Originally Posted by MarkSF
The previous owner of my boat ably demonstrated why you do not start the engine when you are sailing and have an MOB. He sucked a line into the prop, so then you had : a disabled, sinking boat, AND an MOB in trouble. The MOB couldn't swim to the boat. Thanks to the coastguard the guy JUST survived, and it was a close thing. There is too much going on to safely drop all the sails and start the engine.
There is one hard and fast rule...that is that there are no hard and fast rules.
Starting the engine can be invaluable in getting back to a MOB in many circumstances (current, sea state, wind, obstructions, etc.) - so I don't buy the above dictum that "you do not start the engine when you are sailing...".
The key in that case is to keep your wits about you - and just make sure there are no lines in the water before you hit the switch. Then of course, make sure you don't chop the chap when you roll up on his clumsy self.
Whatever it takes to stop the boat and quickly get back to the floater - do it.