I'm doing a complete revision of all my safety gear
and procedures as part of getting ready for my big summer cruise
I always thought I knew everything I needed to know about MOB
procedures, but in trying to formulate a written procedure for my boat, I realized that I know a lot less than I thought (story of my life), and that there is no universally agreed procedure. In fact, there are a number of controversial points. Worth discussion on here, I think. It seems to me that the main issues are:
1. Quick stop, sail a figure 8, or reach-reach. Various maneuvers are suggested. It seems to me that the paramount consideration should be getting the boat stopped NOW, in order to minimize distance between you and the casualty. So under sail, I would simply put the helm
over IMMEDIATELY, putting the bows through the wind
and leaving the headsail sheeted on the wrong side. Like this, I can go from making way at 9 knots to hove to and stopped in just a few boat lengths. Any reason to do it any other way?
2. Approach the casualty from leeward or windward. There are different opinions on this. I always thought you would approach from windward so that you make a lee for the casualty -- far easier to get him from the leeward side, and he won't be bashed into the topsides by waves. But there seems to be a lot of opinion that the boat could run over the casualty, if you approach that way in rough seas. What do you guys think?
3. Various means of getting him out of the water
. I always thought I would use the boom and a tackle. Preventer out the boom so that you are raising the casualty well away from the sides, so that you don't bash him into the sides. A parbuckle seems slow to rig up, and you can't afford this time in the cold water
around here. Besides that, the casualty ends up right against the side, which seems to me to create the risk of a bashing. What do you guys think?
And in general, here's the first draft
of my procedure:
1. If you see a shipmate go overboard
, all of the following must be done immediately:
a. Shout Man Overboard! to alert the whole crew.
b. Point at the casualty and keep pointing; do not let him out of your sight.
c. Immediately throw liferings, Danbuoy, any cushions
, orange smoke towards the casualty (orange smoke is in the cockpit
d. Press the MOB
button on the helm
e. The helmsman stops the boat immediately and simultaneously with these other measures. Under sail, immediately tack through the wind
leaving the headsail backed. Motoring, immediately put the machine in astern and give power in astern until all way is off.
2. Helmsman starts to maneuver towards the casualty, approaching from windward. Ordinarily sails
are furled and the approach is made under power, but depending on the point of sail, the approach may also be made under sail. Under power, great care must be taken not to overrun the casualty or get any ropes in the propeller
3. Rig the preventer and the MOB tackle (kept in the cockpit
table) to the boom end, and preventer out the boom end to leeward, even if you do not intend to use this method first. Open the lifeline gates on the leeward side and put down the boarding ladder. Prepare another rope
with a bowline at the end for a step.
4. Throw the Life Sling to the casualty when near enough. Casualty should put the sling around his abdomen.
5. Very slowly haul the casualty towards the leeward side of the boat. Be careful not to drag him underwater.
6. Put the machinery in neutral with the main engine
running. If the machinery is used to maneuver with the casualty in the water close by, be extremely careful that the casualty does not get under the boat or into the propeller
7. If the casualty is vigorous and sea is not too rough, put the prepared bowline in the water under the boarding ladder, with the loop about 50cm below the water surface, with one end made off to a cleat and the other on the primary sheet winch
. Have the casualty attempt to step into the loop and climb onto the boarding ladder and help him climb aboard. Carefully assist him with the winch
, if necessary, once his foot is in the loop.
8. If the casualty is not vigorous and/or the sea is rough, haul the casualty out of the water using the MOB tackle attached to the lifesling. Very carefully haul in the boom, controlling it with the preventer around a winch, swinging the casualty over the lifelines
9. If the sea is very rough, launch the life raft and help the casualty into the raft by hauling on the lifesling.