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barleymalt

Lessons Learned

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First, thank God it worked out and they were able to get the MOB back on board safely. I agree with most of Rick's comments except for the bit about cushions. You already have a flotation device, the horseshoe that is mounted on the stern pulpit. Most boat cushions are NOT effective flotation devices, and it is questionable both how far you can throw them and how well you can see them in the water.

 

Also, when was the last time Rick and crew did a MOB drill?. Not a slam on them in particular, almost all of us are guilty, but every boat should be practicing this several times a year so when it happens you act on instinct instead of having to think about what you need to do. That few seconds between thought and action may be the difference between life and death, and the natural tendency for people to freeze can lead to disaster.

 

From practice to regular checks of safety gear and batteries to the skipper insisting on pfds when he or she thinks they are required if not all the time. Safety can't be an afterthought, it has to be an active and pervasive attitude.

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Great list of recommendations. Just want to add the usefulness of the Safety at Sea seminars.

 

For the Detroiters, there's one at BYC on May 3rd. Great for learning heavy air techniques (only better substitute is actually sailing), as well as a number of MOB procedures.

 

Many thanks to the author for writing that.

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Glad everyone is ok.

 

I've been blessed to learn these lessons by proxy. Another one is put everything on a winch, you could end up with a chewed hand eh cport?

 

Lesson #4 stood out with me. For (my younger) years I wondered what was the big deal with knots in sheets and halyards. A good ole blind sided knock down in the middle of the night showed me why, fortunately I only wondered what the big deal was... I didn't ignore it. :P

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1. I don't like the suggestion that if someone goes overboard, you should definitely jump in after them. If they're concious and can swim, they'll be fine in the water for a few minutes - you're more use on the boat getting sails down etc. and the last thing you want is two MOBs. I believe it was also reccommended to jump in with your lifejacket inflated. DO NOT DO THIS. It's fucking impossible to swim with one on. If the person is unconcious and/or can't swim and needs help, I guess it could be worth jumping in with a manual LJ on, swimming to them and inflating then. Take a rope with you as well if you've the time.

 

2. Did an MOB yesterday - lost a mainsail batten overboard, so had to do a MOB recovery on it. 1st time success.

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1. I don't like the suggestion that if someone goes overboard, you should definitely jump in after them. If they're concious and can swim, they'll be fine in the water for a few minutes - you're more use on the boat getting sails down etc. and the last thing you want is two MOBs. I believe it was also reccommended to jump in with your lifejacket inflated. DO NOT DO THIS. It's fucking impossible to swim with one on. If the person is unconcious and/or can't swim and needs help, I guess it could be worth jumping in with a manual LJ on, swimming to them and inflating then. Take a rope with you as well if you've the time.

 

2. Did an MOB yesterday - lost a mainsail batten overboard, so had to do a MOB recovery on it. 1st time success.

 

We did a Hat MOB on the weekend. Topsides can be surprisingly high when you're reaching down. Make sure someone has your ankles!

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Lifejackets. Period.

 

Quite a number of people think that putting one one is basically agreeing that you are a pussy.

 

Give that shit up.

 

Nice to hear someone come clean with their mistakes given a chaotic situation. Those comments help everyone.

 

Thanks for posting them.

 

DG

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Lifejackets. Period.

 

Quite a number of people think that putting one one is basically agreeing that you are a pussy.

 

Give that shit up.

 

Nice to hear someone come clean with their mistakes given a chaotic situation. Those comments help everyone.

 

Thanks for posting them.

 

DG

 

I started wearing a lifey in all but the most benign conditions a few years ago. Since I insisted that the kids wear it, I had no choice.

 

Moreover I know how cold the Ottawa River still is on June 1. I "stepped off" the Shark I was crewing on. (Must have stepped on the clew of the Genoa or something.) I had the sheet still in my hand as I was trying to clear a foul, and I hung on. I can see how people drown -- the shock of the cold water was attention-getting, to say the least. Skipper looks over the side and says, "What are you doing down there?" I managed to crawl over the stern, over the transom cut-out, while the skip got the boat together (only 2 of us on board that night).

 

I can't imagine how difficult it could be in freezing conditions or heavier weather.

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Lifejackets. Period.

 

Even when racing? I disagree. Offshore, yes. At night, yes. Cruising, yes. When racing, I'm sorry, but the disadvantages are too much for me. If it wasn't for the fucking things getting caught on the lifelines when you tack, I'd be fine with it.

 

Also, it seems that a lot of people are confusing lifejacket with safety harness. Unfortunately it seems pretty hard to buy a safety harness on its own nowadays. The harness is the most important bit as it stops you going MOB in the first place. A lifejacket just lets you float until you die of hypothermia.

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Good rundown on some basic principles, but dead wrong about sending someone over the side after the MOB. It's hard enough to keep track of one MOB, let alone two. That crew should consider taking one of the Safety at Sea courses and learning the basics. When Blue Yankee lost Jamie Boeckel over the side, his mid-bowman saw that Jamie was face down and jumped in after him. By the time BY got back to him, he was nearly gone, too.

 

Crash tack, or jibe, deploy the MOM, throw everything that floats, hit the MOB button on the GPS, and always, always wear flotation if the conditions are even close to marginal.

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I'm not the fittest person in the world, in fact I am not very fit at all.

 

5 months ago I was thrown off a boat in the solent during a broach.

 

I remained reasonably attached to the boat as still had the spinnaker sheet in my hand and had the presence of mind to hold onto it.

 

(although i did my shouder quite a lot of damage being trawled along).

 

Anyway, my tuppence worth is that however cissy and unracy it looks, all boats with a freeboard of more than about -75m should have a boarding ladder at the back. It doesn't have to be solid fixture. A a chain arrangement which could be rolled up, but which would drop and sink into the water when needed would weigh about 10 kg I would guess.

 

The boat I fell of had one of those arrangements where the middle of the stern-rail folds back down onto the transom for swimming and boarding. I'm quite sure I would not have got up the transom of that boat had she not had one.

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Some well intentioned but bad advice.

 

Never send a second person overboard. The hardest thing I ever did was not jump in after my 9 year old son went OB in similar condiions. But it was the right thing to do. I would have left 2 people and a young kid trying to stop, drop sails, and turn around a boat going 8 knots, then get 2 people out of the water.

 

Throw everything that floats OB. Especially if its dark - near dark. Not only for them to hang on to, but to assist you in finding them.

 

There is alot of good MOB procedure stuff on the internet

 

http://www.sailing.org/tools/documents/OSR2008_AppD_131205-[4330].pdf

 

http://www.boatingsafety.com/nzcg/pleasure.html

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First, thank God it worked out and they were able to get the MOB back on board safely. I agree with most of Rick's comments except for the bit about cushions. You already have a flotation device, the horseshoe that is mounted on the stern pulpit. Most boat cushions are NOT effective flotation devices, and it is questionable both how far you can throw them and how well you can see them in the water.

 

Also, when was the last time Rick and crew did a MOB drill?. Not a slam on them in particular, almost all of us are guilty, but every boat should be practicing this several times a year so when it happens you act on instinct instead of having to think about what you need to do. That few seconds between thought and action may be the difference between life and death, and the natural tendency for people to freeze can lead to disaster.

 

From practice to regular checks of safety gear and batteries to the skipper insisting on pfds when he or she thinks they are required if not all the time. Safety can't be an afterthought, it has to be an active and pervasive attitude.

if you sail you have to do MOB drills, want to be scared? throw your hat in the water, step aside and tell everyone that is you in the water and see if they could get you back? if you sail with kids its even more serious

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Some well intentioned but bad advice.

 

Never send a second person overboard. The hardest thing I ever did was not jump in after my 9 year old son went OB in similar condiions. But it was the right thing to do. I would have left 2 people and a young kid trying to stop, drop sails, and turn around a boat going 8 knots, then get 2 people out of the water.

 

Throw everything that floats OB. Especially if its dark - near dark. Not only for them to hang on to, but to assist you in finding them.

 

There is alot of good MOB procedure stuff on the internet

 

http://www.sailing.org/tools/documents/OSR2008_AppD_131205-[4330].pdf

 

http://www.boatingsafety.com/nzcg/pleasure.html

 

I agree, the author should've taken a couple days to settle down and think it over.

 

Man goes over the side, skipper should designate a spotter.

Head sails shouls be dropped, boat regains control, then go gett'em.

 

The harder(more steps) you make it, the longer the MOB will be in the water.

 

Its a simple procedure when the skipper keeps his head and remains in control of his boat/crew....there's no room for democracy on a sailboat. ;)

 

 

-RB

 

 

(DG...lifeJackets are for pussies!!!)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(J/K) :P

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I like #8 but it seems that way to many people either A) don't believe in that anymore or B) think that they should decide what is best for other people.

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Rescue swimmers: An inflatable is the WRONG thing. You can't go anywhere! You need a "ski" type vest that lets you move. Then you need training. A person in distress can drown you quite easily. I did the training many years ago. It isn't easy in a warm pool, let alone in open water.

Then you need a reason and a plan. An uninjured person with a lifejacket just needs the boat to come back to them, not company in the water. Then comes the plan. If you just have some random person jump in they may have no clue what to do next and they may also be critical to some operation back on the boat.

So if you all have the urge to send more people in please have all these elements worked out in advance or don't do it.

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Ok, so now imagine that MOB situation at night. Anyone out there try your MOB drills at night?

 

Common sense stuff.

 

1) Strobe light for every crewmember. ($25 a pop)

2) High-powered spotlight or two on board. Flashlights don't cut it. ($30)

3) SOLAS reflective tape on lifejackets and MOB gear. (dirt cheap)

4) MOB alert/locator system (more money but still inexpensive compared losing someone).

 

>"unracy it looks, all boats with a freeboard of more than about -75m should have a boarding ladder at the back?

 

Word. Even a rope ladder is better than nothing. Best to have a lifesling and practice using it.

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People and water..........if things go really bad (and unfortunately they occasionally do)......you can die

 

PFDs........life jackets.........what ever you call them................WEAR THEM!!!!!!!!!!!

 

It's not very cool to be dead.

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We were racing once in Gardiner's Bay on a cold and choppy day, when a crewmember went over. We got him back safely, but several things really freaked me out.

1. Throwing cushions over is fine, but if you don't hit the guy on the head with it, he'll never get to it - at least not with foulies and boots on. And it's hard to aim cushions.

2. People in the water are really really tiny and hard to see. Spotters are critical.

3. Stop the boat immediately - crash tack or jibe.

4. Get back to him, stop the boat and let it drift down to him so you're picking him up on the leeward side.

5. The hardest part: prying his hands off the lifeline stanchions once he got a grip on em. Can't say as I blame him.

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I got launched overboard as a kid outside Sydney Heads once in big seas. The owner had his shit down and I was safe. Scince then I've had a good amount of respect for PFDs. Do yourself a favor and buy a good one. Don't depend on the $7 orange things the owner keeps on board to remain legal. It's like the old Bell helmet ad that said, "do you have a $10 head, Why wear a $10 helmet". Is your life not worth a few bucks to get the good gear.

 

As with others. Don't Jump in to "save" some one.

 

Use your gear. In the last blowing coast race I was in I was the only one in a PFD.

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4. Sheets and guys. Never, ever, tie stopper knots in spinnaker or jib sheets! Better to lose a sheet or guy, than not be able to get the kite down in an emergency.

 

I don't understand the point about no stopper knots in jib or spinnaker sheets as it relates to this incident. I understand why someone may want to release the spin sheets and let the spinnaker fly during a hairy situation, but how is not having knots important in recovering a MOB? The list states that it is easier to recover a jib or spinnaker if there are no stopper knots in an emergency, and I just don't see this. Surely with no stopper knots and the trimmer lets the spinnaker fly it will be more difficult and take longer to douse. The only solution may be to let the halyard fly and dump the spinnaker that way. Sorry, but I just don't see how not using stopper knots in sheets is going to help make douses any faster. Also, without stopper knots, surely it is more likely the sheets will end up overboard and would require additional time to make sure all sheets are out the water before the engine is started. Sorry but for me, number 4 just does not make sense in this situation.

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4. Sheets and guys. Never, ever, tie stopper knots in spinnaker or jib sheets! Better to lose a sheet or guy, than not be able to get the kite down in an emergency.

 

I don't understand the point about no stopper knots in jib or spinnaker sheets as it relates to this incident. I understand why someone may want to release the spin sheets and let the spinnaker fly during a hairy situation, but how is not having knots important in recovering a MOB? The list states that it is easier to recover a jib or spinnaker if there are no stopper knots in an emergency, and I just don't see this. Surely with no stopper knots and the trimmer lets the spinnaker fly it will be more difficult and take longer to douse. The only solution may be to let the halyard fly and dump the spinnaker that way. Sorry, but I just don't see how not using stopper knots in sheets is going to help make douses any faster. Also, without stopper knots, surely it is more likely the sheets will end up overboard and would require additional time to make sure all sheets are out the water before the engine is started. Sorry but for me, number 4 just does not make sense in this situation.

 

Curious to know if people use stopper knots in general or not. I dont usually.

Under spin, we practice getting the pole to the headstay and overtrimming to stretch the foot, come about, then dump the halyard and hopefully it falls on the deck. its amazing now much practice makes a diference. usually the first time recovery takes 5-6 mins or more , then a few times you get it down to about 2 mins.

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Curious to know if people use stopper knots in general or not. I dont usually.

Under spin, we practice getting the pole to the headstay and overtrimming to stretch the foot, come about, then dump the halyard and hopefully it falls on the deck. its amazing now much practice makes a diference. usually the first time recovery takes 5-6 mins or more , then a few times you get it down to about 2 mins.

Personally, I always use stopper knots in genoa/jib sheets. I don't use stopper knots with symmetrical kites, and use stopper knots with asymmetrical kites. In a hairy situation with an asym, one can blow the tack and halyard and recover with the sheets. I often wonder about stopper knots in symmetrical kites, I understand one may need to blow both sheet and guy in a hairy situation, but once they are both blown and the spinnaker now resembles a flag flying from the top of the mast, how does one recover, especially if the spinnaker flips over the top of the mast like I have seen with a J24 spinnaker before.

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Let the halyard go too and hope you get to it before it sinks :o

If in a real MOB emergency screw it!

 

Personally, I always use stopper knots in genoa/jib sheets. I don't use stopper knots with symmetrical kites, and use stopper knots with asymmetrical kites. In a hairy situation with an asym, one can blow the tack and halyard and recover with the sheets. I often wonder about stopper knots in symmetrical kites, I understand one may need to blow both sheet and guy in a hairy situation, but once they are both blown and the spinnaker now resembles a flag flying from the top of the mast, how does one recover, especially if the spinnaker flips over the top of the mast like I have seen with a J24 spinnaker before.

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Let the halyard go too and hope you get to it before it sinks :o

If in a real MOB emergency screw it!

Agree kis. I just don't understand how not having stopper knots is helpful in a MOB situation. Apparently something happened in this situation that the author specifically mentioned this, but I don't see it. It would be great if someone could illuminate me as to why stopper knots in sheets are a problem in a MOB situation.

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Agree kis. I just don't understand how not having stopper knots is helpful in a MOB situation. Apparently something happened in this situation that the author specifically mentioned this, but I don't see it. It would be great if someone could illuminate me as to why stopper knots in sheets are a problem in a MOB situation.

 

And leave a tail on the knot so you can pull it out of the stopper!

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For the first time in many, many moons I went out as crew on another boat in SF Bay a couple of weekends ago. Boat was being prepared for a season of racing and did not have the lifelines up yet. As we worked towards the Gate the wind was building, we had the #1 up and were discussing coming behind Alcatraz to get in the lee for a headsail change. I looked back at the LifeSling on the stern pulpit and asked if it was at the ready, owner said yes except it wasn't tied to the boat.

I went aft and tied it on as they prepared to douse the #1 and set the #3 for a run up to the GG Bridge.

I brought up the suggestion that we discuss a man overboard situation before we went under the bridge and prepared to hoist the spinny for the run back. I seemed to have the most experience onboard so didn't mind if I sounded too much in "charge" with my suggestions.

 

After the set the helmsman had some difficulty reacting to my directions to come up some as he was keeping the boat almost ddw and we were starting to do some death rolls with the owner and rookie on the foredeck dealing with the jib. Scared the shit out of me with the potential of where we were and what we were and were not doing.

 

All turned out ok but SHIT! Potential was there.

 

Always pissed the wife off when we were sailing by ourselves and I would duck below on our Santana 525 and toss a seat cushion over the side and yell "Man Overboard". She would just look and me and say, "not now, I don't want to do that". :angry: I would just tell her, "ok, just consider me dead"

 

Did it regularly with my crew, they at least responded to me. :lol:

 

I wear a PFD every time I go out, even on the lakes. Rather float than bob.

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Sailing sans life jacket is just dumb till you sail someplace where the water is cold you tend to lack any understanding of why cold water sailors pretty much live by the life jacket.

 

Also every time I see a boat out even just a lazy cruiser the key helms person should always have a jacket on. On warm quiet days in protected waters I always tell my passengers where the jackets are some wear them some dont but I always wear a jacket. If conditions are less than super mellow I simply tell them jackets on or you sit down below.

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What you do really depends on the conditions. However,

 

1) It's too easy to at least wear an inflatable life jacket. If conditions merit, you should wear a normal life jacket.

 

2) Jumping in after someone is almost always a bad idea. If you take a lifesaving course it is the very last thing you are supposed to do. If you do go in, you better have on a life jacket, be trained and have enough crew left to get the boat back for the rescue.

 

3) You should always have either seat cushions or COB gear on deck and accessible. The skipper should always be thinking ahead, if X happens, I do A, B, C.

 

4) Locating the COB is very important, that's why you are supposed to have a spotter. Also, a whistle on the COB life jacket and if at night a light.

 

5) As far as stopper knots, what happened to carrying and using a knife? You never know when a line will need to be cut. Also, what about the snap shackles? If you let one line go (without a stopper knot), the line can get tangled on all kinds of stuff and make a bigger mess than you had already. I think the only reason to not have stopper knots is if you are going to release both sheets and the halyard and let the spinnaker blow away. I've never done this. Will it really blow away? Someone should got try it and take pictures and get back to us on that.

 

6) One of the fastest ways to get the spinnker down is to blanket it with the main by letting the guy forward, and releasing the snap shackle. Otherwise you may end up fighting an angry animal and you are already down one crew.

 

7) The hardest part is often getting the crew back on the boat. A ladder sure is helpful.

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The water-ski floating tow rope is a very fast way to get a person back to the boat. Throws well in wind and much safer than getting close with the boat in

 

weather. Tie a loop 4 ft above the handle and the handle can funtion as a step when it's time to hoist 'em over the rail.

 

Every boat should have one handy. Cheap Insurance

 

 

 

 

 

Dorado

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The water-ski floating tow rope is a very fast way to get a person back to the boat. Throws well in wind and much safer than getting close with the boat in

 

weather. Tie a loop 4 ft above the handle and the handle can funtion as a step when it's time to hoist 'em over the rail.

 

Every boat should have one handy. Cheap Insurance

Dorado

 

 

I carry a throw bag from my rafting days on my boat. Easy to use, fast and cheap. Does not offer flotation though. Agree with PB*. Difficult to see people on SF Bay without vest of some sort on.

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I've never done this. Will it really blow away?

 

Ahhh yes, it most certainly will. If someone has pics of a certain boat during the last GGYC midwinter race, the proof is there.

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Even when racing? I disagree. Offshore, yes. At night, yes. Cruising, yes. When racing, I'm sorry, but the disadvantages are too much for me. If it wasn't for the fucking things getting caught on the lifelines when you tack, I'd be fine with it.

 

Also, it seems that a lot of people are confusing lifejacket with safety harness. Unfortunately it seems pretty hard to buy a safety harness on its own nowadays. The harness is the most important bit as it stops you going MOB in the first place. A lifejacket just lets you float until you die of hypothermia.

 

sounds like you might want to look into a different style of lifejacket. There are plenty out there that aren't going to snag on the lifelines, or could be worn underneath your gear/foulies.

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It is really hard to understand the difficulty/challenge of a MOB situation unless you've done drills or been part of the an actual MOB. For Bermuda race, we did MOB drills with a very large Fender and a 53 foot Swan. None of us anticipated how hard the drill would be and how far we'd get before we could turn around and get back to the fender... What was obvious was that each repetition of the drill lead to better performance.

 

My 2 cents, do some drills with your regular crew from time to time.

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If you are in a smaller boat say 3-5 crew members, don't forget that when you lose one of them you're going to be shorthanded. So practice getting the spin down, coming about and retrieving the hat with one person observing and giving feedback after the drill.

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Ahhh yes, it most certainly will. If someone has pics of a certain boat during the last GGYC midwinter race, the proof is there.

 

Actually it is very likely that a spin would get caught up in the rig or you would run it over.

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What is everyone;s opinion on inflatable life jackets v. standard 'ski jacket' or dingy jackets? I tend to almost always wear a dinghy jacket (actually, a 'flotation aid', fwiw) which wont turn me over if im knocked out, but also wont get caught... I realize the new hydrostatic inflatable jackets dont go off with every wave anymore, but i still cant see wearing one on the foredeck for a variety of reasons.

 

when people practice MOB's, do you ever send someone in? (provided it is ideal conditions and warm water and hot air...)

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when people practice MOB's, do you ever send someone in? (provided it is ideal conditions and warm water and hot air...)

 

We did at Safety at Sea. Might put a real person in the water this year to add some realism to the drill. When you have a real person in the water you find that getting back to the MOB is only half the battle, the real challenge would be getting them back on board if the were unable to help.

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Actually it is very likely that a spin would get caught up in the rig or you would run it over.

 

If someone has those photos, you'll see a bunch of people flossing the keel of a J-130 after running the gear. It was one hell of a fucking mess. Still, I won't have knots in the spinny gear. I just won't have someone on the halyard who blows the clutch and lets the halyard run through the mast.

 

Oh, and like everyone says: unless you want to rescue n number of people, keep everyone on the damn boat. If the person is unconscious, he or she is likely screwed in any case. (I hate to sound callous, but after a few minutes w/o oxygen, there isn't a lot of point other than recovering the body). Losing another crew isn't going to help that situation at all.

 

I have extra long halyards just for recovering someone from the waterline. They're long enough to either snap onto the lifesling, or wrap around the MOB if necessary.

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I was always taught that in the event of a MOB you did two things immediately;

 

1 Look at and don't stop looking at the MOB

2 Heading up from whatever angle of sail you were on , and without touching any sheets or guys (braces) tack the boat.

 

The boat will then pretty much stop a lot closer to the MOB and if you are quick close enough for them to swim back to the boat and grab a line.

 

If worst case you took the spin down before you changed course, at night in a decent breeze this would guarantee you have lost the MOB forever.

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My input based on the above comments - take it or leave it!

 

My comments below are based on doing a safety at sea course every year and also having been involved in a really MOB incident when I was a teenager. The bowman went over in the middle of the night in October in the english channel - there was no mooon. The jib had just been hoisted and the spinnaker was half down when he went over the bow and the boat hit him on the head. I was the spotter and I lost the MOB multiple times in the waves as he had no light and no lifejacket on. We got him back after 12 minutes but he was lucky. There was no problem getting him back onboard as people were full of adrenaline.

 

1) I would not have anyone jump in. I do go over the side attached to a halyard when wearing my climbing harness (which normally when racing someone on a race boat has one on) and a lifejacket to help retrieve the MOB. You keep your legs wide and walk down the side of the boat (leeward side) then you get yourself on the outside of the MOB sandwiching them between you and the boat.

 

2) An important thing to do when you get the MOB alongside before trying to get them aboard is to get a line around them - use a bowline on the bite. That way if you pull their jackets off them when trying to get them back onboard and they fall back in at least you have a line around them.

 

3) I would not suggest ever bringing an MOB back aboard on the stern (sorry Marko) the reason is that you will very likely knock them out with the stern which could be moving violently up an down. Also if they are at the stern you have no more chances of grabbing them if they fall back in when trying to get out. If you bring them onto the boat just forward of the chainplates than the recovery crew will not be potentially at risk of being hit on the head by the boom etc. Also if you lose them you have at least half the length of the boat to try and get them again.

 

4) Have everyone on your crew practice driving in an MOB situation and also have someone different than the crew boss or skipper take charge as the most experienced person might be the person who goes over.

 

5) On an offshore boat I normally wire a 12 volt locking outlet at the helm station and when offshore I have an emergency spotlight permanently attached to this 12V outlet with an electical cable the length of the boat. That way if at night someone goes over you have a lot of light at your fingertips.

 

6) No knots is a good idea in my opinion as it allows you to blow the sheets and halyards of a kite and let it go at this point the race is over anyways. As you blow it you turn the boat back upwind just like in a mark rounding to go back to your MOB. However, if you don't turn back upwind you will run over it and it will be a bad thing as you won't be able to start your engine. It is amazing how well the spinnaker just floats away downwind - I have let a spinnaker fly twice in emergency situations. I would only do this if if was dark and we were offshore inshore you should be able to do a normal douse.

 

7) Throw as much over as possible that floats just to litter the area and allow you to find the person if you lose them again.

 

8) when you hit MOB on the GPS remember that if you take 6 minutes to find the person and there is a 2 knot current running they have moved .2 mile and are therefore not at the GPS position. You need to take this into account. If you have a navigator they can do a simple plot (doesn't need to be on the chart) as you return to the MOB they write down COG in True and SOG also the course being steered in T and boat speed. You then plot these two lines and the other side of the triangle is the current direction and speed that you are actually experiencing. If you don't understand my desciption think of a slice of pizza one side is COG and SOG, the other is Course being steered in T and boat speed and the crust is straight and is the direction and speed of the current.

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Ok, so now imagine that MOB situation at night. Anyone out there try your MOB drills at night?

 

Common sense stuff.

 

1) Strobe light for every crewmember. ($25 a pop)

2) High-powered spotlight or two on board. Flashlights don't cut it. ($30)

3) SOLAS reflective tape on lifejackets and MOB gear. (dirt cheap)

4) MOB alert/locator system (more money but still inexpensive compared losing someone).

 

>"unracy it looks, all boats with a freeboard of more than about -75m should have a boarding ladder at the back?

 

Word. Even a rope ladder is better than nothing. Best to have a lifesling and practice using it.

 

Excellent advice on the eqpt. My personal preference is to wear my life jacket (apparently the CG is going to that instead of PFD) because I sail in cold water and typically single hand. Probably got in the habit because of all the dinghy sailing I did where having one on is required by law.

 

I had a terriffic instructor who had a Barbie doll on board for all of a 7 day course. His MOB nmenic is:

B- eam Reach. IMMEDIATELY go to a beam reach.

 

A- bout. Come about.

 

R- ip the jib sheets as the boat comes about; just after the first interval of coming about, the jib is grabbed by the wind and the boat pivot accelerates. Shortly after that, the jib will begin to luff. This is the moment to release (rip) both jib sheets.

 

B- elow. Come below your DIW (dude in the water).

 

I- Irons. Go into irons just as you are coming up on the subject; timing is based on wind speed.

 

E- xtricate.

It takes going over a few times. Everyone has their own best ways to learn; this one worked for me. The guy it came from is named Readfern and is an ASA guy. His old man was US Navy, he was US Navy; one savvy dude and a ton of fun. Single hands a 42' Ketch for pretty good runs.

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We sail on SF Bay.... Everyone always wears PFDs. It's not enough. We need to practice MOBs at least once a month, but it hasn't happened that often.

 

We had our local "Rock Star" sailmaker out for a less than important winter race last year. I told him that a PFD was mandatory on our boat............ He scoffed, I insisted---he reluctantly put on the one I handed him---- lots of mumbling and general "bunch of pussies" attitude. The guys nickname starts with E.---

He is not a petite individual.........

He must have had a lot of confidence in our crew recovery abilities------- we never actually discussed them. We do have a Cruiser/racer, but did not buy the "cargo hoist" option so recovering the sailmaker was not a done deal........

His attitude toward the crew during the race did not increase his chance of recovery if he was the MOB.......

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My input based on the above comments - take it or leave it!

 

My comments below are based on doing a safety at sea course every year and also having been involved in a really MOB incident when I was a teenager. The bowman went over in the middle of the night in October in the english channel - there was no mooon. The jib had just been hoisted and the spinnaker was half down when he went over the bow and the boat hit him on the head. I was the spotter and I lost the MOB multiple times in the waves as he had no light and no lifejacket on. We got him back after 12 minutes but he was lucky. There was no problem getting him back onboard as people were full of adrenaline.

 

1) I would not have anyone jump in. I do go over the side attached to a halyard when wearing my climbing harness (which normally when racing someone on a race boat has one on) and a lifejacket to help retrieve the MOB. You keep your legs wide and walk down the side of the boat (leeward side) then you get yourself on the outside of the MOB sandwiching them between you and the boat.

 

2) An important thing to do when you get the MOB alongside before trying to get them aboard is to get a line around them - use a bowline on the bite. That way if you pull their jackets off them when trying to get them back onboard and they fall back in at least you have a line around them.

 

3) I would not suggest ever bringing an MOB back aboard on the stern (sorry Marko) the reason is that you will very likely knock them out with the stern which could be moving violently up an down. Also if they are at the stern you have no more chances of grabbing them if they fall back in when trying to get out. If you bring them onto the boat just forward of the chainplates than the recovery crew will not be potentially at risk of being hit on the head by the boom etc. Also if you lose them you have at least half the length of the boat to try and get them again.

 

4) Have everyone on your crew practice driving in an MOB situation and also have someone different than the crew boss or skipper take charge as the most experienced person might be the person who goes over.

 

5) On an offshore boat I normally wire a 12 volt locking outlet at the helm station and when offshore I have an emergency spotlight permanently attached to this 12V outlet with an electical cable the length of the boat. That way if at night someone goes over you have a lot of light at your fingertips.

 

6) No knots is a good idea in my opinion as it allows you to blow the sheets and halyards of a kite and let it go at this point the race is over anyways. As you blow it you turn the boat back upwind just like in a mark rounding to go back to your MOB. However, if you don't turn back upwind you will run over it and it will be a bad thing as you won't be able to start your engine. It is amazing how well the spinnaker just floats away downwind - I have let a spinnaker fly twice in emergency situations. I would only do this if if was dark and we were offshore inshore you should be able to do a normal douse.

 

7) Throw as much over as possible that floats just to litter the area and allow you to find the person if you lose them again.

 

8) when you hit MOB on the GPS remember that if you take 6 minutes to find the person and there is a 2 knot current running they have moved .2 mile and are therefore not at the GPS position. You need to take this into account. If you have a navigator they can do a simple plot (doesn't need to be on the chart) as you return to the MOB they write down COG in True and SOG also the course being steered in T and boat speed. You then plot these two lines and the other side of the triangle is the current direction and speed that you are actually experiencing. If you don't understand my desciption think of a slice of pizza one side is COG and SOG, the other is Course being steered in T and boat speed and the crust is straight and is the direction and speed of the current.

 

Some more excellent material. Don't forget that a boat hook significantly expands your reach is the manuever wasn't text book in terms of boat position/ MOB subject

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I'm not sure about the implication on the front page that a PFD would have saved the MOB if she'd been knocked out. Splash will kill unconscious people in the water pretty quickly, according to the former head of US Sailing safety (a former US Navy officer). As he says, if someone goes into the water unconscious, a buoyancy aid will simply help you to find the body more easily.

 

I've also read that winching someone with bad hypothermia aboard in a vertical position can kill them quickly. IIRC the warm oxygenated blood, which has gone to the body core to keep the vital organs going, will drop to the feet and legs as the person is moved to the vertical position and the pressure on the leg is reduced. Can anyone confirm?

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As a sailing instructor I do hundreds of MOBs in a year. In your arsenal you should be able to do, by day and night:

  • Upwind MOB (under sail)
  • Downwind MOB (under sail)
  • Anderson turn (power)
  • Williamson turn (power)

(http://www.mobilarm.com/page/man_overboard_rescue_turns.html) for the last two.

 

 

 

In my experience the most effective upwind method is the heave-to, sail-to, heave-to method. It is similar to a quick-stop, except you finish hove-to.

 

  1. Heave to immediately, you may just drift back.
  2. If not, sail on a beam reach until MOB is abeam. Do not touch the sails.
  3. Sail down wind with sails sheeted in) until MOB is off the quarter.
  4. Gybe (or chicken gybe in big winds) and head up on a close reach / close hauled until MOB is off the quarter.
  5. Heave-to and drift in.

This can be done by one person. There is no need to take down sails and you do not end up with sails, sheets and clews flying around. The MOB is on the leeward side which is closer to the water.

 

The downwind I use is the same as most others. But rather than heading up and luffing, sail by the MOB until off the quarter and heave-to.

 

By heaving-to you have much more control and if you miss you just keep sailing around the MOB.

 

Prevention is the best course.

 

My crews (mainly cruising) wear inflatable PFDs and are tethered at night and offshore. Each has a strobe, whistle, flashlight and a knive.

 

A note on tethers. While many bring their own tethers, the boat I use for instruction has its own tethers which we place strategically around the boat with 4 on jacklines and 4 in the cockpit. As you exit the companionway you get a tether. If you are going forward, you clip to another tether before releasing the first one. I have crewed on race boats on which each person has their own tether requiring that they unclip to move from cockpit to jackline or to switch jacklines during a tack. That scares the crap out of me.

 

On stopper knots, jibs have never been a problem. But I never use stooper knots on gennakers or spinnakers. If all hell breaks loose I want them gone.

 

On floatation, get what ever you can to the MOB. I have a bias against cockpit cushions, having slipped on one, cracking a rib against a binnacle. I like life slings. In Canada we are required to have heaving lines and our liferings have their one 50 foot lines.

 

For sure have a plan to get them back on board. In my part of the world, hypothermia can be a big problem. Remember life over limb.

 

If you can take the time to practice gybing a spinnaker, you should be able to find time to practice MOB.

 

Have crew members trained in first aid, preferably beyond standard first aid which assumes EMS will be there within 8 minutes.

 

Jack

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I've also read that winching someone with bad hypothermia aboard in a vertical position can kill them quickly. IIRC the warm oxygenated blood, which has gone to the body core to keep the vital organs going, will drop to the feet and legs as the person is moved to the vertical position and the pressure on the leg is reduced. Can anyone confirm?

 

I was also taught that. The way they suggested getting them back on was by putting them in a sail and horizontally lifting them back on the boat.

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I've also read that winching someone with bad hypothermia aboard in a vertical position can kill them quickly. IIRC the warm oxygenated blood, which has gone to the body core to keep the vital organs going, will drop to the feet and legs as the person is moved to the vertical position and the pressure on the leg is reduced. Can anyone confirm?

 

I do know that care needs to be taken to ensure that the cold blood that has collected in the extremeties does not get to the heart causing cardiac arrest. If they have been in the HELP position, keep them there.

 

Jack

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For the first time in many, many moons I went out as crew on another boat in SF Bay a couple of weekends ago. Boat was being prepared for a season of racing and did not have the lifelines up yet. As we worked towards the Gate the wind was building, we had the #1 up and were discussing coming behind Alcatraz to get in the lee for a headsail change. I looked back at the LifeSling on the stern pulpit and asked if it was at the ready, owner said yes except it wasn't tied to the boat.

I went aft and tied it on as they prepared to douse the #1 and set the #3 for a run up to the GG Bridge.

I brought up the suggestion that we discuss a man overboard situation before we went under the bridge and prepared to hoist the spinny for the run back. I seemed to have the most experience onboard so didn't mind if I sounded too much in "charge" with my suggestions.

 

After the set the helmsman had some difficulty reacting to my directions to come up some as he was keeping the boat almost ddw and we were starting to do some death rolls with the owner and rookie on the foredeck dealing with the jib. Scared the shit out of me with the potential of where we were and what we were and were not doing.

 

All turned out ok but SHIT! Potential was there.

 

Always pissed the wife off when we were sailing by ourselves and I would duck below on our Santana 525 and toss a seat cushion over the side and yell "Man Overboard". She would just look and me and say, "not now, I don't want to do that". :angry: I would just tell her, "ok, just consider me dead"

 

Did it regularly with my crew, they at least responded to me. :lol:

 

I wear a PFD every time I go out, even on the lakes. Rather float than bob.

racers have to wear PFD's when racing here, it took a MOB death in race years back. the guy drowned in front of a lot of nearby boats.

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Always pissed the wife off when we were sailing by ourselves and I would duck below on our Santana 525 and toss a seat cushion over the side and yell "Man Overboard". She would just look and me and say, "not now, I don't want to do that". :angry: I would just tell her, "ok, just consider me dead"

 

Did it regularly with my crew, they at least responded to me. :lol:

 

I wear a PFD every time I go out, even on the lakes. Rather float than bob.

 

My Dad used to do this to us when I was a kid. Practice is good, but practice without the "leader" calling the shots is super important. EVERYONE needs to know what to do when TSHTF, and how to assume the role of the MOB. Full-crew practice recoveries of fenders isn't quite the same as doing the real deal a man short, especially on smaller boats w/smaller crews.

 

+1 on lots of good stuff from lots of folks on this thread. Gets a guy thinking -- am I really ready?

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I've also read that winching someone with bad hypothermia aboard in a vertical position can kill them quickly. IIRC the warm oxygenated blood, which has gone to the body core to keep the vital organs going, will drop to the feet and legs as the person is moved to the vertical position and the pressure on the leg is reduced. Can anyone confirm?

Without doing the physiology lesson – anyone acutely unwell/shocked will be less likely to keep their blood pressure stable than normal.

 

If you were really fluey & I got you out of bed & stood you up you would be wizzy in the head, so you would sit down/fall down quickly & it would take a little while to feel better.

 

If you get wizzy on a winch in a vertical position you will be up there long enough to pass out -> become unconscious -> potentially not maintain an airway -> potentially cardio/or respiratory compromise big time = potentially death.

 

If you want the physiology (more detail) lesson or hypothermia (more detail) I’ll look something up from some experts

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if under sail, what would be the best way to do a MOB? I used to do a triangle at a camp i used to go to. MOB while above a beam reach, i think it was turn DDW for x lengths. Gybe, come back up wind and approach on a beam reach. If below a beam reach, turn upwind. Somehow though, i cant see this working in real seas or anything other than <18kts and small chop...

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When I was a sailing instructor we did "real" MOB practice all the time if the jellyfish weren't too bad. Worked great for a lady that just could not get the concept. I whispered to her 12 year old to pick a random time in the next 10 minutes and jump overboard. He loved it and mom suddenly got some inspiration. Worked not so great when a very fat chick, having watched everyone else (but me of course!) get their turn in the water on a hot day, shouted MY TURN and despite ALL of us yelling NO she went right in. The boats had no boarding ladders :o Anyone in reasonable shape could climb in, but she was far from that. There was no way the rest of us could get her in the boat without really hurting her. We towed her back to Annapolis :lol:

 

Please note that this was all done in bathwater warm water in good weather not in a channel if anyone needs to go try it and the MOB always had a PFD on.

 

What is everyone;s opinion on inflatable life jackets v. standard 'ski jacket' or dingy jackets? I tend to almost always wear a dinghy jacket (actually, a 'flotation aid', fwiw) which wont turn me over if im knocked out, but also wont get caught... I realize the new hydrostatic inflatable jackets dont go off with every wave anymore, but i still cant see wearing one on the foredeck for a variety of reasons.

 

when people practice MOB's, do you ever send someone in? (provided it is ideal conditions and warm water and hot air...)

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Worked not so great when a very fat chick, having watched everyone else (but me of course!) get their turn in the water on a hot day, shouted MY TURN and despite ALL of us yelling NO she went right in. The boats had no boarding ladders :o Anyone in reasonable shape could climb in, but she was far from that. There was no way the rest of us could get her in the boat without really hurting her. We towed her back to Annapolis :lol:

 

Hahahahaha.

 

Funny stuff.

 

DG

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Even when racing? I disagree. Offshore, yes. At night, yes. Cruising, yes. When racing, I'm sorry, but the disadvantages are too much for me. If it wasn't for the fucking things getting caught on the lifelines when you tack, I'd be fine with it.

 

Also, it seems that a lot of people are confusing lifejacket with safety harness. Unfortunately it seems pretty hard to buy a safety harness on its own nowadays. The harness is the most important bit as it stops you going MOB in the first place. A lifejacket just lets you float until you die of hypothermia.

 

Interesting that you say that. I happen to disagree, but then it's your choice.

 

I have an old-school style mustang inflatable. The collar gets caught on the lifeline and the top part of it unfolds. After that happens the first time in the day, it doesn't happen again. You might think it looks goofy being unfolded like that, but not as goofy as your blue-faced drowned ass in a casket with your mom crying over it.

 

Of course, the newer inflatables have different collars which don't get caught. I'm just too cheap to buy one.

 

With regard to the harness, my lifejacket includes a harness. Everybody should get the harness version.

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I have an old style inflatable life vest that uses the Water Activation Bobbins. I had it trigger once while on the bow pinned to the lee life lines (All I could see was yellow for a while) and reluctantly sail with it set for manual inflate only since.

 

Has anybody ever convereted one of these bobbin activated vests to a depth(hydrostatic) triggered auto vest?

 

-jaya

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I've got a relatively new lifejacket (maybe two years). It's never started to come unpacked at the neck. What happens is that, when sitting in normal position, the lifejacket part at the nape of the neck hangs downwards on top of the harness part to which it's attached. When I pull my head out from the guardrails, the rail goes in between the harness and the lifejacket.

 

When I did my RYA dinghy instructors course (different boats I know, but the same principle), I was told this:

1. Someone keeps an eye on the MOB at all times.

2. Let the jib fly (furl or drop it if you've got the crew, but only after you've headed to a beam reach) and lose the kite if necessary - the quicker the better.

3. Head onto slightly lower than a beam reach; keep going for about eight boat lengths (I wouldn't go as far in a bigger boat)

4. Tack around

5. Head back, again slightly lower than a beam reach, so that you're about four BL from the MOB when you're on the 'layline'

6. Head towards them, using the mainsheet to control speed - ease it so only the leech is working.

7. Stop with MOB at windward shrouds.

 

In a yacht, I would collect the MOB at the leeward shrouds.

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I have an old style inflatable life vest that uses the Water Activation Bobbins. I had it trigger once while on the bow pinned to the lee life lines (All I could see was yellow for a while) and reluctantly sail with it set for manual inflate only since.

 

Has anybody ever convereted one of these bobbin activated vests to a depth(hydrostatic) triggered auto vest?

 

-jaya

 

left one in the dink dink once when we went for lunch. Came back and it had inflated from the little bit of water in the bilge. Also had one go off under the dodger in breezy weather. Supposedly the new jackets are a lot better, but i havent used one. My jacket is manual inflation since the last time it went off. Really rather pointless to wear as the waters i sail in wont make me go hypothermic and if i get knocked out it wont do jack shit.

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Three things needed for good MOB recovery:

 

1) Stay close to the MOB. Don't screw around doing some version of a perfect spinnaker drop/hoist and then heading back upwind. I happen to like the Quickstop (used it in a real MOB situation once with the spinny up in 28-35 knots). Use any technique you want but whatever you do, stay close.

 

2) Find a way to contact the MOB without having to be a superb driver. It's actually incredibly hard to get a boat close to a MOB (especially if the MOB is cold or confused). The Lifesling does a good job of that, you can get within 50 feet or so and still make contact, and it has flotation. They make some pretty lightweight, throwable lines that work well too (but they don't have flotation on the end of the line).

 

3) Figure out a way to get them back aboard. The Lifesling is best for this, a block and tackle can work (I prefer a 5:1) or a halyard. But the example below is pretty indicative of what can happen in a MOB situation. That person would be dead if they were in the cold water of SF Bay, PNW, or New England.

 

And as far as people having cardiac problems if hoisted vertically: true that, in most cases it won't cause death, and in my opinion it's better to get someone out of the water (especially if it's marginally cold) than to leave them in the water because you're afraid of them passing out or having a heart attack. Rolling people onboard in a sail just doesn't work. Try it yourself sometime, you're likely to roll out or get drowned in the process.

 

All the advice above works pretty well for shorthanded boats. For fully crewed boats you may be able to do things differently, but for god's sake practice a few times to see what works. Parts 2 and 3 above are absolutely the hardest thing to do.

 

Lots of interesting case studies here: http://www.ussailing.org/safety/Studies/studies.asp the most interesting reading is the Lifesling case histories, but for sure this is the best single place that I've seen for getting information about MOB issues.

 

When I was a sailing instructor we did "real" MOB practice all the time if the jellyfish weren't too bad. Worked great for a lady that just could not get the concept. I whispered to her 12 year old to pick a random time in the next 10 minutes and jump overboard. He loved it and mom suddenly got some inspiration. Worked not so great when a very fat chick, having watched everyone else (but me of course!) get their turn in the water on a hot day, shouted MY TURN and despite ALL of us yelling NO she went right in. The boats had no boarding ladders :o Anyone in reasonable shape could climb in, but she was far from that. There was no way the rest of us could get her in the boat without really hurting her. We towed her back to Annapolis :lol:

 

Please note that this was all done in bathwater warm water in good weather not in a channel if anyone needs to go try it and the MOB always had a PFD on.

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Three things needed for good MOB recovery:

 

2) Find a way to contact the MOB without having to be a superb driver. It's actually incredibly hard to get a boat close to a MOB (especially if the MOB is cold or confused). The Lifesling does a good job of that, you can get within 50 feet or so and still make contact, and it has flotation. They make some pretty lightweight, throwable lines that work well too (but they don't have flotation on the end of the line).

 

 

Rolling people onboard in a sail just doesn't work. Try it yourself sometime, you're likely to roll out or get drowned in the process.

 

Come in hove-to. We practice that a lot. It works well.

 

The throwable lines we use have flotation. Like this.

 

I spoke to someone who had been lifted in a foresail; they felt like they were drowning.

 

Jack

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The club I crew PHRF boats at had a drowning a few years before I started sailing there and afterwards placed two rules in effect;

 

1) Everyone must wear a life jacket during all races. Inflatable lifejackets are allowed.

2) No beer on the boat during races.

 

At first I thought it was a little extreme, but after a few years I got used to the rules. No one complains at all.

 

 

jgs1205

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