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markpj23 19-01-2006 10:02

MOB Procedures
25 years in the Navy has left me with a perverted fondness for conducting drills.. train like you fight, fight like you trained and all that...

So, man overboard (asexual term if you please) drills / practice are high on my list of safety issues & planning. My first mate/ admiral will know how to recover me, so I'll at least know it was intentional as I watch her disappear over the horizon :D

There are almost as many options for maneuvers as there are captains. I would like to know what the skippers on this forum prefer to do when faced with this emergency. And - most importantly - do you practice those maneuvers with any frequency?

I understand that conditions will dictate the maneuvers in a specific instance, but what general plans / moves do you practice? For example, I would not expect that a Williamson turn would be your choice in all but low-visibility conditions. Or unless you want to let 'Oscar' cool off for a bit :p

So, resist the urge to take jabs at the newbie :cool: and share your thoughts on how you approach this issue.

GordMay 19-01-2006 12:59

I voted "Not as often as we should", which (in our case) would amount to once every 7-8 years, or very nearly "Never". My bad!

Boracay 19-01-2006 14:30

Hat Overboard
I used to have a rule that anytime anyone lost a hat overboard that hat had to be recovered.
We followed standard man overboard procedures, one person to watch, one to steer and control and one on the boathook.
We only lost one hat (from memory) and everyone knew how to handle a man overboard and how hard it could be.

CaptainK 19-01-2006 14:44

I say as a general rule. That any sane person going sailing, should conduct some sort of man overboard drill. Cause no person can never tell, when they might actually fall overboard? :cool:

Kai Nui 19-01-2006 19:07

I too voted not as often as I should. I know I, of all people on this board, considering some of my past experiences, should probably make it a routine, but what would a reasonable routine be? Monthly? Or whenever new crew comes aboard.
I will say, we have a plan in place, and have discussed it to the point that for my wife and I it would be automatic, but that is not the same as doing. Of course, much of the time, I am single handing, so not much to practice there:)

Sonofason 19-01-2006 22:09

It's funny this thread schould come up. I teach sailing as a weekend hobby and a way to sail on the cheap (hence my boat - OPB - "other people's boat"). My favorite class is the MOB(COB) class, because for me, that's where it all comes together. The sail handling, the close-quarters manuevering, communication under stress, etc. And I always encourage my students to practice at least once every time they go out; and at our school we keep a few made-up bouys just for that purpose.

Recently in Sail and Cruising World there have been articles on MOB procedure testing - both about the same excercise. Sail did a terrible job - a two page spread with nary a photo or diagram. They give more space to a papaya recipe. CW was better, although they focused mostly on one method.

The details were somewhat sketchy, but I was concerned about a few things. Number one was the full complement of crew aboard each boat. Other than beer-can racing, most people I know go sailing in couples or with non-sailors. So when I teach, I teach them to do it single-handedly, worse case scenario. If you've got extra crew, you can always find a use for them. But if you train for 5 crew and it's just you when your wife/husband/mistress/etc goes over, you're screwed.

There were lots of other things that got my goat, but I don't want my post to take up the whole page.

The thing that I've been thinking about is that most people practice with a pole, a fender, etc - something you basically have to run over in order to pick back up. I used to do the same thing. Then one day we were out, 20 knots, and I realized I forgot to grab both the bouy and the boathook. So we tied two fenders together and connected one to the empty blender (we are sailors, after all). Then we took a dockline and rolling-hitched it to the hammer in tool kit. Now we had to treat it like the real thing - pull the boat up 10 feet away so you don't nail him on the head, coil the dock line, and toss it between the fenders to catch the line, haul it to the boat. Best excercise we ever ran.

So that got me thinking about making the excercise more realistic. I needed to come up with a way where you not only had to stop the boat, but also go forward and toss the line to the victim and bring them to the boat. I tried finding a mannican; no luck (at least not for free). Blow-up dolls have the right expression (picture the open mouth saying 'oh s**t!!!), but too much windage, and hard to be discreet about a blow-up doll on your boat.

This week I think I've come up with an easily and cheaply made contraption that uses a 5-gallon bucket as a sea anchor (and also to simulate the resistance of pulling someone through the water), and the whole thing disassembles to store inside the bucket. Easy to keep on board, easy to bring out and practice. I tried it out to day and was very happy with the results. I caught a few people on the dock and had them try it out there, with good results. I've got a guy this weekend who's testing out of his singlehanding class on a 35-footer; I'm going to try it with him and see how it goes.

Kai Nui 19-01-2006 22:30

Sonofason, I started this thread a while back. If you are teaching MOB procedures, this is a very good anecdote.

CaptainK 19-01-2006 22:44

Wow Kai. Nice thread. I must've missed this one somewhere. Nice of you to bring it back to light. :)

Kai Nui 19-01-2006 22:46

Now you understand my comment about why I should have a routine of practicing the procedure:D

CaptainK 19-01-2006 22:50

Of course. Most definitely.

And if you remember from our discussions. That when I get a boat. There will be man overboard drills. In port. And underway. Just like the NAVY. Yaaaaahhhh Baaaabbbyyy !!! :D

Kai Nui 19-01-2006 22:52

We do have occasional MOB drills from the dock, but usually after leaving the bar:D We even have a special club within a club for those who have participated.

CaptainK 19-01-2006 22:54

Now that's what I'm talking about. Drunken MOB drills. Yeah!!! :viking:

Sonofason 19-01-2006 22:55

Thanks - another chapter posted over there...

Sonofason 06-02-2006 21:49


JGI417 31-03-2006 10:25

I voted everytime a new crewmenber is aboard, I have taken a lot of freinds from work for a sail, many have never been on a silboat, I would run them over the basics, my reason was what if I was the one in the water..

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