Crew Overboard


Man Overboard FlagClearly, one of the most significant things anyone can learn in the sailing world is how to efficiently and quickly return to someone who has fallen overboard. Even if this never occurs to you and, chances are, it won't; If you know how to perform these maneuvers you will be a more confident and skilled sailor. This is always a big topic of discussion in our classes. We like to teach at least two different procedures to give students a choice. In your own boat one of these will probably work better than another. This is not meant to be an exhaustive guide but to represent some proven ways to return to a person fallen overboard.

Many people's first response to someone falling overboard, while the boat is under sail, is to turn on the engine and return under power. This technique can easily cause greater harm to the situation. Lines can get caught around the propeller and the spinning propeller can cause harm to the victim in the water. We prefer returning under sail in almost all situations. Whatever method you choose the old mantra applies: Practice, practice, practice.

The Deep Beam recovery. This technique is relatively new and finding favor in the sailing community. We have taught this for about 3 years now and find it easy to learn and carry out.


Deep Beam Recovery Technique

Proceed as follows:

The Quick Stop recovery. This technique can work very well and the boat always remains close to the victim. This does require a jibe but is done with control as the main sheet is brought in.


Quick Stop Recovery Technique

Proceed as follows:

Return under power. Secure lines so they are not dragging in the water and cut the engine when close to the victim.


Under Power Recovery Technique

Proceed as follows:


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If you are ready to find out for yourself what it's like to sail a 35-50' boat, receive meaningful sailing lessons, and get a taste of the sea then check out an excellent resource: Blue Water Sailing School. All sailing lessons lead to ASA certification and are taught by experienced instructors who are licensed by the U.S. Coast Guard (Captain's license).