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Online Cruising Course
Man Overboard &
Emergencies

No Frames Frames

IV. A crucial part of sailing involves planning and training for emergencies such as being towed, a knockdown or capsizing, and a man overboard.

A. Man Overboard

1. Analysis: key is reacting quickly & not panicking

Beforehand, develop analysis:

How strong is wind & how high waves?

How cold is water in terms of hypothermia?

At outset, inquire if crew can swim & experience Importance of practicing man overboard drill

2. Inside the boat commands

Yell "man overboard"

Throw flotation devices immediately

Spot man overboard & assign spotter

Put tiller to leeward immediately

Plan recovery

3. Boat maneuvers: quick stop

Head up into wind, come about, backwind jib

Approach target, throw lifesling, horseshoe, line tied to seat cushion, or line

Heave to

Approach from windward so victim can be brought aboard from leeward quarter

In heavy seas, approach from leeward if danger of boat coming down off wave onto victim

Avoid jibing in rough sea or wind as may be dangerous in a panic situation

Instead of circling victim, come from "inside"

Elegance of quick stop: after tacking, by pushing tiller "hard alee" second time, have quick heave to "on top of" victim

4. Hauling aboard-may be most difficult part

Haul aboard off cockpit since bow & stern see- saw more so as to come down on top of victim

Swim ladder-may be best & easiest way

Hand over hand along gunwale to stern if swim ladder there & if victim & conditions permit

Life sling or rope using block & tackle

Foot or knee loop (bowline)

Use of jib if victim unconscious

B. Towing

When being towed, secure tow line to foredeck cleat & directly out chock to tow boat

When towing another boat, attach tow rope to a bridle attached to the two stern cleats

Use very low speeds

Bail out water before attempting to tow a boat

C. Knockdown or Capsizing

Get sails down & in boat, stay with boat, locate everyone, put on PFDs

"Step up into a life raft"

D. Thunderstorms & Bad Weather

Get sails down

Main is most important as can be caught by wind & drive boat out of control; jib can always be let run free

Put on engine and run on bare poles if sea room

Put storm jib up to get steerage if time

Find shelter & anchor in lee of land

Know emergency safehavens & sheltered anchorages

Don`t worry about lightning-cone of protection, along as stay away from metal.