Not on the list of life threatening situations but we had a sobering wake up call during MOB
drills last weekend.
We had not done any drills in a while and my partner John was at the helm
. John's son (12) and my son (9) were also on board.
I quietly unsercured the life ring, tossed it over the back and yelled, "MOB, port side!" to see how everyone would react. As expected everyone looked at each other with dumb expressions for about 10 seconds until we finally got a MOB
I told John he was in charge and I basically ran the sheets
. We missed the ring 3 times in a row and got it on the 4th try. I took the helm
for the second drill and did a pretty good job luffing up next to the ring. My son Josh wanted to do a "real" person drill and I said, "Not until we are all pretty good at picking up the ring. Then you can put on a jacket and we will try one."
John took the helm again and did a decent job the next 3 pick ups.
We are in a pretty busy channel and have a lot of commercial
traffic. We had been staying way to the south side of the channel with 10 kts out of the south.
On the last drill we weren't as south as we thought we were. We tossed the ring and noticed that a barge under tow was on the way through. We hadn't noticed that the barges were also hugging the south side of the channel. Probably to give them downwind sea room from the opposite shore considering the wind
I thought we had room to pick up the ring but John held back and said he wanted to wait for the tug to pass. The tug was slow and we had to wait about 3-4 minutes. The ring drifted with the wind
into the channel and sure enough the tug missed it but the barge caught it clean. The ring disappeared under the barge and popped out 30 seconds later.
We looked at each other and said, "Good thing that wasn't Josh..."
Couple of thoughts -
Make sure you have more than enough room to do MOB drills.
In an actual MOB situation, we obviously would have gone for the pick up.
Practice MOB - Everyone thinks they can quickly maneuver the boat
for a pick up but if you are rusty your skills might fail you. After a while the toughest part was not getting back to the MOB but stopping the boat
where it was supposed to stop. Picking up a ring with a boat hook is way different than picking up a person.