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post #8 of Old 01-14-2003
Jeff_H's Avatar
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What''''s wrong with the MOB Poll?

The reason that there is so much discussion about rescuing a MOB is that it really is not all that easy to do. While you can often pick up a dropped object on a pass or two while on the fly. To bring a person aboard you need to end up stopped, close to the person and with control enough to stay there a matter of minutes sometimes. MOB incidents often occur in high winds and rough seas and so just turning and going back is not going to work. A violent jibe or a back winded jib can prevent you from returning and stopping accurately near the MOB.

In cold weather, when people wear more clothes and even worse foul weather gear, you have a surprisingly short time to make a rescue sometimes. I have told the story here of ending up in the water in late fall in foul weather gear in a short chop. Even with a life jacket on, I had trouble getting my head above water and out of the spray long enough to catch a breath. By the time the rescue boat got to me, I was so out of breath and so cold, that I hardly had the strength to get myself out of the water. It took three attempts to get back on board even after I had a grip on the rescue boat, each with me running out of strength and falling back into the water, before I made it on board. The third time, I pulled my body part way out of the water and let the water drain from my foul weather gear for a few seconds, then several times more pulled myself up a little higher, and let more out until most of my torso was out of the water. Finally using whatever strength I had left was able to climb aboard.

I am actually pretty fit for a 52 year old although not extremely so. I don''t beleive that a non-physically fit person would have gotten out of the water that day and if the boat still had foward motion they would have lost me. The lesson for me is to get back quickly and get stopped.

Lastly if you think this is so easy, really practice an unexpected rescue. I have a MOB practice device that I use on board that consists of a bright yellow antifreeze bottle, with a spare drougue from a horseshoe flotation device and a polypropelene loop of rope to make retrieval easier. Several times a season, my wife or I will go below to use the head or grab something from the galley. While we''re below we will grab the MOB practice device and from down below throw it out the hatch and into the water, shouting ''Man Over Board''. It is stunning how hard it is to get back to the MOB and get stopped when this happens unexpectedly. I am always surprised at how far the boat travels in the time it takes to swing the wheel and start back. We have actually lost sight of the bottle on several occasions ding gusty/choppy conditions. Usually it takes two or three passes the first time this occurs during a season.

(By the way on your ''steer into the skid'' comment. Most people who are not experienced drivers intuitively try to turn into the turn because the feel like the car is failing to turn when it starts to skid. Steering into the skid is actually counter-intuitive for most new drivers. It is only after you have driven for a while that ''steer into the skid'' becomes second nature.)


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