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post #1 of 142 Old 03-18-2019 Thread Starter
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Man Overboard equipment and procedures

I am curious what plans and equipment everyone is set up to use in the event of a man overboard.

In Canada we are required to have a life ring with a 25' rope attached to it, and the other end attached to the boat. I have never seen a lot of value for this on a sailboat. The way I see it, if you are sailing at 6 or 7 kts and someone goes overboard, they are likely going to be more than 25' astern long before anyone can toss them the ring, and even if you do react fast enough, the boat is likely still moving and is likely to yank it out of their hands anyway. That setup only has value after you have got your sails down, and turned around to retrieve the swimmer.

On my boat I prefer to have a Lifesling on the rail, tethered to a Man Overboard Pole. The idea being that as soon as the person goes in, you can deploy the pole and sling. The flag will mark the person's approximate location, and and the victim can swim to the pole and find the lifesling. Then, once you've got the sails sorted and the boat turned around you can hopefully locate the swimmer quickly. The pole makes it easy to grab the rope attached to the life sling, which hopefully the swimmer is already wearing. Then it is a matter of getting them to the boarding ladder, or hoisting them out of the water using a halyard.

In all my years of racing and cruising, I have never had to deal with a genuine man overboard situation, although some of the boats I raced on did do the occasional drill, and of course there was always the "hat overboard" drills when cruising, but you never know how things will actually play out in a real emergency situation.

What do YOU do to plan for an MOB situation?

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Re: Man Overboard equipment and procedures

First and foremost we wear PFD's if the boat is moving.
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Re: Man Overboard equipment and procedures

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Originally Posted by paulinnanaimo View Post
First and foremost we wear PFD's if the boat is moving.
Yes, of course, but if you are out in rough weather, how do you spot the person in the water? A head and shoulders are easily obscured by even modest waves. It is very easy to lose sight of someone. Ideally with a full crew one person is assigned to do nothing but watch the victim and point continuously at them, but that's not so easy when you are the only one left on board!

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Re: Man Overboard equipment and procedures

'Yes of course'. You must sail in some of the same areas that we sail; and so I'm sure you will agree that many sailors do not adhere to this practice.
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Re: Man Overboard equipment and procedures

I agree with your assessment of the Life Ring. I have a horseshoe buoy with at least 30 ft. floating line attached to it, but the bitter end is NOT attached to the boat. I believe, the intent is that you try to get close to the MOB with the Type IV but if they can't grab the Buoy THEY could reel it in with the floating line. ( as opposed to you reeling them in like a fish ). At night I attach a floating strobe to it.

I have come to believe that the Ring is probably better than a horseshoe to carry; it's heavier and denser and would throw better.

In either case it's best that people wear Life Jackets. Personal locator beacons with strobes would be helpful.

I have a pole and flag, but have only carried it offshore.

I also have a Life Sling attached to the Stern for retrieval

Beyond that, I think you throw everything that floats until you can get to them.

The toughest challenge after getting back to a MOB is getting them aboard if they are injured or unconscious
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Re: Man Overboard equipment and procedures

I pretty much always wear my pfd on deck. My PFD is equipped with several pockets. Right pocket is a submersible vhf, center pocket has a 406 mhz PLB as well as my head lamp. There is also a pealess whistle, knife and reflective tape on my vest. If you are equipped with AIS, there are AIS plbs you can get. I think they would be nice. In the shoulder seasons I wear a dry suit.

Double check the length of your buoyant heaving line. For some reason 15 meters/50 ft sounds familiar.

Practice getting back on board on a nice day at anchor.
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Re: Man Overboard equipment and procedures

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I pretty much always wear my pfd on deck. My PFD is equipped with several pockets. Right pocket is a submersible vhf, center pocket has a 406 mhz PLB as well as my head lamp. There is also a pealess whistle, knife and reflective tape on my vest. If you are equipped with AIS, there are AIS plbs you can get. I think they would be nice. In the shoulder seasons I wear a dry suit.



Double check the length of your buoyant heaving line. For some reason 15 meters/50 ft sounds familiar.



Practice getting back on board on a nice day at anchor.
We are required to carry a heaving line as well as the life ring.

The thing about the life ring is that, while it is heavier and therefore easy to throw further, but that weight could also make it dangerous. If you accidentally hit them in the head with it, you could potentially knock them unconscious with it!



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Re: Man Overboard equipment and procedures

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'Yes of course'. You must sail in some of the same areas that we sail; and so I'm sure you will agree that many sailors do not adhere to this practice.
This is true, although it is much more common than it used to be thanks to the invention of inflatables.

To be honest, we do not adhere strictly to the "whenever the boat is moving" rule. We wear them when we consider the conditions warrant it. For example, if we are motoring, or sailing in very light wind and flat sea conditions in protected waters we don't always wear them. If I am wearing sea boots and foul weather pants I always wear it, because it is really hard to swim in foulies!


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Re: Man Overboard equipment and procedures

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Re: Man Overboard equipment and procedures

Hello,

IMHO there are number of scenarios to consider:
1. Are you the Man Over Board (MOB) or the Crew Still On Board (CSOB)?
2. Are you on a fully crewed boat, a fully crewed boat that is racing, or a cruising boat that is short handed?

Personally, I like to be responsible for myself. So I almost always wear my inflatable PFD (auto inflate, has a light and whistle attached), and carry a hand held VHF with DSC and a strobe (Standard Horizon). Where I sail the water is usually warm enough so I don't have to worry about freezing to death. I figure that if I can float, be seen, and communicate, I will probably survive a MOB situation. I realize that if it's dark and rough, the conditions that a MOB is most likely to occur, it may take some time for someone to find me. I hope I am prepared for that.

As the CSOB, there are many things to worry about, including stopping the boat, lowering sail, finding the MOB, and then, the recovery. On a fully crewed boat the recovery should be a lot easier. On a short handed boat this is probably the most difficult thing to do. I have a life sling, life ring, floating cushions, etc. In my mind, I am able to stop the boat, return to the MOB, get them the life sling, and use a halyard to recover them. In a real situation I have no idea how well this would work. In calm conditions it's probably easy. In rough conditions I honestly don't know.

Some of the guys I race with don't wear PFD's. When we are racing at night I tell them that, honestly, if you go overboard, you are most likely dead.

Barry

Barry Lenoble
Deep Blue C, 2002 C&C 110
Mt. Sinai, NY

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