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Man Over Board... While Motoring!

Sep 24, 2018
805
O'Day 25 Chicago
One of my favorite spots on a boat is the bow. I've always been hesitant to let people sit up there while motoring. Let's say someone falls off of a boat while motoring. In an effort to avoid hitting them with the prop would you throw it in reverse? Neutral? Steer away?
 

capta

.
Jun 4, 2009
3,653
Pearson 530 Admiralty Bay, Bequia SVG
Assuming the boat is doing round 6 knots, i f they don't get knocked unconscious by the boat hitting them, I'd put your best bet at putting the boat into neutral and throttle down after. Either way, I doubt they'd come out unscathed.
 
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Likes: Boomer54
Sep 24, 2018
805
O'Day 25 Chicago
Would putting it in reverse create enough thrust to push the person away from the prop? There's no way the boat is stopping. It's simply too much weight not to mention it takes time to react to such an event
 
Oct 22, 2014
12,095
CAL 35 Cruiser Portland OR, moored EVERETT WA
Pull back on power. Drop into neutral. Command crew to spot MOB in PFD and not lose sight. Start turn to circle mob. Throw life sling out stern. Throw float cushion to MOB. Use inertia to circle MOB. Call MOB In water emergency on VHF 16. Recover MOB.
 
Nov 26, 2014
37
HUNTER h31 Northport L.I.
My first instinct would be to turn to the side of the fall as the ship turns from the aft away from mob then perform mob procedure
 
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Likes: JRT
Feb 8, 2014
1,137
Columbia 36 Muskegon
Big ship procedure is to turn towards the side they fell off. That pivots the prop away from the mob. On a small boat though, you've probably already run over them before you can turn.
 
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Likes: All U Get

TomY

Alden Forum Moderator
Jun 22, 2004
2,260
Alden 38' Challenger yawl Rockport Harbor
One of my favorite spots on a boat is the bow. I've always been hesitant to let people sit up there while motoring. Let's say someone falls off of a boat while motoring. In an effort to avoid hitting them with the prop would you throw it in reverse? Neutral? Steer away?
We have this drill all the time. But the MOB is a buoy. The call from the bow is POT!!! That tells the helm we've just run over a buoy. If under power, jump for the shifter, and throw it into neutral. That seems to work if, or I'm fast with the shifter. There is only a second - maybe two, at best, doing hull speed.

I don't want to imagine the scenario but it would be difficult for a MOB to find the prop in the keel/rudder aperture, if you fell off the bow, but the result is too grizzly to imagine.

Lobster buoy 4.jpg


Under sail, we just forgetaboutit.

I've run over hundreds of them. They go 'boom, boom, booom' along the hull,...then 'pop' at the stern. Then usually one more 'BONG' as they hit the bow of our dinghy.
 
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Likes: Will Gilmore
Jan 19, 2010
7,962
Hunter 26 Lake Martin AL
On smith mountain lake ... bow riding under power is illegal

on my boat, I follow this rule at all times.
 
Last edited:
Oct 22, 2014
12,095
CAL 35 Cruiser Portland OR, moored EVERETT WA
Seeing @TomY ’s great image of a buoy bouncing along the hull reinforces the importance of crew wearing a PDF. If your floating on the surface you are less likely to visit with a sailboat prop.

And once again it is spring and time to do an inflation test of those auto inflate PDF’s on the boat. Gives you a chance to let the spiders escape, unfolding the inflatable fabric. Use the manual inflate tub to blowup the tubes. Check the other gear you attached to the PDF, like whistle, knife, batteries on lights, and that little White Pill that triggers the opening.


Be safe out there.
 
Mar 26, 2011
2,561
Corsair F-24 MK I Deale, MD
Do we know of a single case of someone falling off the bow of a sail boat under power and being injured by the motion of the boat or the motor? I'm actually curious, because I have never heard of it. Fall off anchoring or docking, but injuries were always the result of hitting dock and never related to the boat or motor, so let's exclude this, since it isn't bow riding. Falling in always carries some risk of drowning, particularly if the water is cold. And hanging feet under the rail to get wet is clearly foolish, but I guess we can include these.

High speed power boat bow riding is an unrelated subject, IMO.

I think it is obvious that neutral is the only choice. I already have that reflex from crab floats.
 
Jan 19, 2010
7,962
Hunter 26 Lake Martin AL
Do we know of a single case of someone falling off the bow of a sail boat under power and being injured by the motion of the boat or the motor? ...
I don't know of any cases but here is the edict from SML... see the 5th paragraph down

 
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Likes: Will Gilmore
Jan 19, 2010
7,962
Hunter 26 Lake Martin AL
@thinwater got me curious so I went digging.... I did find this article but it was a pontoon boat.



Here is another one
 
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Likes: Will Gilmore
Jan 19, 2010
7,962
Hunter 26 Lake Martin AL
Actually there seems to be a lot of stories of people getting hit by props after bow riding.
 
Feb 17, 2006
4,804
Lancer 27PS MCB Camp Pendleton KF6BL
Me? I would immediately kill the engine, while still in gear. Thus preventing the prop from free spinning (if that is what it does in neutral). We know the boat is going to keep moving, nothing we can do about that. Then once we find the MOB we start the motor and retrieve. JMHO
 
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Likes: Will Gilmore
Mar 26, 2011
2,561
Corsair F-24 MK I Deale, MD
Actually there seems to be a lot of stories of people getting hit by props after bow riding.
But NOT on sailboats. The geometry, speeds, and reaction to wakes is different. Show me a case with a sailboat. I am interested. Not sayin' it couldn't happen, just sayin' it's not something that does happen and is probably a non-concern for sailors. It's a "what if" rather than an established risk. Make sure they are careful and restrict it to calm weather conditions.

If there is a local rule, I get that. I follow rules.
 
May 25, 2012
2,779
john alden caravelle 42 sturgeon bay, wis
while under power it is illegal to have any part of the body hanging over the side of the vessel. when under power a vessel with a mast and boom on it is a power boat.
ends all other speculation.
federal regulation.
local therefore too.
 
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Likes: rgranger