Man Overboard Procedures - SailNet Community
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post #1 of 160 Old 12-13-2018 Thread Starter
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Man Overboard Procedures

Curious if people have or have considered making Man Overboard Procedures for their boats.

I was recently reviewing MOB procedures published by both USSailing and by the Royal Yachting Association.

I observe a lot of similarities. A bunch of stuff has to happen all at once, the more trained people on board the easier it is going to be. It is nice to practice so everyone knows what their responsibilities are.

Some of the common initial reactions agreed to by both RYA and USSailing include;
-Shout Man Overboard, hopefully letting every one on board know what happened and triggering the subsequent procedure.
-Immediately throw bouyant items, like life rings. This not only gives the MOB something to swim to and hold onto, but also marks the persons last known position in case the crew loses sight of the person in the water, this may also become a starting position for a search patern should professional searchers be required.
-Trigger MOB button on GPS if available, see above.
-As per both USSailing and RYA, make a distress call. Mayday. Nearly any MOB outside of warm protected waters could be considered a life threatening situation.

Curious if people have thoughts? What if you are beyond radio range, how do you make a distress call? Do you have sattelite communications. Do you have specialised gear? PFDs, PLBs, Strobes, Whistles? What if you are shorthanded?

I have had some MOB experiences. In one I was mate on a tour boat and the skipper observed a passenger jump off the stern of a nearby ferry. Skipper did all the things you would expect, called the CG, called the cew to the bridge for a briefing, assigned a spotter(me), maneuvered along side the person. This is where things got weird. I threw the fully clothed person a lifering with 50 ft of line and she refused to swim to it. She had planned a one way trip off the ferry. So I spent the next 20 minutes negotiating with her (while our some 150 passengers gawked and snapped photos) until eventually the marine police arrived and forcefully removed the person from the water.

Curious if others have experienced an unusual Man Overboard experience?

Here are the reference links from USSailing and RYA.

https://www.rya.org.uk/knowledge-adv...overboard.aspx

https://www.ussailing.org/news/man-o...ery-procedure/
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Last edited by Arcb; 12-13-2018 at 04:57 PM.
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post #2 of 160 Old 12-13-2018
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Re: Man Overboard Procedures

Im solo but if not my thinking is to throw your entire wad of whatever mob you have as soon as it happens.
Its a now or never thing

Mark position, dye, floats, lights...do it all
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post #3 of 160 Old 12-13-2018
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Re: Man Overboard Procedures

I tell everyone who sails with us to note the direction of the nearest land as they are going over the side and if they do go over, start swimming because the chances of our finding them will be slim to none.
Let's face it, it is most unlikely that someone will go over the side in benign conditions. And in our case, sailing at 7 to 9 knots in 6 to 10-foot seas, which is our norm, we will not get turned around and back to the MOB's position very swiftly.
When I operated COI vessels, the USCG required we perform a MOB operation annually, while the CG COI inspectors were aboard. They had a life-sized dummy that got heavier as it's time in the water extended, and to pass we had 5 minutes if memory serves.
No sweat! A professional crew, well schooled in the operation, and 10 to 49 passengers to help, in Charleston Harbor. Not hardly the same as sailing between the Caribbean islands, in 20 to 30+ knots of wind.
So, in my opinion, scare the living sh*t out of those sailing with you and have them consider the danger of falling overboard the same as if the toe rail was the edge of a 900-foot cliff!
It might be interesting to note that for a professional MOB operation, the most important person(s) in the operation is the one(s) tasked with the job of keeping the MOB in sight. This is where having a few passengers aboard comes in pretty handy, leaving the crew to handle the vessel operations. Without a PLB, once you have lost sight of the MOB, his/her chances of survival drop drastically.
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post #4 of 160 Old 12-13-2018
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Re: Man Overboard Procedures

This is why we always wear a PFD...sooner or later we should wash up someplace.
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Re: Man Overboard Procedures

We took the overnight ferry from Port Hardy to Prince Rupert and half way there they stopped to perform their (I presume mandatory) MOB drill. It all went well until the lifeboat that they had lowered in to the water wouldn't start. I could see the captain and his officers up on the bridge wing, and with most of the passengers crowding the rail, I wouldn't have wanted to be whoever was in charge of engine maintenance on those things.

But in the end all was well and they rescued their dummy and we headed on to Rupert. I have to say, you'd think the fall (and the cold, cold water) would pretty much ensure any ferry passenger going over board wasn't going to care much about how long it took the life boat to retrieve the body.

As for us, we try to review the procedure every time we board but sadly actual doing MOB drills often gets pushed to the backburner—we are full time pfd wearers though for what its worth.
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post #6 of 160 Old 12-13-2018
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Re: Man Overboard Procedures

Yes MOB and other operational info relative to being on your boat should be reviewed on a regular basis especially when someone new to sailing on your boat is there. Regardless of which published procedure or variation is followed its best when all are familiar with the one that you as skipper will be following and expecting others to adhere to.

Wear the vest especially when your on deck and be sure to know where the MOB button is on your personal VHS radio and GPS along with the one mounted to the boat. I keep my personal VHS radio attached to my vest so if I do fall overboard I can have it broadcast my position and relevant data to all boats within range especially to the crew of the one I fell off plus it has a strobe to make it easier at night for the sharks to.... I also always carry my waterproof cell phone when towers are potentially in range.

Calling out when an MOB occurs is very important when your not the only remaining person on the boat even if its just to advise others on board your about to make an emergency come about.

This of course is from the perspective of a Picnic Boat Sailor.
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post #7 of 160 Old 12-14-2018
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Re: Man Overboard Procedures

I try to do a live-action MOB drill every summer. Once the lake warms up we find a place without traffic & have someone jump off with a PFD. Whoever is helming has to go through the whole routine. It's very instructive for people to have to spend a couple of minutes in the water & then climb back up into the boat - i think it makes the point of why you really want to stay on in the first place. Makes it much more real than chasing a seat cushion.

We also discuss the process (yell, throw cushions etc., and have someone designated to watch the MOB and do nothing else) pretty regularly, and anytime new people are on board.
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post #8 of 160 Old 12-14-2018
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Re: Man Overboard Procedures

The thing about most MOB techniques taught by sailing programs is that they assume 3+ crew size. Helm to steer the appropriate pattern, someone to toss all the gear, someone running the lines, someone hitting the MOB buttons and perhaps issuing the radio calls, and someone dedicated to keeping an eye on the MOB.

That’s a lot of someones.

In our practice what we do is hit the MOB button, toss the gear, sheet in, and circle. Start the engine as soon as possible. Don’t loose sight of the MOB.

But we’ve only done this in good conditions, during daylight. In reality, a MOB on our boat means almost certain death. This is why there is only one absolute rule on our boat: Don’t Fall Off!
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Re: Man Overboard Procedures

I put a MOM8 on the rail about 10 years ago. Glad to have never used it, but the inflatable marking pole is critical. If is just the two of us, you simply can’t keep watch and turn the boat around simultaneously.

We also each have a PLB on our lifejackets. I saw the ACR RescueMe MOB1 beacon at the Annapolis sailboat show. It has its own AIS transmitter and also attaches to one’s life jacket, but it’s even smaller. If one had an AIS receiver integrated into their plotter, it could take you back to them. They were sold out.
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post #10 of 160 Old 12-14-2018
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Re: Man Overboard Procedures

I mostly sailed single handed or with wife. She remains in cockpit and when the conditions are anything but benign she wears her life vest. Rare cases when I have crew or a passenger I review what to do if someone falls overboard. I have a MOB pole w/ strobe. At night a strobe is mission critical to locate the person. And of course a decent ladder to bring them aboard.
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Last edited by SanderO; 12-14-2018 at 09:03 AM.
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