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Crew overboard, an analysis of a fatality

 
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thataway



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PostPosted: Mon Apr 08, 2019 9:19 pm    Post subject: Crew overboard, an analysis of a fatality Reply with quote

Recently released by the Chicago Yacht club the findings of a committee review of crew overboard which occurred during the 2018 Chicago Yacht Club Race to Mackinac on July 21, 2018.

Read report here.

Conditions were what I would consider "Rough" but not unusual for a long sailboat race.

A quick summery: The owner of the 52 foot racing sailboat was not aboard, and was ill. There was a full compliment of 13 crew members all very experienced and a cumulative experience of 245 Chicago to Mackinac races. 95% of the crew had formal training in safety at sea--two members had expired certificates (over 5 years old)

A cursory dock talk, may not have fully addressed the COB situation, and there was a "Hat over board" drill accomplished in the harbor, under power, retrieved with a boat hook (?). This did not replicate the sailing conditions of that day.

The crew member was using an inflatable life jacket, belonging to the boat--and it supposedly had been inspected within two weeks. The boat was equipped with a life sling, MOM8 and a heaving line.

The COB occurred within 26 minutes of the start of the race, and was under 25 knots of wind and seas up to 8 feet. Boat speed 9,.5 knots at 50* off the wind. The COB was aft in the cockpit tending the jib winch and had moved to tighten the vang, the rest of the crew, except driver was on the windward rail. The COB. lost his footing with a wave hitting the boat, and hung onto the boat for at least a few seconds before he was noted to be mission. MOB was immediately marked on the GPS by both the TP52 and a nearby competitor within 20 seconds of the COB. A designated spotter began to keep eyes and point to the COB. COB life jacket never inflated despite hydrostatic inflator, manual to auto tab and air tube to inflate by mouth. On the TP 52 it takes most of the crew to get both the Main and jib down safely, and the first attempt was made under sail. By this time the jib was fouled and could not be fully lowered. Engine was started and active for second attempt; during the 3rd attempt a wave caught the COB and swept him under the boat--he sank shortly there after, and body recovered days later. DSC was not triggered for 15 minutes and several attempts at rescue. CG and other rescue agencies did not respond on scene for 45 minutes.

The major lessons were: Always have a specific life jacket that the crew member is familiar with. Have a designated spotter. Get materials in the water (MOM8 in this case: This is an auto inflatable collar to go under armpits, an inflatable pylon with strobe light, a drogue--all of which deploy immediately over the stern on activation.). Could also be a floatation cushion, life ring or fender. A life sling was never deployed. The throw rope was never deployed.

My takeaway was that sail should have been dropped immediately. The COB may not have been familiar with life jacket. Unknown is why the Life Sling, MOM8 or throwing line were not deployed. MOM8 immediately--the life sling on the first pass and an attempt to throw the heaving line (instead of trying to throw the sheets of the boat's jib). Most of the professional ocean racers have designated and trained rescue swimmer to be used in rough conditions. Perhaps more recreational offshore racers should also designate rescue swimmers.

Moral, train for crew overboard. Check the life jackets and be familiar. Check and replace bobbins and cartridges yearly or at least every 2 years. Be familiar with DSC and employ immediately, be aware of MOB function of GPS. If falling overboard shed your boots, and other gear which give difficulty swimming

Our own preparations include a number of MOB drills in the past. We have a Life ring in the cockpit--and a heaving line nearby in a throw bag. We also have fenders always available to throw out of the cockpit. We nearly always have our crane davit rigged--capacity is 150#, but I am sure it would handle my 180# weight to recover me if necessary.

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starcrafttom



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PostPosted: Tue Apr 09, 2019 2:35 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

for the non sailing and racing what is COB and MOM8
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JamesTXSD



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PostPosted: Tue Apr 09, 2019 2:50 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

starcrafttom wrote:
for the non sailing and racing what is COB and MOM8


COB = Crew Overboard

MOM 8:

https://www.switlik.com/marine/mom8-s/tech-specs

Man overboard rescue system
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thataway



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PostPosted: Tue Apr 09, 2019 8:55 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Tom,
The gender correct police have now entered the various sailing associations--and since there are people of all multiple and various genders racing sailboats, they have adopted the Crew Over Board, which used to be called Man Over Board. Wink

The MOM 8 is the latest iteration of a man overboard system which as been required first in the TransPac (Los Angeles to Honolulu sailing race) since at least the 1950's. The original was a life ring, and a 10 to 12 foot tapered pole with a weighted lower unit, and float, so it would float with a flag at least 8 feet off the surface of the water and act as a locator if a person went overboard. These were kept at the stern of the boat, usually along the back stay or in tubes in the hull of the boat,. The MOM series have been all inflatables--as I described in the 7th paragraph-- of a floatation collar for under the arm pits, (Can also be used to hoist the person out of the water). an inflated 6' pylon with a light visible for a mile, and a drogue. This is in a plastic modular case kept at the stern. This gives a visual track back to where the COB occurred.... (We carried both the life sling, and two of the TransPac fiberglass 12' poles on our cruising boats when offshore.). We did have a friend who's husband slipped overboard, when she was off watch sleeping below. Something awoke her, and she scrambled on deck to find her husband gone and out of sight. She immediately deployed one of the poles, and it provided a sight line--compass bearing back to where she eventually found her husband in the water--no life jacket. But they did have a life sling--and he got safely aboard......Divorced her about a year later...!!
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Byrdman



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PostPosted: Wed Apr 10, 2019 9:31 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Had a for real “great training” drill on. 44 Kadey Krogan.... as we simpley failed to snap down the foredeck seat cushion after cleaning, which with crosswinds blew overboard underway. Crazy heavy dead weight once we circled back at blazing speed of 7 knots... it just about pulled me off the boat as I hooked it. I quickly let go! The Krogans are designed to “glide” thru the water and she did. We got down wind and backed down on it the next shot. Each vessel and conditions are different. In the Army we called it practicing being miserable. Our crew had a serious talk at diner. Great lesson learned about crew drills. They should not stop when you retire. Much re-learned by simply not snapping about 8 snaps. We were fortunate it was not a real crew member. We did many things wrong.
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ken35216



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PostPosted: Wed Apr 10, 2019 9:59 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Good thread.
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hardee



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PostPosted: Wed Apr 10, 2019 10:37 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I just added the Fell marine MOB+ device on my boat with 2 personnel FOBs, one for the pilot that kills the engines for at least 6 seconds, and one for a passenger that comes on with an alarm (visual and audible) within seconds of either getting wet or distance from the boat. Hopefully that will give me the chance to get back to the boat should I take an unplanned swim.

See that thread here:
http://www.c-brats.com/viewtopic.php?t=26991&highlight=

I carry a LifeSling lift, and multiple other rescue devices. (Primarily for my Volunteer Services through the season.)

Good thread and thanks for the learning and relearning opportunity.

Harvey
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JamesTXSD



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PostPosted: Wed Apr 10, 2019 12:04 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

In the boat jobs we did before re-retiring, safety training was at least a once-a-month event. One of those jobs also had me driving a rescue boat as needed. Different boats had Life Sling, life rings, throw bags, emergency ladder, block & tackle, and a davit system to be used with the Life Sling. I trained on all those devices, but until you have pulled a 200 pound person who is unable to assist out of the water, it can be hard to imagine how much lifting force is needed. I could not have done it by myself.

I have seen plenty of training done by tossing a fender or floating throwable over - snagging that with a boat pole is just the beginning of what is necessary in a real rescue situation. It is important to know what kind of driving maneuver gets you back to the MOB, wind and wave dependent. Then, the real physical work comes into play.
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thataway



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PostPosted: Wed Apr 10, 2019 12:29 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

jim,
Excellent point--which was also in the article. Practicing with a cushion hat or fender is nothing like the real MOB situation. I fell overboard from my dad's boat when I was about 11. We were halfway between San Pedro and Catalina. There was a toe rail which was 1.5" high, and no lifelines. I had gone forward to snug up the halyards, which in those days were made of Manilla rope--and would stretch. The deck was wet and slippery. I went over. My dad was strong enough to grab me on the first pass. Water was cold, boots fill with water, pants impede swimming. Fortunately I was a skinny kid, who knew how to tread water and swim. My dad was strong and a skilled sailer. (outboard motor which went in a well, was always stowed below when we got out of the harbor.)

Marie and I have practiced MOB in the past, on larger boats, wearing wet suits etc. If neither of us were injured, I believe that we could get a person at least partially out of the water. Then that person could help pull on the 6:1 bock and tackle on the Garhauer Davit. The way we set up the davit, the jam cleat on the top traps the rope after each pull. Two people pulling at once plus the "unweighting" of the person in the water, with the pull, should help a lot. On our larger sailboats there was plenty of power--since we rigged the spinnaker halyard to hoist a 300# + dinghy aboard routinely with the anchor windless capstan.

Always plan ahead and have a plan to retrieve a person overboard. Harvey, how do you get back on the boat? Can you get your ladder down and is it long enough? What happens in heavy seas, when that stern is slapping up and down? Sometimes it is difficult to get from the dinghy to the boat in seas, even in an anchorage when there are large seas.
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thataway



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PostPosted: Fri Apr 12, 2019 5:18 pm    Post subject: Difficulty hoisting MOB Reply with quote

I came upon this video, when browsing the Cruising Forum and MOB:
Various devices (UK) for retrieving a MOB.

Even with several crew and boat not under way--sailboat, with boom, spinnaker halyard and block and tackle--not easy under fairly calm conditions.

This was in Yachting Monthly Sept. 2012
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Gulfcoastjohn



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PostPosted: Sun Apr 14, 2019 7:29 pm    Post subject: mob Reply with quote

Thanks, Bob, for your insights and the link.
Impressive that the COB victim had recently completed a triathlon. Only a few dozen Brats have recently done that (and we know who they are).

I gather that his owner-issued PFD was a hydrostatic model (p33) and that therefore it would not have a bobbin to replace. However, the entire hydrostatic mechanism should have been replaced every 5 years from the date of mfg…even though the PFD’s may have come with the 13 year old boat and perhaps never had the mechanisms replaced at all. If I understand it correctly, PFDs with a hydrostatic inflator won’t inflate when hit by rain or even waves, but only if submerged in over 4 inches of water, which is a huge advantage. However, those inflatable life jackets tend to be $350 and up, plus replacing the hydrostatic non-bobbin mechanism every 5 years at $60-80; vs a bobbin/cartridge re-arm kit at $25-$30 on a regular $100 inflatable. Are my generalizations here correct?

Your advice that the bobbins (which strike me as a dissolving aspirin tablet in water technology…how quaint!) and CO2 cartridges should be replaced every 1-2 years prompted me to check our Revere auto inflate PFD’s. They specify every 3 years ( 2 for commercial use) for the bobbin and nothing re the cartridge. I concur in advance that our onboard life-safety gear is NOT the place to be cheap, but I am curious regarding how your experiences led you to that 1-2 years replacement advice over the 3 year Revere and Mustang official advice.

Lastly, (‘about time, they all sighed’) I wonder what other Brats have chosen for their MOB assist gear more appropriate than the MOB8 to the kind of boating Brats do. This would be in addition to the mandatory USCG type 5 ‘throw cushion’, which won’t throw very far, esp into the wind.
15 years and 3 trailer boats ago we chose the Mustang Throw Stick. Click on the video sequence.

https://www.landfallnavigation.com/mustang-rescue-stick.html

We added the Thow Raft when it was approved by the USCG as the only Type 4 MOB assist device; click on the video sequence.

https://www.landfallnavigation.com/throw-raft-inflatable-cushion.html

Neither of these RETRIEVES the overboard victim, just gets him/her/it/whatever a floating device that can be hurled better and more accurately than a fender or a cushion into the wind.

Thanks again and Safe Boating for all!

John

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hardee



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PostPosted: Sun Apr 14, 2019 8:07 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

John, it looks like you have a good set up (At least I hope so, because it is near the same as mine. 2 Mustang Hydrostatics, 2 West Marine Pill types, one Mustang Throw stick and a Throw cushion with a 60 foot line on it that stays attached to the boat. Also I have 3 Big Bulky USCG and SOLAS (reflectorized) Type 1's and a handful (4) of Type 2 and a couple of Type 3's.

Hopefully that will be enough to float my boat Laughing but really, so there are plenty for several different uses.

Harvey
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thataway



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PostPosted: Sun Apr 14, 2019 10:12 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
, but I am curious regarding how your experiences led you to that 1-2 years replacement advice over the 3 year Revere and Mustang official advice.


John,
It forces you to check your inflatable vests--which should be done before any offshore or heavy weather run. Replacing the Bobbin and CO2 Cart every 2 years is not expensive--and that way you are sure that if needed it will work.

When we were offshore racing, we checked all of the MOB gear every time we were going to be in a long race, or at least once a month.

Some are at greater risk of MOB than others, a lot depending on use of the boat. I have had life slings on many of my boats--and still think it is the best overall "solution".

As far as the incident I linked to initially, the life jacket had been incinerated with the crew member's body at the Coroner's request. The body had been in the water, and was badly decomposed. There was no specific examination of the jacket, but the CO2 cylinder was retrieved and there was evidence it was not activated or pierced. The jackets were 12 to 13 years old, and no one knew if they had ever been serviced. They used the Hammar MA1 inflator which should be replaced every 5 years.

The coast guard in their training, wants crew to assume that the life jacket will NOT AUTOMATICALLY INFLATE, THUS THEY SHOULD PULL THE MANUAL TAB AS SOON AS THEY ARE IN THE WATER! One study showed that about 25% of the auto inflators do not work. Many different reasons--but most often because they had not been checked regularly.

When we were ocean racing, I always brought my own life jacket and full safety harness with two tethers. Our safety harnesses were designed so that the crotch straps were as strong as the shoulder straps, and would take the full body weight if a person were hoisted aboard using the safety harness. Likewise they would not break if in falling overboard, the would not break.
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