The two times I've had to do an actual real MOB recovery, the MOB did manage to hang onto most of what was thrown in the water to them.
We did have to do a second go round for the MOB pole in the case where we used it... the drogue on it didn't deploy IIRC, and it floated away from the MOB.
Of course, I'm a big fan of keeping people on the damn boat in the first place...
Another question - if it's your one true love who's gone over the side, and you fail to locate them on your own and have to call in SAR, are you going to regret NOT leaving a debris field using whatever you have available?
That being said, if you do find yourself in this situation (not as common as this discussion makes it seem) are you really going to go back and retrieve whatever you did throw overboard (styrofoam, cushion, 4 PFDs, or otherwise)?
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You know what the first rule of sailing is? ...Love. You can learn all the math in the 'verse, but you take
a boat to the sea you don't love, she'll shake you off just as sure as the turning of the worlds. Love keeps
her going when she oughta fall down, tells you she's hurting 'fore she keens. Makes her a home.
—Cpt. Mal Reynolds, Serenity (edited)
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Still—DON'T READ THAT POST AGAIN.