A recent article “Man Overboard!” by Martin van Breems in the April 2015 issue of Sail magazine www.sailmagazine.com provides life saving advice on the best practices for saving a passenger that falls overboard from your vessel, often referred to as “MOB”. While the commonly taught steps for retrieving a man overboard are discussed, the article also provide lifesaving tips for retrieving a person form the water, one could argue the most important step! Even if your vessel has a stern step ladder, it may be useless in heavy seas. Techniques are described for rigging block and tackle to help the person on board, who may already be disadvantaged due to the weather conditions, retrieve a person from the water.
Another complication in MOB recovery is what to do if the worst happens at night, the MOB will not be able to be seen if preparation is not taken ahead of time to anticipate this complication. The best solution for this is to ensure there is a whistle and strobe on everyone’s life vest!
Safety at sea should never be assumed, it must be planned and prepared for. Accessories which may help retrieve a person from the water are an important element in that equation. These include life vests, block and tackle, MOB devices, beacons, and strobes.