Every boat should have a documented and communicated man overboard plan. Here are a handful of resources and tips to help you make the right plan for your boat, no matter what type of sailing you do.
When it comes to man overboard procedures, there are a handful of options, and they often come with some heated opinions. However, it is up to you and your crew to pick the plan and maneuvers you’re most comfortable with.
Regardless what plan you choose, outline your man overboard plan and make sure your crew is familiar with it and where all of the equipment is located. The next step is to practice, practice, practice. Practice until every sailor is comfortable performing the drill. As you practice, rotate roles and make sure multiple crew are comfortable at the helm for the maneuver. This is especially important if you’re shorthanded sailing with only one other sailor. Man overboard maneuvers are no good if the only person comfortable driving falls overboard! Once you settle on a plan, it doesn’t hurt to print the diagrams and steps and store them somewhere on the boat so it is easy to review, practice or bring a new crew up to speed.
The internet is full of great resources, but at the end of the day, the best maneuver is the one that safely and successfully recovers the sailor. Try out a few, find the ones that work for you, and make sure to practice them regularly. Here are a handful of resources our teams like and recommend.
(Article & Diagrams) This is one of the more comprehensive articles with great instructions and diagrams for the different maneuvers. It also lists the pros and cons for each. Click here >>
(Video) These guys do an awesome job of combining onboard footage and drone footage and their instruction is on point. One of least contested and most praised demonstrations on YouTube!
(Article & Diagram) The folks at Catamaran Guru discuss the maneuver for shorthanded sailor, making a point that cruising yachts are mostly sailed by couples. Click here >>
(Article) A trusted source for all things sailing, including safety. This article is provided by their world-class safety education arm, Safety at Sea. Also from US Sailing, instructions on the Quick-Stop Rescue. Click here >>
(Video) This video keeps it simple and does a nice job of demonstrating a rescue with a bit of added humor.
(Article) Hailing from 2006, this one is a little more dated, but has great information and links to other good resources, including a list of recovery gear. Click Here >>
(Article & Diagrams) This is the RYA Yachtmaster™ accepted maneuver and they do a great job of explaining how to execute it. Click here >>
Do you have a favorite resource for man overboard drills? Share it in the comments!