JOHN KONRAD has this analysis at gCaptain:
Fire, sinking, and even collisions can turn an ordinary day at sea into a flutter of activity and worry, but nothing provokes the immediate and raw emotions as the two simple words, “Man Overboard.” No matter how remote the chances of it occurring aboard your ship, no sailor has ever set to sea without the thought of drifting alone at sea after falling overboard.
One truth will always remain…
If the man overboard is not found, he or she will not be recovered.
New devices exist to increase the chance of recovery. First up AIS SARTS:
EasyRescue Portable AIS SART
I have long been a proponent of Personal Locator Beacons (PLB), the handheld sized versions of EPIRB’s, and I have even gone as far as saying “that one of these devices should be required inside every lifeboat and liferaft that goes to sea“. I also believe, due to their diminutive size, these devices belong clipped onto the lifejackets of all persons who go on deck in rough weather.
But, as great as they are, EPIRBS are a global positioning system.