BRIDGE ERECTION BOAT (BEB)
PERSON IN WATER (PW)/FLOATING OBJECT RETRIEVAL
Safety is always a primary consideration when soldiers are required to work near or
over the water. Because the variety of missions being performed around water, and
because no two bodies of water are exactly alike, it is difficult to prescribe safety
guidelines that can be applied to all situations.
The Department of the Army has therefore instructed that all subordinate
commands establish a Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) for water safety. Army
Regulation (AR) 385-15 requires that this SOP be based upon the missions required
of each respective unit, and on the environmental conditions under which each unit
is expected to perform the mission. Some considerations to assist in the formulation
of an SOP are provided in subsequent paragraphs.
Personnel required to work on or near water should periodically receive
drownproofing training. In situations where nonswimmers must work over the water,
these personnel should be identified beforehand and paired with a "buddy" who is a
All personnel required to work over the water should be provided with a Personnel
Flotation Device (PFD). Personnel should be inspected prior to waterborne
operations to ensure that the PFDs are properly fitted and worn.
Personnel working on or near water should unblouse the trousers from their boots.
Overshoes should not be worn when working over the water. All personnel should
receive a safety briefing prior to the conduct of waterborne operations. This briefing
should explain to personnel any hazards, which might exist around the work site,
such as particularly swift currents, shoals, sandbars, or other obstructions in the
water, and any dangerous weather conditions such as high winds or low visibility.
The briefing can also be used to train or retrain personnel in skills such as the
emergency/man overboard drills, watercraft discipline, methods of signaling the
safety boat in an emergency, and first aid.
The commander should designate a safety officer who is responsible for the conduct
of operations near or over the water. The safety officer's primary responsibilities are
to ensure that the safety SOP is adequate, that all unit personnel are aware of the
contents of the SOP.