I hate to disagree with you dog; but when it comes to a MOB all rules regarding what you can and can't throw overboard should be "suspended". While I understand your point that what you throw should "help" the victim; the chances are that he won't be able to swim to the horseshoe anyway.
A MOB pole is strictly for line of sight visibility from the water surface; so that's not going to help a helicopter see him; nor is it going to help him stay afloat. By all means get the MOB pole over (with a horseshoe attached) as quickly as possible; also mark MOB on your 'plotter as a waypoint immediately (some plotters have a MOB button). Don't throw every retrieval device you have in the water; you will need something for recovery also. Think about how hard it can be to see the flagstick on a golf green in poor visibility (when you know where the fairway is) and then multiply that by 10 (360 degrees). That is how difficult it could be to find a MOB pole in low visibility in a seaway.
A debris field -in addition to MOB pole- is the best way to help mark/locate a MOB because it provides a bit of a landmark and area to search around. Cockpit cushions; paper plates; styro plates; etc should go in to help mark location. The flotsam may be blown downwind of the victim so if you went directly upwind of the flotsam it should put you nearer the victim's location (relative to that flotsam). Remember that seeing ANYTHING that marks a location relative to the last known location of the victim is better than seeing nothing at all (say for example visibility of the MOB pole was lost; the debris field might be easier to find by the helicopter -when it arrives-).
Last edited by KeelHaulin; 01-15-2008 at 11:40 AM.