Man Overboard Protocol for Your Crew

Man Overboard Protocol for Your Crew, Man Overboard Protocol for Your Crew

Beyond lists of actions to take during a Man Overboard event; there are plenty of aspects to cover before you head out for a sail. Considerations from the handling characteristics of your vessel to protocol for crew to follow on board are worthy of examination and discussion. Prior planning is so important!

Man Overboard Points to Cover

  • Has anyone been involved in a MOB
  • What have you rigged? What can you rig on your vessel?
  • Hypothermia – cover in a future class
  • Monthly practice with regular crew
  • Vessel protocol (night, urination, emesis, going forward)
  • Inflatable pfd’s, lights, reflective tape, knife, mirror
  • Victim – breathing control, grab marker, HELP position
  • Deck layout, risk zones, hand holds
  • Handling characteristics various wind/sea states, sail combo
  • Crew – their skill, experience, physical/mental condition, vhf
  • MOB function on gps above/below deck
  • DSC distress function on VHF
  • MOB pole, lifesling, mom, epirbs, devices, Garmin watch
  • Lifesling tied to boat?
  • Heaving line practice without and with Type IV throwable
  • Hoisting block and tackle, recovery rigging, boarding ladder
  • Put your best helmsperson / weakest physical strength
  • Pre-sail chat; who at helm, if that person is mob – who is #2
  • Make sure everyone knows how to disengage the auto pilot
  • Dangling jewelry on the boat – nope. Rings? Maybe not…
  • Wear your RoadID on your wrist/ankle (id bracelet with emergency information)

Crew Actions

  • Throw anything that floats / is visible / maybe the cooler?
    • Man Overboard life ring, lifesling, cockpit cushions, # IV
  • Sound alarm
    • Alert all crew
    • Mark position on electronic nav system MOB
    • Communication on board and on VHF Radio
    • Mayday or Pan Pan?
  • Lookout
    • Eye, hand pointing, never leave victim/last position
    • Lookout’s best position on the boat
    • Smoke flare to mark location?
    • Lookout #2 on electronics – range/bearing updates
  • Manuever vessel to return to victim, slow down, pt of sail
    • Engine or not – pro’s and con’s, AS, lines, neutral
    • Simple turn – swing stern away, fast, must see victim
    • Williamson turn – 60 degree, opposite 20 short of reciprocal, midships rudder, same side as fell off – when can’t see victim, return to original position, slower
  • Recover
    • Alongside vessel, shelter, low side, wind/sea condition
    • Pro’s and con’s of windward and leeward sides
    • Stop the boat
    • Establish positive contact – line, lifesling
    • Prepare hoisting/ladder/rig/elevator/sail/dinghy/drogue
    • Problems: weight, height, lack of help, freeboard
    • Tether the assistants
  • Victim Handling
    • Horizontally, gently, front over rail not back, collapse
    • Treat for hypothermia, shock, monitor 24 hours
  • CG Contact
    • If not found, or if medical attention is needed

Questions for Students: 

1. What are some actions we can take to prevent man overboard. (Wear harness with tether, keep decks free of slime, seaweed, fish, partner in the cockpit, notifying partner if going to foredeck, use the head, throw up into a bucket.) 

2. List six steps in person overboard recovery. (Answer: throw marker, sound alarm, post lookout, maneuver vessel to return to victim, recovery, treat victim.)
3. List pro’s and con’s or advantages and disadvantages of the six different vessel maneuvering techniques. (Answer: Simple turn advantage – fastest turn, simple turn disadvantage – victim must be in sight; Williamson turn advantage – will return to original position via reciprocal course, Williamson turn disadvantage – takes longer to complete turn) (Answer based on vessel you usually sail.)

Man Overboard Protocol for Your Crew, Man Overboard Protocol for Your Crew

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