man over board

Man overboard (MOB) situations are critical and require immediate action to ensure the safe recovery of the person in the water. First and foremost, from the moment someone notices a person in the open sea, she/he needs to shout man overboard. Afterwards, there are several maneuvers that sailors can employ to recover a man overboard effectively. Here are some of the different types of man overboard maneuvers:

Quick Stop

The Quick Stop maneuver is commonly used in smaller sailboats. When a person falls overboard, you turn the boat quickly into the wind to stop its forward momentum. This maneuver helps to bring the boat closer to the person overboard and makes it easier to initiate a rescue.

Figure Eight

The Figure Eight maneuver is useful in larger sailboats or when wind and sea conditions are more challenging. The helmsman steers the boat in a figure-eight pattern, alternating between a close-hauled course and a broad reach. This maneuver helps to maintain control of the boat while minimizing drift. It allows the crew members to approach the person in the water from different angles.

Williamson Turn:

The Williamson Turn is a maneuver typically used in powerboats but can be adapted for sailboats. It involves a series of turns designed to bring the boat back to the person in the water. The helmsman initially turns the boat 60 degrees away from the person. After a set time, he makes a 180-degree turn in the opposite direction, while aiming to intercept the person’s location.

Lifesling Recovery

The Lifesling Recovery is a technique that utilizes a specially designed rescue device called a Lifesling. It involves deploying the Lifesling overboard, with a line attached to it. At the meantime, the boat makes a controlled figure-eight pattern around the person in the water. This allows the crew to bring the person alongside the boat and hoist them back on board using the Lifesling.

Crew Overboard (COB) Drill:

The Crew Overboard Drill is a comprehensive practice session that involves the entire crew. It includes simulating a man overboard scenario and executing a planned series of maneuvers and actions. This drill helps familiarize the crew with their responsibilities and roles in case of an actual man overboard situation.

It’s important to note that different boats and sailing conditions may require variations in these maneuvers. Additionally, the use of safety equipment, such as personal locator beacons, can greatly enhance the chances of a successful recovery.

Regular practice of man overboard drills is key. Training on the specific procedures recommended by the boat manufacturer and relevant maritime authorities is crucial for all sailors.

Would you like to learn more about different man overboard techniques or would you like to train these maneuvers in practice? Book a sailing course with Neptuno in Barcelona. Neptuno provide a wide range of RYA sailing courses adapted to your skills and experience.