MOB (Man Over Board).

The manoeuvre which needs to be executed after the fall in the sea of a crew member has some common rules in all situations.

But it is equally required to take the circumstances into account and especially to stay calm.

Ahead of all, there are already two actions to observe.

  1. Before the departure the crew must be briefed to explain which procedure to follow and how to start and stop the engine.

  2. Require wearing the life jacket permanently and a harness during the night, with bad visibility, with bad weather for all displacements outside the cockpit. At night a flash light needs to be carried in addition.

In case of an accident the procedure is as follows:

  1. The person which witnesses the fall shouts “ man over board” and specifies the side of the fall. Subsequently, he/she follows the the victim visually and points an arm in his direction.

  2. Mark the place of the accident by throwing a horseshoe buoy and/or an IOR perche and/or a smoke pot in the direction of the MOB.

  3. Push the MOB button on the GPS, the VHF, mark the position, the time and the direction of the compass in the logbook.

  4. Recovering of the MOB.

  5. In case recovery fails within 5 minutes after the accident activate the distress alert by VHF (DSC and channel 16).

Procedure of recoveryBoutakoff

  1. By engine

The traditional manoeuvre is known as « manœuvre of Boutakoff ». Only the Anglo-Saxons call it « The Williamson ».

It means to turn by 90 degrees to the side of the man over board. Subsequently returning to the initial course and continue to turn until heading in the opposite direction. Hence, return upwind towards the MOB.

  1. By sail

    Nota : if the engine is available it is compulsory to start it and keep it running in neutral!

a. Sail and engine

Bare away to a bearing course and ease sails to slow down. Start the engine in neutral position. Furl/lower the head sails. Sheet the main sail in to the boat axis and gibe. Head upwind towards the MOB. With strong wind, sheet in the main sail. Approach the MOB upwind by slowing down to stop at the height of the person.

b. Sail only

Without or with failing engine it is necessary to manoeuvre in order to return upwind to the MOB and to stop at that location.

Bare away to a bearing course and ease sails to slow down. Depending on the wind and the number of crew it is either possible to gibe or to luff, tack and bare away on the opposite board – which does not present any risk with strong wind or single handed. Subsequently, it is necessary to return towards the MOB, pass on his lee side and immediately tack leaving the genoa back. By moving the rudder in the wind and easing the main sail, the boat stabilizes and stops directly upwind of the man over board (if the manoeuvre is executed correctly).