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Go Back   SailNet Community > Out There > Cruising and Sailing with Children
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Cruising and Sailing with Children All things sailing and kids related, from safety to life aboard.


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  #11  
Old 08-27-2012
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Re: Kid overboad plan

Quote:
Originally Posted by caberg View Post
...As long as my wife gets to him...
This is an assumption, and not by any means a given...

If conditions are marginal, either due to sea state or visibility, then MOB #2 may not be able to find MOB #1. At that point you're now facing having to find and recover two people and not just one, hampered by the fact that now you must do it all alone.

The most successful plan is the one that doesn't include the kid being in the water. Do anything/everything to keep that from happening in the first place. Tethers, leashes, safety netting, duct tape, velcro suits -- whatever works. Keep the kid on the boat and this becomes a moot discussion.
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  #12  
Old 08-27-2012
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Re: Kid overboad plan

If the spouse jumps in, then instead of one person in the water, you now have two to find. That may be fine for flat seas or a lake, but when the swells hit 4ish feet (+), it becomes difficult to keep an eye on that person overboard.

I propose the following: Instead of your wife jumping in, have her keep a constant watch on the KOB (Kid Overboard) while you do everything in your power to shut down and redirect the boat. Now you have four eyes to retrieve the child instead of two. SHe never takes her eyes off of the KOB. THat is important. SHe doesnt help sail, or motor, or pull off sheets. All she does is watch the child.

That is our MO. I would suggest tossing over a lifejacket in 4+ foot seas and watch how quickly it dissapears without constant watch. I cannot imagine the stress of having to steer the boat, turn her around, etc and then find two people in the seas.

You might consider a MOB pole as an alternative to the wife jumping in. THere is even one that pops out a lifejacket as I recall. Saw it on a post in Sailnet I think. Here is the standard:

Plastimo - Telescoping Crew Overboard Pole - Orange Floats - 48875

If you have trouble being comfortable sailing with the kids on board as you are very worried about losing one, you could invest in one of these. It seem to be the ultimate for safety and protection:

RAYMARINE LIFETAG WIRELESS MOB W/BASE STATION AND - E12185

Just my opinions and some thoughts.

Brian
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  #13  
Old 08-27-2012
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Re: Kid overboad plan

Regarding your question about how far away the kid would be. I'd suggest that everyone who drives practice the Quickstop. Essentially just heave-to immediately when someone goes ovbd. Whatever the point of sail, just turn through the wind, backing the headsail, then turn reverse the helm. Practice and figure out how best to execute it on your boat, especially off the wind - even with a chute up. We practiced it frequently by tossing something in the water and seeing how far away we get before the boat stops. If the helmsman reacts well, it's usually about a boat length away. Most of the time, we ended up close enough (maybe 1 boat length, 2 at the most) for my wife to jump in, swim to the kid, and for them both to swim back to the boat. All I had to do was lock the helm down, throw a floating line out, get the ladder down and cheer them on.

If we were slower to react or some other factors dictated, then maneuvering the boat back to them took more time and required more steps.
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Old 08-27-2012
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Re: Kid overboad plan

Quote:
Originally Posted by PorFin View Post
This is an assumption, and not by any means a given...

If conditions are marginal, either due to sea state or visibility, then MOB #2 may not be able to find MOB #1. At that point you're now facing having to find and recover two people and not just one, hampered by the fact that now you must do it all alone.

The most successful plan is the one that doesn't include the kid being in the water. Do anything/everything to keep that from happening in the first place. Tethers, leashes, safety netting, duct tape, velcro suits -- whatever works. Keep the kid on the boat and this becomes a moot discussion.
We were obviously thinking the same thing.

Brian
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  #15  
Old 08-27-2012
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Re: Kid overboad plan

Good points about needing to recover two people instead of just one. We're on Lake Champlain and although we can get 4+ foot waves, we certainly would not be out in the wind that it would take to create those conditions. Even with 15-20 kts of breeze, often we're only seeing waves 1-2 feet because we'll hug protected shorelines. That said, wave action is one reason why my wife wants to go over if the kid does, since we're worried that a combination of going under in the fall, then panicking, then being tossed about in the waves might cause him to take in some water. So at least wife could help calm him and make sure he's not taking waves in the face. By 5-6 years old, maybe not an issue, but at 3 he has no concept of remaining calm in a stressful situation.

I like paperbird's reference to a quickstop within 1-2 boat lengths of the person overboard--that's impressive and I will definitely try this out myself to see if I can achieve similar results. I guess the main point is to practice and see what happens and what works.

Finally, the goal is obviously to not have anyone go overboard ever. But it's never a moot point because it can happen no matter the precautions so it's worthwhile to think about it and plan. I know some people tether, and that's about as much protection as you can get from going over, but really our kid would not like being tethered at all and I do want sailing to be a positive, fun experience. Under certain conditions I can see why you might tether, but for the type of sailing we're typically doing on the lake I think it would be overkill.

Thanks for all the tips/advice, etc!
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Old 08-27-2012
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Re: Kid overboad plan

Quote:
Originally Posted by caberg View Post
Good points about needing to recover two people instead of just one. We're on Lake Champlain and although we can get 4+ foot waves, we certainly would not be out in the wind that it would take to create those conditions. Even with 15-20 kts of breeze, often we're only seeing waves 1-2 feet because we'll hug protected shorelines. That said, wave action is one reason why my wife wants to go over if the kid does, since we're worried that a combination of going under in the fall, then panicking, then being tossed about in the waves might cause him to take in some water. So at least wife could help calm him and make sure he's not taking waves in the face. By 5-6 years old, maybe not an issue, but at 3 he has no concept of remaining calm in a stressful situation.

I like paperbird's reference to a quickstop within 1-2 boat lengths of the person overboard--that's impressive and I will definitely try this out myself to see if I can achieve similar results. I guess the main point is to practice and see what happens and what works.

Finally, the goal is obviously to not have anyone go overboard ever. But it's never a moot point because it can happen no matter the precautions so it's worthwhile to think about it and plan. I know some people tether, and that's about as much protection as you can get from going over, but really our kid would not like being tethered at all and I do want sailing to be a positive, fun experience. Under certain conditions I can see why you might tether, but for the type of sailing we're typically doing on the lake I think it would be overkill.

Thanks for all the tips/advice, etc!
If you want a real education on the subject, discuss it with your wife and have her agree to chuck a seat cushion (that you can afford to loose) overboard, unannounced, at some point. Ideally she should do so somewhat after you've had the discussion so it's really a surprise to you--and not something you're anticipating--and then sit down and keep still/quiet. It will take you a quite a few seconds--at best--to realize what's happened during which, even at a stately 4 knots, you'll cover several hundred feet. A child's head in the water, even with him/her wearing a "floatie" is only about 6" in diameter and I'll wager 10 bucks you'll have a hard time spotting it, even in small swells, to say nothing of 4' seas, just as you will the cushion. The quick stop maneuver will bring the yacht to a stop--but you'll have to take your eyes off the COB and if you do so, even momentarily, you'll likely not be able to reacquire the COB if there's any seaway at all.

I appreciate your interest in making sailing a "a positive, fun experience" for your child but relinquishing authority/common sense to be your child's "pal" is a fool's errand. Would you allow the child to travel in your car without wearing a seat-belt, even if you're only going a mile to the local convenience store? (I certainly hope not!) The same applies to the yacht. Ensuring the child's safety is your primary obligation as a parent, not ensuring that he/she has fun.

Our daughter sailed with use from the time she was a tiny baby. When she came on deck, she wore a PFD and a tether. No questions asked, no discussion. Her mother too wore--and still wears--an inflatable PFD on deck and puts it on just as she does a seat belt--before we leave the slip or "driveway".

On our boat we have a routine. When we're getting ready to leave the slip, we recite the "Rules". The first rule is "Safety First". The second rule is "Always hold onto the boat", etc. My daughter learned the Rules and could recite them by the time she was 2-1/2 years old. She's 19 now and still recites the Rules as do we all. Ignoring common sense safety measures for the sake of your opinion of "fun" for your child is overkill, and could very well end up being exactly that.

FWIW...
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  #17  
Old 08-27-2012
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Re: Kid overboad plan

Thanks, svHyLyte. Certainly appreciate the insights. Never meant to suggest that I'd take unreasonable risks for the sake of fun, because that's definitely not me. Perhaps sailing on my lake up here is a different experience than what others have on the ocean. I don't think tethering here on this lake on most days can fairly be analogized to wearing a seatbelt in the car.

Just out of curiosity, what did you tether to, how long was the tether, where could your daughter go while tethered? Our rule is that when we're underway, our son has his feet on the cockpit floor or his butt on a cockpit seat. If he follows that rule, it would be virtually impossible for him to go over, but nothing is certain. I just see the tether getting hung up, wrapped around legs, etc., but since I haven't tried it guess I really can't comment.

I will try the suggestion about the seat cushion. Again, I think it must be a bit different up here on the lake. Growing up with a power boat on this lake and water skiing/wake boarding, I've never really had a problem seeing a person in the water.
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  #18  
Old 08-27-2012
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Re: Kid overboad plan

Hi caberg,
My initial answer began with a joke because I didn't think there would be this much discussion on the subject. Sorry for that.

As others have posted above, they are correct. Never allow anyone to go into the water after a man overboard. Period. In a worst case scenario, you would lose not only your child but also your wife. Devastating.

In Canada, it is illegal to tow a water skier without a spotter in the boat. The reason is common sense, you can't be watching behind you while also steering the boat competently. The same logic works for MOB. Your wife needs to be onboard in order to act as a spotter - panic'd or not, it's her mother's duty to keep her eyes on the kid. FWIW, the kid should also practice watching and pointing at the MOB during any sort of drill you do; Make it a game and he'll get the idea and the training may save you or your wife one day.

As I said in my original post, the MOB procedure remains the same whether it's a kid or adult. Pick the procedure that works for you and practice.

(Remember the 3 most important rules of sailing, "Stay on the boat, stay on the boat, stay on the boat".)
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  #19  
Old 08-27-2012
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Re: Kid overboad plan

Quote:
Originally Posted by caberg View Post
Good points about needing to recover two people instead of just one. We're on Lake Champlain and although we can get 4+ foot waves, we certainly would not be out in the wind that it would take to create those conditions. Even with 15-20 kts of breeze, often we're only seeing waves 1-2 feet because we'll hug protected shorelines. That said, wave action is one reason why my wife wants to go over if the kid does, since we're worried that a combination of going under in the fall, then panicking, then being tossed about in the waves might cause him to take in some water. So at least wife could help calm him and make sure he's not taking waves in the face. By 5-6 years old, maybe not an issue, but at 3 he has no concept of remaining calm in a stressful situation.

I like paperbird's reference to a quickstop within 1-2 boat lengths of the person overboard--that's impressive and I will definitely try this out myself to see if I can achieve similar results. I guess the main point is to practice and see what happens and what works.

Finally, the goal is obviously to not have anyone go overboard ever. But it's never a moot point because it can happen no matter the precautions so it's worthwhile to think about it and plan. I know some people tether, and that's about as much protection as you can get from going over, but really our kid would not like being tethered at all and I do want sailing to be a positive, fun experience. Under certain conditions I can see why you might tether, but for the type of sailing we're typically doing on the lake I think it would be overkill.

Thanks for all the tips/advice, etc!
THis is a great thread and glad you started it!! Take everything here as it is meant (positive).

Like SvHylyte, we raised (and still do) our kids on board. What life jacket are you using? For young children or any who do not know how to swim, I believe Mustang is the only way to go. They float the child head-up, have a crotch strap, and a grab line to pull them out (the latter being a big deal, actually as they are hard to grab when overboard and accounting freeboard).

Here is a pic of our kiddos with the Mustang:





It is one of the best pieces of safety gear we have ever purchased kid-wise. And - it works! We have had our kids go over twice, but both times was at the dock. I have never had our child go in under way. Underway, we keep a constant watch on them and in anything but good seas, they must stay in the cockpit or (when it gets bad especially) down below.

I firmly believe that teaching your child to swim can save their life. This was a high priority for us (esp as cruisers). They will go into the water, eventually, and very possibly without a jacket on (walking down the dock). Knowing how to swim is critical. It can also help in KOB situations.

If you sail at night, I also believe the kids (and adults) should have a auto-strobe and a whistle. We keep these on the kids. THey are a bit pricey, but it gets cave-dark at sea and in the wind you cannot hear someone cry out. I think it is made by ACR and is rather small with a strobe on top that is water activated. They also make a flashlight for MOB that we carry. THe little orange whistles are dirt cheap.

Another thought (and different subject) that we always try to do is point out where the ladders are at a marina and what to do if (when) they fall overboard. Some marinas have them, some dont. THe one we are at now does not so we have instructed them where to go to be safe until someone can help them out. ALso, check out the ladders that they would use as exits because many are heavily encrusted with barnacles that can cut little feet up. In some cases, it might be better to have them hold on and cry out for help.

I really like those Raymarine MOB's. Cool stuff (finally they come out with something novel). Not sure if you have to have Raymarine products to use them... but if I was doing a lot of offshore sailing, especially where one parent typically singles, they could sure help the offwatch to get some solid sleep. They are on our list.

Great thread.

Brian
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  #20  
Old 08-27-2012
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Re: Kid overboad plan

Cute kid, Brian.

I bought the Mustang Lil Legends vest but it just did not fit my guy very well. It was really tight around the neck. He's 35 pounds so at the low end of the Child's size (30-50 pounds) I thought it would work. He's in a regular Stearns type buckle vest for now and I plan to lifejacket shop in spring to get him sized up with a good quality vest for the season (unfortunately we'll be on the hard in another month here). The current vest, despite being some knockoff brand, does actually work very well. He'll jump in and the vest pops him right up, face up. Has most of the flotation in the front like the Mustang (but not the handle).
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