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Williamson turn

The Williamson Turn is a maneuver used to bring a ship or boat back to a point it previously passed through, often for the purpose of recovering a man overboard.

The Williamson Turn is most appropriate if the point can be allowed to go (or already has gone) out of sight, but is still relatively near. For other situations, an Anderson turn or a Scharnow turn might be more appropriate.

  1. Put the rudder over full.
  2. If in response to a man overboard, put the rudder toward the person (e.g., if the person fell over the starboard side, put the rudder over full to starboard).
  3. After deviating from the original course by about 60 degrees, shift the rudder full to the opposite side.
  4. When heading about 20 degrees short of the reciprocal, put the rudder amidships so that vessel will turn onto the reciprocal course.
  5. Bring the vessel upwind of the person, stop the vessel in the water with the person along-side, well forward of the propellers

If dealing with a man overboard, always bring the vessel upwind of the person. Stop the vessel in the water with the person well forward of the propellers.