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Old 07-07-2017, 12:46   #1
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Man Overboard!

Yesterday I had my first real "man overboard" and it just brought back to the fore some things that I have been saying in "crew safety briefings"....

My colleague (aged 70 and recovering after several strokes) fell off the quayside as we were mooring his boat.

It was the first time we had been out on a boat that he had bought, and it just reinforced my feelings about how courses etc treat MOB.

Getting back to the casualty is the easy bit, getting him back on board is the hard part.

In the marina with the boat tied to the pontoon and I just couldn't get him back onboard the boat!

The boat's boarding ladder was useless, it was too short as it didn't even reach the water line. Get a foot on it and he was already past the horizontal. It was too narrow, he couldn't get both feet on the same rung.

The boat also had a rope ladder with wooden rungs, but those floated and were difficult for him to get his feet onto them while he was swimming.

At 63 I just wasn't strong enough to pull him be on board (the boat has no sugar scoop or bathing platform)...

I eventually managed to get him back on board by getting a bowline over his shoulders and with the help of one of the marina guys.

And this was just a 22ft boat with a very low freeboard (about the same as the marina pontoon!)

How would we have managed it on a Hanse 575 with 5ft of freeboard?

I have always told new crews that "THE TIME TO THINK ABOUT MOB RECOVERY TOOLS IS WHEN YOU ARE IN HARBOUR NEAR A CHANDLERY AND BEFORE YOU HAVE TO TRY TO DO IT FOR REAL, "How would your wife get you back on board if you went over?"

But as I said before it just reinforces the fact that MOB recovery planning needs to be done before it happens! I hadn't really realised the problems of using a ladder with floating rungs!

Real sailors always learn from mistakes and things that happen, preferably from those that happen to others.

I hope that some of you will learn from mine, I certainly have.

We will be making some changes on his boat!
The bathing ladder will be replaced with one that is longer and wider..
We will add a weight to the bottom of his rope ladder so that it sinks.

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Old 07-07-2017, 12:56   #2

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Re: Man Overboard!

A sugar scoop with a pull down ladder and four steps below the surface like on our boat solves this issue. I've been in your situation before with a man and a dog overboard on our Hunter 450, it was horrible and stressful, something I hope to never have repeat itself. We do briefings with new folks onboard and my wife and I practice.

Glad you got him out OK.

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Old 07-07-2017, 15:08   #3
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Re: Man Overboard!

Goodall_M1, you might want to consider a LifeSling and a multipart tackle you can attach to your boom or halyard.
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Old 07-07-2017, 15:13   #4
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Re: Man Overboard!

We have a lifesling, line can be lead through a block on the davits to the sheet winches.
"You CANNOT be serious!"

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Old 07-07-2017, 16:00   #5
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Re: Man Overboard!

Originally Posted by Tayana42 View Post
Goodall_M1, you might want to consider a LifeSling and a multipart tackle you can attach to your boom or halyard.

Lifesling 2 - Unit in White Rail Bag
I've said it before, I'll say it again. Every boat should have a handy billy on board.
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Old 07-07-2017, 17:15   #6
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Re: Man Overboard!

I absolutely agree that mechanical advantage is essential. I plan to use the Spinnaker halyard, if Jim is unconscious.

I don't know if the weight on the rope ladder with wooden rungs concept will work all that well, it may still try to skitter under the dinghy, but I'd appreciate it if you try it, and report back on how it works. Thanks in advance, Goodall_M1.
Who scorns the calm has forgotten the storm.
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Old 07-07-2017, 17:24   #7
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Re: Man Overboard!

I agree with everything said before. I just want to share my experience with falling overboard. I had put the boat back in the dock but hadn't got all the lines secured. I was on the dock and a wind gust caught me off guard and before I knew it I was in the water between the boat and the dock. I was embarrassed and my wife had no idea I was in the water. I figured I'd get out by leveraging the spring line by slinging my foot over it. Before I know it I am getting squeezed between the hull and the dock... not a good situation. Luckily I released and got back to the sugarscoop and was able to climb back on board.

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