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Crazy Woman Boat Driver
840 Posts
Good points on MOB. Practice Practice Practice and knowing how to handle your boat as well as your guest. Most of us practice in becalm weather. I strongly urge everyone of you to do a MOB drill with winds over 20kts and 4' plus sea state.
I believe 4 things have to be considered when recovering a person. Unconscious/conscious, sea state,wind velocity and whether a boat has a swim platform or not.
I once went out sailing in gale force winds off Long Island a few years ago. We went out to practice heavy weather sailing. It was so nasty the Coast Guard launched a few vessels to watch over us. We were out there for 6 hours. One hour of that was doing MOB drills. It was the hardest thing I have ever done sailing. We launch a large boat fender dressed like a person.
We found it impossible to bring the fender on board the boat using any method that requires bring the victim along the side of the boat. In fact it was dangerous to the victim. Here is why.
With the high wind and waves it was impossible to judge the vectoring of the boat to bring the victim along side. For boats with high freeboard it made the task even more difficult. Second, there is a great danger of running over the MOB as the boat rocks back and forth crushing the victim. If the victim is unconscious and the boat does not have a swim platform, without someone jumping in to sling the person, I don't think it can be done.
So what did I learn.
Conscious MOB in high sea state and winds I would use the figure 8 while towing a life sling in tow or quick stop.
Unconscious person - Found the quick stop method works best, drop the sails and use the motor to back up to to victim with the bow into the wind. The swim platform is a must here. Can grab the person and get him/her on the platform. Since most sailors, especially cruisers have only two persons on the boat, this is the only way I can figure out how to get the person back on the boat safely.
With high winds and sea state the boat gets tossed a lot. Maneuvering to an exact spot is next to impossible under sail alone. Every time we tried to bring the person along side one of two things happened; the person floated away from the boat due to waves or wind affecting the high freeboard or the person got SLAM under the boat.
Swim platform is a must for me for any cruising boat with only 2 persons. Since almost no ones wears a PFD, grabbing a person with the boat hook is impossible since there is nothing to grab. Even when a person does, the spot to grab that person is very small. In any kind of sea state this will be next to impossible to grab that small spot.
Mark has it right on Heave-To. The leeward side of the boat is becalm to help bring the person on the boat. This is a hard maneuver to do to bring the person exactly alongside. If the person is conscious a throw able lifesaving device with attached rope will work the easiest.
Safety on a boat is only a word unless ones knows how to use the equipment and practices all safety aspects of boating. With the season beginning for most of you, get out there and practice. Your life might depend on it.
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