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Man overboard question

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Every boat I've had I've done a man overboard drill. I even worked briefly teaching at a big sailing school and taught newbies a man overboard drill. Without trying to be arrogant I am pretty confident about putting the boat on the spot.

But with all my other boats a normal adult could reach over the side and grab the mob. But not BP. It's nearly two meters to the water. We have steps on the platform at the stern. But .........



So what's the accepted wisdom here?

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Many, many years ago, we took my mate's uncle out for a sail on the Piedy on a reasonably blustery day.   At one point we crash gybed the Piedy same as always and after a minute or so, realised uncle

its very difficult !! Its important to remember that a very large mount of people cant climb rope ladders.... They think they can until they try when they are cold...the boat is rolling in a swell a

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Personally, I would drop a Halyard over the side with a loop in the end the person in the water can either put their foot into or around their waste up under their arms if need be. It would not be comfortable, but drowning would likely ruin your day somewhat also.

I know of another technique, but never tried it to see how easy it would be. It is supposed to be if you cannot lift the person onboard yourself and the person in the water cannot lift themselves out either.
      A spare sail is tied one end to the toe rail (or where you can. You may have other options as well).
The other end a spare halyard is attached. Lower so the middle of the sail droops down into the water. The person can pull themselves in to it and then you haul up the halyard. It rolls them over inside it as you haul it up and eventually they are at Rail height and can be rolled inboard. The only issue I can see with this is wind.

However, if you wanted to make a purpose built system based on this, a canvas cloth with wood each side (picture a field stretcher) and lines from each end (where the stretcher bearers would normally place their hands) coming together to make a bridle. The Halyard can attach to the centre point of the bridle and you haul them out on that. It can be rolled up and stowed away.

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I just remembered the old owner telling me the story of the guy who committed suicide from the boat. There were 3 three aboard. The guy in the water would swim away every time he got the boat alongside. Crew #2 volunteered to dive over and get him but he said "No that would leave me alone on the boat with two crew in the water". Once the guy died they were able to get the body back by directing it to the transom with the boat hook.


Might be ok as long as some idiot didn't pick up the gaff instead.

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I think the main problem with this is there are so many scenario's and 'what-if's', it is hard to adequately address all situations.

I assume your main issue with the stern is, being the stern it lifts and falls lot in a swell, can clobber anyone underneath it, and is hard to maneuver to in comparison to getting someone along side.


All the UK sailing magazines have all those MoB recovery contraptions, they look expensive and highly impractical to use in reality. You would need a handful of spare crew to rig and deploy, all while managing the boat and keeping track of the casualty.


I believe the easiest and quickest win is a simple ladder. This obviously only works for conscious casualties, but it means you can get them along side and 'supported' on the boat easily. The simplest option is a rope ladder (with thick wooden rungs). You'd want this set up with hooks / snap clips to go over the lifelines. Very quick to deploy, gives the casuality something to hand onto, can be shifted or put anywhere, and is cheap. Can be stored in a cockpit locker, or even stored on the lifelines. There are some commercial variants, i.e. a rope ladder in a bright yellow storage bag with a velcro lid and deploying look handing down at water level. You can get budget allow and plastic rigid boarding ladders. They are OK, but for a MoB situation a rope ladder is just as good, and easier to store. We have an allow ladder for boarding up the side when on the mooring (can't get to the transom ladder with the pile mooring lines there. We keep it in the dinghy (in the dinghy locker) and just hang it over the lifelines when boarding with loads of gear from the dinghy.


Most of these high sided European production boats now have swim platforms that lift up. There is a major risk of not being able to climb back on, i.e. if you forget to lower the swim platform before doing a leak of the bow or cabin top (for a swim). I think its bendytoy have a special loop hanging down so you can deploy the swim platform from the water. Either that, or its one of those 'rope ladder in a bag' kits, with a 'self rescue / self deploy' loop hanging down at water level. One of those could work for you, even though you can get back on board via the swim platform.

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I recall boat master tutor Ted Chappell years ago telling us he'd been conned into a coastguard training video for MOB. By the time they did it the second time (light....action... camera, take 2 don't ya know) he was hypothermic. Reckons he was in the piss off Brown's Is for about 50 minutes all up.

He maintains he only survived because he insisted on a wetsuit..

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