Technically it wasn’t a hand rail, it was the stanchion that held safety wires that went around a Coast Guard cutter’s flight deck. I put my hand on the wire and leaned back against a stanchion.
I wasn’t aware the stanchions were designed to be lowered during helo ops. The stanchion yielded just enough to make me think I was going to go over while underway. Never leaned on another hand rail like in this illustration after that.
Jeez KC, and they let you out on the helo deck by yourself?
Spiel given to landlubbers upon boarding boats with wire run through stantions.
Please do not lean or sit on the lifelines, they are not designed to hold your weight.
Please keep your PFD secured tied at all times.
Please keep childrens’ hands inside the boat at all times.
Don’t forget to tip your crew.
(notice the use of the word “your crew” is used psychologically to induce the hapless cattle into believing they individually bear responsibility for their recompense and the the wellbeing of their loved ones as you step off the boat. Because well, they pointed at the dolphins jumping out of the water in plain sight) but I digress.
Full disclosure: During an extremely short stint on one of these tour boats in a bid to avoid having to start living in my car, I actually heard a woman astutely tell the toddler at her side that they were sharks. No wonder the world is fucked up.
My railing was solid welded pipe construction. I reached out over the railing to help with mooring lines as another ship was coming alongside, and will forever remember that flash of recognition that my feet were no longer planted firmly on the deck as they should be. As I teeter-tottered on that upper railing, I never felt so alive.
Your comment begs the question; What’s with the cruise ship passengers jumping of the side like lemmings? Do they feel so alive teerering over the abyss and so at one with the universe that they decide to leap into the great beyond?
Don’t know a lot about this but my understanding
is If someone believes they are going to fall overboard it could trigger the startle reflex and maybe a fight or flight response. So not the same process of someone consciously considering deliberately jumping.
That’s why I thought the OP might be low-key amusing. The juxtaposition of the 1950’s futuristic style drawing and one mariner’s reaction. That drawing should come with a trigger warning.
The cruise industry keeps track of the number of passengers that decide to disembark while still at sea and claims that between the 212 pax listed as overboard between 2009 and 2019, 48 were rescued, so about a quarter.
MOB’s happen on commercial ships but they are relatively rare and they are accidental rather than done as a lark to impress their TikTok followers.
It’s a weird phenomenon.
In my long ago youth I made voyage 001 on the Delta Sud, a LASH ship not long out of the shipyard. I was up on the barge crane with the 1st and Chief as the crane was transiting down the deck. We were leaning up against the railing next to the crane cab. As I rested my foot on the lower rail it promptly broke off, went sailing, and bounced off main deck hatch cover below. Upon close inspection the railing was only tacked in place and had never been fully welded. Scared the crap out of us. All the railings throughout the ship were subsequently checked for signs of similar issues.
Not sure if this is a sea story or not, but there were always stories of some one running laps on the helo deck of a 378 getting a head of steam up on the down roll, grapping the helo nets which flipped over and put him in the drink - heard it 100 times, never saw it.
We had a man overboard on the Gallatin when I was on her, in the Caribs. And like 20 guys saw him go in. Believe we got him with a swimmer alongside in just a few minutes- but my memory is sketchy on this one - it was like 1977 or so.