath the boat, trying to secure whatever supplies they could find. The only food they found was a box of crackers with peanut butter, a bag of potato chips, sunflower seeds and pack of chewing gum. The men rationed their salvaged snacks and beer. They eventually found a hose connected to a 30-gallon fresh-water tank, an internal "washdown" tank. Fishermen often keep such a tank to wash fish slime off their boat when they are out in the salt water. The men were able to cut a hose to sip water from it. "Everything tasted like gasoline and saltwater." They cut the blue tarp from the top of the canopy, using it as a shield against the merciless Gulf sun in the day and for warmth at night. They saw U.S. Coast Guard helicopters and rescue planes fly over. The Coast Guard, which gave up the search after the men had been missing a week, never saw them. The roughest time was during the heat of the day, when they would try to endure the sun's rays and keep up their spirits. The men also started seeing things. About the fourth or fifth day we started hallucinating about people dropping off food and water. "And we were talking to them, but they weren't there," One thing the men saw that wasn't a hallucination was sharks. "We had a bunch of black-tipped sharks schooling up under the boat. One of them jumped across the back of the boat." Finally, they were spotted by a Corpus Christi car dealer who was fishing on his 75-foot yacht. They were waving white T-shirts as a distress flag. "My first reaction was, 'Is this really real?' You just have to kind of sit back and say is this real or hallucination," he said. "You have to wake yourself up three or four times to make sure it is real."

"Mayday, Mayday" No response on two way radio

September 2014
Brothers Arthur and Fernando Vargas used a child's life saving vest and life ring in their survival struggle of 25 hours at sea after their 26ft twin hulled boat capsized during a September 2014 fishing trip in the Gulf of Mexico. They had told family to call the Coast Guard if they hadn't returned by 8 p.m. but the girlfriend thought it was 8.a.m. the next day so the search was delayed by 17 hours. The third person was picked up 20 minutes later. The fourth person was picked up at 31 hours 50 miles south where the boat capsized. He swarm to a tanker and stayed 100 yards out and shouted "Man overboard, help, help!"

A Dolphin

09 January 2015
Former Miami Dolphin's (from 1999 to 2004) full back Rob Konrad, 38, swam nine miles to shore after falling from his fishing boat off the South Florida Coast on 7th Jan. He had caught a large fish when a wave hit and knocked him into the ocean shortly after noon. He swam for shore on Wednesday night after his 31ft boat drifted away from him - the boat was on auto-pilot. Konrad was in the Atlantic Ocean for 16 hours without a lifejacket. Friends are said to have become concerned when Konrad did not meet them for dinner, with the Coast Guard sending out a helicopter to look for him. Konrad knew he needed to shed everything but his underwear to be able to move. He took off his shirt and began alternating between a breaststroke and backstroke. "Five or six hours in, I realized, "Maybe I can do this," he said. The 38-year-old was found by the Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office at 4.40am on Thursday morning after he contacted them - he was treated for hypothermia and released. The concentration, the perseverance, the physical stamina required for that length of time in the sea is formidable. He was circled by a shark and stung by jellyfish.  He used the sun's position, knowing he had to swim west, by day. And he tried to move toward the shore lights at night. He talked about picturing his two children as angels on his shoulders to motivate him. With his wife and two daughters in his mind, he made it to shore at about 4:30 a.m. on Thursday. "I swam the whole time, I knew I had to." The water temperatures he swam through were about 73 degrees Fahrenheit. Then the sound of the ocean changed. He heard waves hitting the shore and finally reached land. "He problem was, I couldn't walk," he said. "My body was shaking uncontrollably. I crawled up on the beach. Rolled in the sand to get warm then walked to a near by oceanfront mansion and knocked on the door. HE WAS A DOLPHIN!! His boat was found near Grand Bahama Island on Deadman's Reef, the irony of the name not lost on Konrad. He had gone the other way.  

A cooler.

Wednesday, April 27, 2016 Missing boaters found in Galveston Bay survive by clinging to cooler.
A pair of fishing buddies are back on land after they were rescued off the coast of Texas in Galveston Bay, where a cooler and a pipe kept them afloat after their 20-foot Larson boat capsized. They left Bayshore Park at 7 a.m. that Monday morning 25th April and were expected back at 1 p.m., and they were reported missing by family members Tuesday morning. Watkins and Jacik used the objects to eventually reach separate oil rigs, about seven kilometres from their overturned boat. They were airlifted to safety by the crew of a U.S. Coast Guard helicopter on Wednesday morning, nearly 48 hours after they were left stranded at sea. They say they didn't have time to put on life-jackets after a rogue wave hit the six-metre boat off the coast of Texas. "Me and Mike grabbed the cooler and said on three, jump in. I don't know what I was thinking, but I was just trying to help us," Jacik said. One was able to don the only nearby life jacket. The men clutched the floating cooler and split a sandwich and a bottle of water that were in it before they were somehow separated. Jacik said. "I had no time to grab anything. Nothing. No keys, no wallet, no phone." Watkins, of Webster, and Jacik were found on two oil platforms about a mile apart in Galveston Bay around 10:30 a.m., according to the Coast Guard. "I just happened to see the guy waving a shirt at us on the platform." Jacik said storms in the early-morning hours Wednesday made it even harder to survive the ordeal. Weather observations showed a line of strong storms with frequent lightning moved through Galveston Bay from about 6:30 a.m. to about 8 a.m. "After last night, I had a long talk with God." "You get out there, the middle of the night, holding onto a pipe that feels like it's full of nails or razor blades, and don't know how long you're going to be bear-hugging that thing." They clung for life on separate oil platforms for two nights until they were spotted by a Coast Guard helicopter. Jacik made it to a gas platform, where he was rescued by a Coast Guard helicopter on Wednesday morning. "The second survivor said Jacik, 'I don't think I'd make it another night."  Watkins was found on a different platform, where he was rescued within minutes of his friend and both flown back to Ellington Field Joint Reserve Base in Houston. CG Crew member jumped into the 75-degree water to save Watkins, 51. "He told me he couldn't swim." CG said. "Don't worry about that. That's what we're trained for."Because the oil platforms were about a mile apart, the two fishermen had no idea the other was still alive. Exhausted, dehydrated and bruised, the men were taken to hospital for treatment. Both were in stable condition, according to the Coast Guard. Watkins was released. Coast Guard pilot said that they spotted the men on their final pass of the area, as their helicopter was running low on fuel. The Coast Guard crew was especially relieved to locate the men because the capsized boat was found in Trinity Bay on Tuesday. "Two days out at sea, most people can't survive that."

8 year treaded water for three hours

April 19 2017 Auckland Now
The 3.6m aluminium runabout which the girl and her father were fishing from before it capsized was found empty at 4.30 pm on Wednesday afternoon in the Papakura Channel, Manukau Harbour. An 8-year-old girl survived by treading water for three hours is an "amazing" feat, a water safety expert said. Anyone treading water in the harbour would have become quickly exhausted. Floating in seawater the issue with smaller people is they have a bigger surface to mass ratio (more skin exposure) and a higher metabolic rate, their energy levels are depleted a lot sooner. Conditions were slightly choppy, with limited visibility. There was a 15-knot breeze on the Manukau Harbour which made the water slightly choppy. Searchers heard the cold, exhausted and slightly confused girl's voice in the dark at 7.22pm and pulled her aboard. A rescue hovercraft from Auckland Airport whisked the "otherwise unharmed" girl ashore where she was taken to hospital by ambulance. Despite Manukau Harbour's water temperature being around a relatively mild 20 degrees Celsius, stopping hypothermia remained a race against time. As a benchmark, Canadian research conducted in colder 6C waters still provided a useful guideline for how people afloat were affected. One of the rules used is the 1-10-1 rule, it's the starting point to understanding exposure. Basically, when you unexpectedly fall into the water most people hyperventilate and can swallow water, it's called the cold-shock response, it's the riskiest phase because you can't control hyperventilation - that's basically a minute. Then they talk about the next 10 minute phase of useful muscle function where you can do things like operate flare guns, blow whistles, put on lifejackets, after that your muscles start to cool. After that is the 1 hour in which the coldest water in the world will render you unconscious. At this point wearing a lifejacket becomes essential for survival as it can hold an unconscious person's head above water. Search and rescue authorities now have location-tailored drift prediction software that can help point rescuers in the right direction. The channel is notorious for its strong current, which sucks boats out to sea as the tide goes out. High tide was at 3.50pm.

For stirring accounts of ships' lifeboat rescues of men lost overboard in rough seas read:

Close to the Wind by Sir William Rooke Creswell (1852-1933), London, 1965. The early memoirs [l866-l879] of Admiral Sir William Creswell. Edited by Paul Thompson. Royal Navy Sea life.

The War with Cape Horn by Alan Villiers, London, 1971 & 1973 etc.

Man Overboard 1919

Today in the event of a man overboard situation, at the first call, a delegated person hits a button on the GPS which stores the coordinates. This data is then used to navigate the vessel close to the point at which the person went over and thus increase the chances of being able to locate him/her.  Someone can survive up to about 100 hours out there in warm water but by then they would have lost 15 to 20% of their body weight and the ability to move limbs and their ability to make good decisions. Finding a person is a science and an art and luck and wether they are wearing a hat, a life jacket and avoided drinking sea water as kidneys soon become overwhelmed as they filter out salt. Did they know how to swim? Would they give up? How were they dressed? Where was the boat headed?  Searches can cover thousands of square miles. Hypothermia and dehydration a greater problem than sharks. Three blasts on a whistle is the warning for a man overboard. Ships and aircraft use GPS marked patterns to methodically search waters.

Learn how to respect the sea and love it too. 
 Sailing on any reasonably large body of water can be dangerous and should be treated as such.

Dolphin credited with drowning dog's rescue
18 January 2005 Timaru Herald

Dean Gibson can tell the ultimate fisherman's story, the one about his drowning dog and the dolphin.
The almost unbelievable, but true, canine adventure took place at the Opihi River mouth a week ago when Dean and his mate Craig went to the river for a spot of salmon fishing one evening. With the pair was Dean's seven-month-old German wirehaired pointer Heidi. The men were fishing on the south bank of the mouth when a wave came in over the spit and washed Heidi into the river. The river was still running high from heavy rain. Dean stripped off intending to jump in and get her, but Heidi was swept out through the mouth too quickly for him to do so. He saw her flipped over in several waves before her head finally came up and she started swimming out to sea in the strong current. "I rang (helicopter pilot)," Dean said, explaining how he was hoping Mr Jamieson might be able to lower a bucket under the chopper and scoop Heidi up. He wasn't home so that plan never eventuated. As he rang his wife with the bad news, he was watching Heidi through his binoculars. She was just a dot swimming lower and lower in the water. Dean saw a fin and relayed the bad news to wife that there was a shark beside Heidi. Another look and he realised the fin belonged to a dolphin. What happened next stunned the two fishermen. The dolphin appeared to swim in front of Heidi making her turn towards the shore. It then swam nearby, rising out of the water a couple of times. Dean can't help but wonder if it was checking to make sure Heidi was still swimming in the right direction. Even with the help from the dolphin it still took her close to half an hour to get back into the beach, finally coming ashore about one kilometre south of the river mouth. A wave dumped her back on the beach. "She shook herself, spun around, and was pretty pleased to see us," Dean said. "It was a big swim for a wee dog." Yet the adventure didn't slow her down. Minutes later she was chasing seagulls. Even a week after the incident Dean finds it amazing. "It blew me away. It makes you wonder if the dolphin knew she was in a bit of a predicament." At this time of year Dean fishes at the mouth a couple of times a week. While he often sees dolphins there he has never heard of a dolphin rescue in the area before.

Whangarei diver, author and dolphin enthusiast Wade Doak wasn't at all surprised to hear Heidi's story. While yesterday he couldn't recall any other cases of dogs being rescued by dolphins, he could offer a whole filing drawer of stories involving dogs and dolphins. In an incident in Marseilles, France, a dolphin used to bang its tail on the water near a fish canning factory when it wanted the two dogs that lived there to play with her. The dogs would leap into the water and the dolphin would then tease them by swimming around and under them. On one occasion the dogs did catch the dolphin, but didn't hurt her. He also has notes on a dolphin called Aihe which used to live at Takaka. It always wanted dogs to swim out to sea, although the pets' owners usually stopped the adventures. Then there was the old dog who leapt off a yacht near Great Barrier Island in the middle of the night. It turned out dolphins were swimming off the boat's bow at the time. Mr Doak can only guess what would have made the dog, which was unused to sailing, leap into the dark ocean. Dr Liz Slooten, a marine mammal scientist at Otago University, has been studying dolphins for 20 years, but had never heard of a dolphin helping another animal until yesterday. But it didn't surprise her. "We do it to other animals," she said, suggesting that the dolphin would have been well aware Heidi was in trouble. As she was not a threat to the dolphin it was willing to help her. "Humans are not unique in helping other species."

Dolphin to the Rescue of pygmy sperm whales

Mar 12, 2008 NZ Herald
Wellington, New Zealand - The playful dolphin, who has set up home around Mahia on the East Coast, was the perfect helper on Monday as Department of Conservation worker M. Smith toiled to refloat the mother whale and her one-year-old male calf. Most days, Moko the male bottlenosed dolphin swims playfully with humans at a New Zealand beach. But this week, it seems, Moko found his mojo. Witnesses described Wednesday how they saw the dolphin swim up to two stranded whales and guide them to safety. Before Moko arrived, rescue workers had been working for more than an hour to get two pygmy sperm whales, a mother and her calf, back out to sea after they were stranded Monday off Mahia Beach, said Conservation Department worker M. Smith. But Smith said the whales restranded themselves four times on a sandbar slightly out to sea from the beach, about 300 miles northeast of the capital, Wellington. It looked likely they would have to be euthanized to prevent a prolonged death, he said. "They kept getting disorientated and stranding again," said Smith, who was among the rescuers. "They obviously couldn't find their way back past (the sandbar) to the sea." Then along came Moko, who approached the whales and appeared to lead them as they swam 200 yards along the beach and through a channel out to the open sea. "Moko just came flying through the water and pushed in between us and the whales," said, another rescuer. "She got them to head toward the hill, where the channel is. It was an amazing experience." A marine mammals expert at New Zealand's national museum, Te Papa Tongarewa, said the reports of Moko's rescue were "fantastic" but believable because the dolphins have "a great capacity for altruistic activities." These included evidence of dolphins protecting people lost at sea, and their playfulness with other animals.