Making Waves Foundation A man is working on a sailboat ensuring safety with a rope attached to it.

25.  Safety

25.1 Man Overboard (MOB) Recovery

Kayle MOB Procedures – Inshore

Headsail and mainsail

All MWF crew members should note that their own personal safety is paramount during the MOB.
A 2IC is appointed prior to sailing who will take over if it is the skipper who is the MOB. 
The 2IC should make themselves known to all crew.

Overview for inshore recovery

ENGINE  Our standard practice is to use the engine for the recovery of the MOB.
CREW The pointer will keep pointing at all times. If more than one person assumes the pointing role, the skipper will nominate who will maintain the pointing role
SAILS If the main sail is hoisted we must approach the MOB on a close reach (50-70 degrees off the wind), this enables the main to be spilled/depowered so the engine can then be used to control the boat speed.

We will always pick the MOB up on the starboard side, near the shrouds, this is because the throttle control is on the starboard side, and the helm will have a better view of the MOB.We will always pick the MOB to leeward at the shrouds, which will need to be the side of the throttle:

• Kayle, 97 & Wot Eva – starboard.
Joy – port.

NB: if using a boat not part of fleet, it will always be a leeward pick up, same side as the throttle.

The first choice is to pick up the casualty on the windward side, this will always be Plan A, however if the skipper thinks it is better to pick up on the leeward side this will be their call on the day. 

If the boat is sailing up wind, we must stop the boat as soon as safely possible by hoving to.

If the boat is sailing downwind, we need to stop the boat as soon as possible, in a safe manner i.e turning up into the wind, we cannot let the headsail sheets flog and injure participants or crew on the foredeck.

Crew roles during the recovery

RS (RS) Rescue swimmer – the person nominated prior to departure, they will be wearing the climbing harness the entire time of the sail, they will have practised going over the side to retrieve the MOB.
Director (D)

This is the crew member who will be calling for the lowering of the RS and the MOB retrieval halyard, they should be the only crew member talking when the RS is getting lowered into the water and when the RS and MOB are being hoisted back onto the boat.

This person may or may not be the skipper, 2IC or any crew member the skipper has allocated.

Pit x 2 (P) Each pit crew member will be responsible for the correct operation of the halyard that they will be looking after.
Helm (H) This may or may not be the skipper, it will be the skipper’s decision to stay on the helm or to manage the whole operation from a different position.
Pointer (P) The person who sees the MOB go off the boat, this role can be swapped during the operation, if the pointer is the RS or is needed somewhere else. The most important thing is, if this role is being taken over by another crew member, the new pointer must be pointing at the casualty before the original pointer stops pointing.

Inshore MOB procedure

Recovery procedure if sailing upwind with headsail and mainsail

1. The crew member who sees the casualty go overboard SOUNDS the ALARM.
2. By shouting ‘Man Overboard, Man overboard, Man overboard’.
3. This crew member physically points at the casualty and does not stop pointing.
4. They will also say “(Their Name) is pointing”.
5. They need to be in a position that enables them to “see” the MOB at all times. If they need to move around the boat, they should be hanging on with the non-pointing hand.
6. If another crew member is close by, then deploy the life ring, if we are more than 50 metres away, throw the large white fenders over, these will act as a trail back to the MOB.
7. Pointer to keep focusing on pointing and only pointing, they have to keep pointing, if they lose sight of the casualty they will still be pointing in the last known location of the casualty.

Skippers action

1. If sailing upwind the skipper will call for a hove too (a tack where we do not touch anything) as soon as safely possible. Making sure all others on board are safe before they maneuver the boat.
2. The throttle is put into neutral, and the engine started. Check for ropes over the side before engaging the engine.
3. When it is confirmed that we have forward and reverse gear, the engine is engaged in forward and the boat turned downwind to furl the headsail, if windy the headsail may have to be gybed first to furl, this is decided on the day.
4. The main is kept tight, only eased if the skipper needs it eased in order to bear away.
5. We then head down wind, we should pass close.
6 When downwind of the MOB by approximately 7-8 boat lengths. Turn the boat through the wind, either a gybe or granny tack, which is safest, this is the skipper’s choice.
7. The skipper may ask if the rescue swimmer is ready.

The Rescue swimmer

1. Once the headsail is away the rescue swimmer moves forward to the starboard shrouds. They will then attach the swimmer halyard.
2. A bowline is used to attach the halyard to themselves.
3. The RS will then inflate their life jacket.
4. Another crew member (The director) will come forward to the shrouds to help the RS prepare.
5. They will pass the casualty halyard. (The large rescue hook that is kept at the mast is attached to this halyard via a bow line).
6. A sail tie is then attached to the shrouds via a cow hitch, this is then wrapped around the shrouds with the 2 halyards inside, this is to stop the swimmer getting washed aft when in the water.

The pit crew x 2

1. There will need to be 2 crew members who are working in the pit.
2. They will ensure that the swimmer and casualty halyards are released.
3. When the halyards are attached and ready, the RS’s halyard is put on the winch ready for the RS to be lowered into the water.
4. The casualty’s halyard should be free to run.

The final approach

1. The pointer will now need to be on the bow of the boat, if it is not safe for the pointer to move around the boat, a new pointer may have taken over from the position on the bow.
2. After the tack or gybe the main will be depowered, eased enough that it is luffing not giving any forward motion. The engine is a way of driving forward
3. As the RS and D, are at the shrouds on the same side as the pointer, the pointer now must be raising and lowering their arm so the helm can see clearly where they are pointing.
4. The helm will approach from the starboard side and to leeward till they end up 2-3mt leeward abeam of the shrouds. The boat should be on a close reach point of sail.
5. When the MOB is at the bow, it is important the P, moves aft with the MOB keeping them directly at 90 degrees, this will help the helm to stop the boat with the MOB 2-3 metres away from the boat next to the shrouds, on the starboard side.
6. The rescue swimmer is then lowered into the water on the swimmer halyard, with slack in the casualty halyard.
7. When the RS is in the water, the D will line up the RS and MOB and point so the RS can swim on their back to the MOB.
8. When the RS has contacted the MOB, the D will yell contact.
9. When the RS has the MOB attached to the halyard via the recue hook on the MOBS lifting beckets on their life jacket, the RS will yell made.
10. The RS will wrap their arms and legs around the casualty, so they are face-to-face. If this is not possible, hold onto the back of the casualty’s life jacket or with arms around the casualty from the back.
11. It is then the call of the D to start hoisting the 2 people in the water together.
12. It is important that they are raised face to face and at the same speed, this is down to the D, who is talking to the 2 x pit crew grinding the halyards
13. The sail tie is still around the halyards, stopping the MOB and RS from swinging forward or aft.
14. The 2 are raised together until deck level where the MOB is bought back onto the boat.
15. If the casualty is getting raised faster the D will call “hold casualty”, when they are both level, D will call grind both.
16. D may have to lean on both halyards as they are getting hoisted up to keep them off the topsides.
17. When the casualty is at the level of the deck, we pull them onto the boat.
18. Aid is given to the swimmer if they need help to get over the lifelines.


Whilst the recovery is happening a call can be made to 000.

In the red on-board document folder is the list of wharves that we can be accessed by an ambulance. Refer red folder to find out where in your region the pickup locations are.

The casualty and rescue swimmer need to go to hospital, to prevent secondary drowning, from unknowingly inhaling water.

Recovery procedure if sailing downwind with Main and headsail

      • We do not need to hove to.

      • Only difference is we start the engine, furl the headsail whilst down wind.

      • Everything else stays the same from this point.

    Procedure for offshore MOB

    1. The MOB button on the chart plotter is held in for 3 seconds, an alarm is heard when activated.
    2. The MOB AIS icon should be displayed on the chart plotter screen.
    3. The track should be always running as another way to log where the MOB occurred.
    4. As much debris should be thrown over i.e fenders etc to leave a trail back to the MOB.
    5. The skipper will advise when to make a Mayday call.
    6. A bearing and distance will be displayed on the chart plotter back to the position the MOB button was activated.
    7. If you are the MOB, if you are ok, give us a wave.
    8. If your AIS ariel is not deployed the auto/on has not worked, you will need to manually activate the unit.
    9. If your AIS ariel is not deployed the auto/on has not worked, you will need to manually activate the unit.
    10. Get into the HELP position and try to stay calm.

    25.2 Safety and Sea Survival

        • Preferably all offshore crew involved in racing and deliveries will hold a current Safety and Sea Survival certification. The minimum ratio of crew on offshore deliveries with a Safety and Sea Survival certificate is 50%. Preference will be given to qualified crew.

        • Safety and Sea Survival Certification accepted for deliveries include: World Sailing, Australian Sailing, RYA, STCW-10 and Elements of Ship Board Safety. For Cat 1 Races, only World Sailing recognised certificates will be accepted.

        • All crew are required to have a working knowledge of all safety equipment on board e.g. EPIRB’s, Life Buoy, Dan Buoy, MOB Life Sling, Fire Extinguishers, Flares and V-Sheet and know where to find them on board:
              • “Taking-On-Water” procedure
                    • Make sure you know where all through-hull fittings are and where the associated tapered plugs are located

                    • The location and usage of the various bilge pumps

                • Firefighting procedure
                      • Make sure you know where all the onboard fire extinguishers are located and how to operate them effectively

                  • On board EPIRB’s, Flares and V-Sheet
                        • Make sure you know where the on board EPIRB’s, flares and V-Sheet are located, and when and how to use them

              25.3 First Aid

                  • Skippers must obtain and maintain a current recognised First Aid Certificate and crew are encouraged to do so.

                  • Ensure you are aware of the location and contents of the inshore first aid kit

                25.4 Radio Operation

                    • Skippers must have and maintain a current radio operator’s license and 2ICs are encouraged to do so.

                    • Ensure you have a working knowledge of on-board VHF radio operation


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