Follow our series on Sailing Hints & Tips, this week we look at the Man Overboard (MOB) Drill. Whilst Sailing is not particularly a dangerous sport, it does of course have specific risks, so it is always good to remind yourself and your crew of the Man Overboard Drill. The following drill will be accepted as part of the Yachtmaster course and will be something that all courses approved by Canadian Yachting Association (CYA) will require of skippers.
Alert the Crew – shout “man overboard” and press the Man Overboard button on the GPS, this immediately marks the position.
Throw a life buoy and also a dan buoy to the MOB, the life buoy can save their life and a dan buoy allows you to better spot them in the water, even better if it carries a radar reflector.
Allocate a member of the crew to maintain sight on the MOB in the water, and keep pointing.
Send a Mayday and DSC distress alert.
Start the motor if you are under sail, sheet in the mainsail and drop the headsail if you can. Make ready a throwing line and manoeuvre the boat downwind of the MOB, come alongside ensuring the propeller has stopped.
If the unthinkable happens and your engine fails, then you will need to approach under sail. Sheet in the mainsail and turn away onto a beam/broad reach. Sail away for about 6 boat lengths then tack aiming the leeward side of the boat at the man overboard. Then point the boat back at the MOB until your mainsail is flapping, you should approach the MOB on a close reach so that you have control of the mainsail as you slowly approach the MOB on your leeward side.
Get your line around the MOB and get them onboard!