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A man overboard rescue turn is a sailing maneuver usually implemented immediately upon learning of a man overboard. To maneuver closer to the person's.
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Wearing a life jacket helps the victim's odds significantly. Excess weight, poor swimming ability, panic, lack of arm strength, injury, hypothermia, and other factors make retrieval extremely challenging. The person in the boat may need special equipment or assistance to get the victim aboard. Think about an alternative, such as a Lifesling, or another system that could work on your particular boat. Take a look around. If visibility is poor, slow down and make sure you know where the victim is. If an approaching fog bank or squall could reduce visibility soon, get back to the victim before you lose sight of him.

If you're in a rough inlet with many boats racing past, position your boat to protect the victim and begin visual warning signaling. In some cases, it may be prudent to wait for help before you begin retrieval. One example would be if you were alone on board and another boat nearby with strong experienced swimmers and retrieval gear responded to your distress call and was on their way to the scene. If you want to save an MOB victim, the time to start is now. Begin planning and practicing what you'd need to do in your circumstances in your boat. This helps generate intuitive, appropriate reactions.

Practice MOB techniques by throwing a fender with a bucket attached into the water.


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Return to it, approach it, and get it aboard while being extremely careful that you keep the props away from the "victim. The best equipment may be useless unless you know how to deploy it without thinking. For example, if you have a Lifesling with tackle, on a calm day, near shore, practice putting a person in the water, rig it, and use it. Also, practice with the "victim" pretending helplessness. The "victim" should be wearing a life jacket. Practicing may teach you that the best you can do is to stabilize the victim safely alongside and call the Coast Guard for help on the VHF.

Unless you're in really cold water, it usually takes a relatively long time to become unconscious due to hypothermia. The key is to keep the victim from drowning, getting injured, or becoming disconnected from the mother ship. As you practice, think through contingency plans for each of the three steps necessary to retrieve a person who has gone over the side: Return to the victim, approach the victim, and get the victim aboard. If a person goes over the side while the boat is underway, it's normally best to turn toward the side he went over, in order to swing the stern and props away from the victim.

You should know instantly when someone goes over if you're in a smaller center console. But in a larger boat, more time may pass before you notice. To find the victim, you will need to calculate and steer a reciprocal course back to the location.

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What do I do if I fall overboard?

The illustrations above show several methods for returning to a victim. If you need to rely on the MOB feature on your GPS to find the victim, learn where that button is, now, so you can push it while doing everything else needed at the same time. Be sure you will understand, even under duress, what the GPS is telling you.

Two effective alternatives for approaching the victim are illustrated above.

Decide on the best approach based on factors including but not limited to sea state, current, whether other boats are approaching, your boat's characteristics, and your crew's capabilities. Have those responsible for pulling the victim aboard hopefully more than just you in position and ready. In most situations, it is safest to approach the victim with your bow facing into the wind and waves.

If possible, throw him a line when you get close enough. Then turn off the engine s , pull the victim in to the boat, and bring him to the ladder-hoisting area. This will minimize the chance of striking the victim with the propeller. On a smaller boat without a lot of windage, it may be safer to come to a controlled stop upwind of the MOB and drift down on him, with crew ready to reach over and grab him. This may prove challenging on a boat with a lot of windage and high freeboard, but relatively easy on a center console. In some circumstances, it may be better to approach downwind but circle closely and come into the wind next to the victim.

How To Prepare For A Man Overboard - BoatUS Magazine

While it is usually safest to approach the MOB with the wind and waves over the bow, this may not be possible in a narrow channel, in large waves, near obstructions, or in other circumstances where maneuverability is limited. To prepare for these situations, practice approaching the victim with the wind and sea behind you, very slowly. Maintain control of the boat to avoid floating over the victim. If you have a Lifesling or other retrieving line, slowly circle the victim, towing the line behind the boat until it comes within the victim's reach see illustration above.

Then stop the boat and pull the victim in. The very best way to get a victim back aboard is with a strong, well-built ladder. If you don't have a ladder or a Lifesling with tackle, a recovery line looped under the victim's arms see illustration may enable one or more people to pull him up over a relatively high freeboard. When trying to retrieve a victim and bring him back aboard into a center console with low freeboard, it may help to position the victim facing the boat with both arms reaching upward.

If the person aboard has the necessary strength, he should reach down and grasp the victim's wrists; the victim should grab the rescuer's wrists; and the rescuer should lift the victim straight out of the water. MOB testing has proven that if the victim is helpless and unable to assist, it will be very difficult to get him back into the boat. If you have a strong swimmer aboard, conditions are appropriate, and it's safe to do so, consider having that person wearing a life jacket go in and help the victim get to and climb up a strong ladder.

But remember that you now have two people in the water, and, potentially, two victims at risk. Calling mayday, keeping the victim next to the boat, and waiting for assistance may be a more prudent course of action. Each time you go out, make an MOB briefing part of your departure routine. Show people where life jackets are stowed. Better yet, encourage your crew to wear them. Most drownings occur quickly. If your crew are wearing life jackets when they go in the water, they'll stay alive longer and you will have a much better chance to save them.

A man overboard rescue turn is a sailing maneuver usually implemented immediately upon learning of a man overboard. To maneuver closer to the person's location, implementations of the principles described are: The quick turn is the traditional response to a man overboard emergency on a sailboat. Despite many new approaches, it is still a robust strategy and often the best method.


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Certainly when the crew is shorthanded, or when the vessel is in heavy weather, the quick turn method has a lot of merit because it avoids a jibe. The quick turn is essentially a figure eight. On a sailboat it consists of the following steps:. The Anderson turn is a maneuver used to bring a ship or boat back to a point it previously passed through, often for the purpose of recovering a man overboard , an emergency situation in almost all circumstances.

The Anderson turn is most appropriate when the point to be reached remains clearly visible. For other situations, a Scharnow turn or a Williamson turn might be more appropriate. Both require more time to return to the target point. If dealing with a man overboard, always bring the vessel upwind of the person.

Stop the vessel in the water with the person well forward of the propellers.

Consider Your First Steps Before The Worst Happens

The Williamson turn is a maneuver used to bring a ship or boat under power back to a point it previously passed through, often for the purpose of recovering a man overboard. However, according to Uncommon Carriers by John McPhee , the maneuver was originally called the Butakov pipe and was used in the Russo-Japanese War as a way of keeping guns at the same distance from an enemy. The Williamson turn is most appropriate at night or in reduced visibility, or if the point can be allowed to go or already has gone out of sight, but is still relatively near. For other situations, an Anderson turn quickest method or a Scharnow turn might be more appropriate.

The choice largely depends on prevailing wind and weather conditions.

The Man Overboard Quintet - Avalon - Live at Le QuecumBar

It was also used by U. Navy nuclear submarines to clear their sonar dead zones. The Scharnow turn is a maneuver used to bring a ship or boat back to a point it previously passed through, often for the purpose of recovering a man overboard. It was developed by and named for Ulrich Scharnow. The Scharnow turn is most appropriate when the point to be reached is significantly further astern than the vessel's turning radius.

For other situations, an Anderson turn or a Williamson turn might be more appropriate.