Owner, Green Bay Packers
Join Date: Sep 2006
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I would emphasize a point that Sasha has made also. In a for real MOB situation the only thing that is essential is keeping an eye, preferably eyes, on the MOB. I favor the quick stop method, but each situationis different and the sailing conditions and boats do not lend themselves equally to set procedures. What must be a set procedure though is that everyone, absolutely everyone, keep their eyes on the MOB. If there is shiphandling or sail handling to be done it can be effective to pass off lookout duties to each other, but it must be absolutely a certainty that the relief lookout actually has the MOB in sight, and as soon as possible all crews eyes should be trained again on the MOB. Regardless of how you return the vessel to the MOB, hoist him on board, etc... it is all futile if you lose sight of him.
He may well freeze to death alongside the boat while you're trying to hoist him on board, but it is far surer that he'll do the same alone if you lose sight of him. I do not believe in anyone going below for lifesaving gear, blankets, lines, and the like. There will be time enough for that as you come back upon the MOB. That one person you send below may be the set of eyes that keeps the MOB in sight. Of course, this will be the time that your lookout gets smacked by the boom during a crash jibe as well, and if you're steering and your two other crew are making up lines, you've just lost sight of your MOB. It's very important that the person who sees the MOB make sure that the others on board do as well. The tendency is for people, when they hear, "I see him, I see Him", to assume that the lookout function is fulfilled. what they should really be saying is, "Where away?" Especially in weather there's going to be a degree of panic and mistakes made. The one man that sees the MOB suddenly will get his foot fouled in a line and look down losing you your lookout if other's are not spotting the MOB as well.
I prefer to send a bowline on a bight to the MOB, but it's surely preferable to send a simple bowline if that's what can be reliably tied by the person handling the line. Getting a bight around the MOB is going to go a long way towards calming the MOB and, I believe, is more important than passing a life jacket. Once he's secured to the line about his chest, or the bowline on a bight can have his legs slipped through, it's fine to pass a flotation device-you're not going to lose him now. There are so many ways to bring him back on board, and the boats and conditions so varied, that it's difficult to attempt to suggest one of broad applicability. It certainly is of great help should the water be not too frigid as the vessel can be brought under control and even manoeuvered to make landing the MOB easier. In those cases, more often than not, the MOB's strength will be the prime mover in getting him on board. If hypothermia is not an issue, and the MOB has been exerting himself, little is lost by allowing him to float, rest, and recover his strength. In a heavy boat, in a running sea, it may prove beneficial to move the MOB towards bow or stern. As the boat scends the MOB may find himself on a level with or above the lifelines and be able to grab ahold. This is a good time to have a crewmember get the medical kit out as well as a blanket and bandages. The likelyhood of injury during boarding is not slight, with head injury being the most likely.
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