Man Overboard

Sea Safe Seminar
April 29, 2010

Man Overboard and Quick Stop Procedures

lessons Learned
Peter DeWolfe

Peter DeWolfe gave a presentation, complete with photographic evidence of his personal experience, on procedures for rescuing someone who has fallen off a boat. The diagrams below illustrate the steps to take and he offered the following comments:

He was able to be pulled into the rescuing Sonar because he hooked an arm around the stays and let his body be dragged alongside the boat. Then the crew could all reach different parts of his body and work together to roll tack the boat as they rolled him into the boat. For many of the one-design boats racing in Marblehead this can be an effective procedure. For larger boats with higher freeboard a line with a loop in it or a sling, attached to a halyard, would be more appropriate.

Peter also told his audience that if the boat is sailing downwind, with a spinnaker up, the quickest way to drop the chute is to let the pole go to the forestay and then let down the halyard - the spinnaker will drop on the foredeck.

If there are enough crew on the boat, someone should take on the responsibility of watching the person in the water and pointing to that person, so that everyone knows where he or she is in the water. With only one or two crew members in the boat someone should still try to keep aware of the location of the person in the water while maneuvering to make the rescue.

Peter also stressed that just like all the other things discussed on the boat while preparing to race, there should also be a conversation about safety, and rescues if an emergency happens.

Here is a diagram of the Basic Sailing Man Overboard Quickstop Recovery.

The U.S. Naval Academy has an alternative "figure 8" recover plan

The Naval Academy also has a video demonstrating a quick stop and rescue procedure - it can be viewed here