EQUIPMENT TO LOCATE MOB
NO MATTER what size or type of boat you have, you should carry:
■ USCG-approved floating cushions, ring buoys, and life jackets
with colors that stand out at sea and that are readily available.
These can help the victim float and help lead you back to him.
(Life jackets with mirrors and waterproof lights are a smart idea.)
EQUIPMENT TO RETRIEVE MOB
ACCORDING TO RESCUE PROFESSIONALS, getting an exhausted victim back aboard who may be unable to assist in the rescue can be far
more challenging than returning to the victim. Every boat should be
equipped with an easy way for someone to get aboard from the water.
On most boats, the best solution is a boarding ladder that’s
structurally strong, well-designed, easily put in place, and long
enough for your freeboard and for the victim to climb easily. The
ladder should be relatively vertical, stand off the hull for toe clearance (which a rope ladder doesn’t do), have nonskid steps, and be
capable of firmly attaching to the boat. Generally, a ladder mounted
to the side is safer and easier to use than one on the stern.
If your boat has low freeboard and came with a boarding ladder,
Improve your ladder and hand grip, or get a long ladder
that hooks over the gunwale, such as the West Marine
Portable Gunwale-Mount Boarding Ladder.
Lines with loops at each end can also be useful. They
need to be of proper length to rig quickly for use as a
handhold, support, or recovery sling.
Beyond these essentials, you may want to carry a
MOM (Man Overboard Module) and/or a Lifesling. MOMs come in
several models ranging from floats to platform rafts that rapidly
release and inflate. The Lifesling has a floating yellow yoke, and you
can buy a 5: 1 purchase tackle to help pull the victim up
Your boat must be set up in advance to properly utilize this
gear. For example, the tackle that you can purchase with a Lifesling
can help a weak person lift a heavy person out of the water. But
a secure attachment point on the boat high enough above water
(generally about 10 feet above the waterline) must be installed in
advance. If there isn’t a high enough place to attach a securing
point, the Markus Scramble-net or other equipment that doesn’t
require as high an attachment point may work for you (www.
seamarshall-us.com/maritime-mob-scramble-nets.html). — T.N.
Here are other MOB-location gear to consider carrying:
■ Auto Tether Screamer Wireless Alarm System sounds an alarm
that a crewmember wearing a transmitter has gone overboard.
The sooner you know you have an MOB, the more likely you are
to find the victim in time ( www.autotether.com).
■ SafeLink R10 SRS (Survivor Recovery System) utilizes both GPS
technology and the AIS system to help you and nearby AIS-equipped vessels find a victim ( www.kannadmarine.com).
■ ResQLink+ by ACR is a personal locator beacon (PLB) worn by
the victim that enables USCG to find and retrieve him. (Note:
PLBs alert authorities, but not you, to the MOB. An MOB alarm
enables you to respond immediately — particularly important if
the water is cold and the victim has no flotation.)
■ An MOB floating rescue flagpole that you can toss over the side. It
unfurls a bright yellow flag that’s easier to spot from a distance.
Man Overboard Modules
(MOMs) like the Switlik 600
provide flotation and visibility.
on the VHF. Unless you’re in really cold
water, it usually takes a relatively long time
to become unconscious due to hypothermia.
The key is to keep the victim from drowning,
getting injured, or becoming disconnected
from the mother ship.
As you practice, think through contingency plans for each of the three steps necessary to retrieve a person who has gone over
the side: Return to the victim, approach the
victim, and get the victim aboard.
Return to the victim: If a person goes over
the side while the boat is underway, it’s normally best to turn toward the side he went
over, in order to swing the stern and props
away from the victim.
You should know instantly when some-
one goes over if you’re in a smaller center
console. But in a larger boat, more time
may pass before you notice. To find the
victim, you will need to calculate and steer
a reciprocal course back to the location.
The illustrations on page 63 show several
methods for returning to a victim. For more
information, refer to the Coast Guard Boat
Crew Seamanship Manual (for a link, see our
sidebar on page 67).
If you need to rely on the MOB feature
on your GPS to find the victim, learn where
that button is, now, so you can push it while
doing everything else needed at the same
time. Be sure you will understand, even
under duress, what the GPS is telling you.
Approach the victim: Two effective alter-
natives for approaching the victim are illus-
trated on page 64. Decide on the best
approach based on factors including but
not limited to sea state, current, whether
other boats are approaching, your boat’s
characteristics, and your crew’s capabilitites.
Have those responsible for pulling the victim
aboard (hopefully more than just you) in
position and ready.
In most situations, it is safest to approach
the victim with your bow facing into the
wind and waves. If possible, throw him a line
when you get close enough. Then turn off
the engine(s), pull the victim in to the boat,
and bring him to the ladder-hoisting area.
This will minimize the chance of striking the
victim with the propeller.