Man Overboard - Practical Steps to Ensure Survival

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Man Overboard - Practical Steps to Ensure Survival

Post by Workman » Mar 24th, '16, 21:40

A worthwhile article by by John Martin, who is with the N.Z. Island Cruising Association, has just been published on the website today.

The article, Man Overboard - Practical Steps to Ensure Survival is a down-to-earth examination of an important yachting safety topic. For example, in part, he writes ..

You’d think the most likely time someone would fall overboard at sea was in bad weather with rough seas and a pitching, heaving vessel... you’d be wrong!

There’s no question that men are more likely to go over the side than women. Now this is not, as you may have first thought, a sexist comment, but rather the nature of the male beast. There are more MOBs recovered with their fly undone than in any other state - the reason obvious. Unfortunately this action also accounts for many going over the side without a harness or anyone else on deck at the time. (snip)

Put some watch rules in place, if you’re going forward at all, have someone in the cockpit at all times. It’s up to the skipper to decide when it’s mandatory to wear harnesses, tethers and all the gear, unfortunately for them, they’re the most likely to go overboard in the first place. On Wind Flower, Lyn is always in the cockpit when I go on deck and its mandatory to wear all the gear, every time when we’re at sea.

So someone’s gone overboard - the choices they have made first up will determine their survival, as will the choices you make from here. Even if you can stop, can you then dump the sails and do you have some way of getting your victim back aboard?

Never go overboard yourself to assist the MOB - essentially you’ll then have two MOBs in the water instead of one. Even in a situation where you have more than one additional crew-member to assist, please resist the urge to put a swimmer in the water.

Some books and articles recommend bringing the MOB to the back of the boat for recovery. I disagree for two reasons. I believe this to be the most dangerous place on the boat, particularly when you’re in a seaway and laying a-hull. If the person gets sucked under the stern and the next wave drops the boat on them it’s lights out. You’ll also find it hard to rig a lifting strop at the stern as a halyard will want to pull forwards, again exacerbating the under-the-stern problem. Bringing an MOB over the side allows easier hoisting set up and better protection for the MOB. (snip)

Your sails are down, you’re in position and your MOB is alongside, now what? Again you’ve got choices and these are going to be influenced by the health of the MOB. First up though, BE CAREFUL, regardless if it’s a loved one you’re desperate to get back aboard, stop and think - the last thing you want is two of you in the water. By practicing in advance you should already have a clear idea of what works on your boat and be able to put this in place quickly.

Think of an MOB recovery as being like a military engagement, you’ll hear Generals say, plan, plan and plan again but they all know after the first contact these plans go to hell, so, obey my first rule of MOB - DON’T GO OVER THE SIDE!!

Ref: ... e-survival



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