Learning from recent incidents, MOB at sea


Photo courtesy Sail World

There was a good recent article in Sail World (https://www.sail-world.com/news/208089) which reflected on a number of recent fatal incidents at sea involving yachts.

Whilst each incident has individual factors, which we would not like to comment specifically on while investigations are underway, we do make the following observations.

Many incidents involved a person falling overboard, the dreaded Man overboard call we never want to hear.  Mull over on your own boat:

  • What might cause a person to go overboard (gybing, big waves, headsail changes) ?
  • What could you do to avoid that (eg tethers, training, policies) ?
  • What would you do if someone went overboard on your yacht (does your MOB button take time to activate, do people know that) ?
  • Would your crew know what to do (when was the last time you did a real MOB drill, not just pick up a lifering on a nice day) ?
  • How would you locate someone if you lost sight of them (likely at night, rough seas or when your travelling fast) ?
  • How would get them back on board (assuming they were unconcious and heavy) ?

People, process, tools or often a combination of all three approaches may help reduce the risk. 

  • People - clarity of command, training, skills
  • Process - standard policies and procedures, for things like sail changes, gybing, wearing of safety gear and in particular for MOB drills
  • Tools - PFDs, Tethers, MOB buttons, AIS SART units, PLBs

It got us thinking so hopefully flagging this gets you thinking too.  While your thinking, consider our upcoming Safety and Sea Survival Course (SSSC) where we cover this in detail or our SSSC Revalidation course where we run through some recent incident reports.