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Message board > Navigation and sea worthiness > Man overboard recovery

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Message 1 of 15
Posted by member Nicholas Diffin on Saturday 28 February 2015

After many years sailing yachts my wife and I are now enjoying boating in our family pilot 20. I do miss however the abundance of winches and halyards which a yacht skipper can use to hoist a crew member out of the water. Has anyone devised a means of doing this on a Hardy 20? I have of course a boarding ladder, but one must assume that the casualty in the water may not be in a fit state to climb. The best thought I have come up with is a multiple block and tackle clipped to the radar arch. Any other ideas?


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Message 2 of 15
Posted by member Marie O'Connell Hardy Editor on Saturday 28 February 2015

Ahoy Nicholas

Thanks for this post - I myself was just thinking about this yesterday. I know of various ideas that have been tried and tested as regards yachting, but I was wondering how to rig something up that was simple, quick and readily available at all times, to use on my Pilot. I do not have an electric winch, although one of our members has just written about the fitting of one on his Pilot in a recent article. Let's see what everyone comes up with and in the meantime, I will ask around as well. This feels like a very good topic for the magazine - and I am working on the next issue now - good timing !

Will get back to you soon.

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Message 3 of 15
Posted by member Simon Kidd on Saturday 28 February 2015

Always a difficult one for motorboats. I'm not sure on the loads involved and how much load the Wheelhouse can take.
Maybe an ADEC Marine Fibrelight recovery cradle or similar, with one end attached to a block and tackle either clipped to the arch as you say - if the wheelhouse and arch mounts are up to it, or to a line between fore and aft cleats on the opposite side of the boat - to spread loads - and a line running over the arch to the recovery cradle... Something like that anyway...
It may even be possible to rig this system over the stern (Assuming the engine is off) and using the block and tackle to the wheelhouse and the engine powertrim/tilt to assist the lift..

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Message 4 of 15
Posted by member Dark Ivy on Sunday 1 March 2015

I used to keep a scramble net on board and use quality stainless steel caribinas to hook it to the eyelets along the gunnels. The net can also be used to recover and unconscious person by bringing the boat alongside and tie off some lines hauling the person on board.

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Message 5 of 15
Posted by member CRACKER TOO on Sunday 1 March 2015

To avoid "collapse of stout party" I'd treat with caution the idea of using any point above the deck level. The loads involved as well as the threat of structural damage, will also have an adverse effect on the stability. The load will be acting at the highest point once the weight is taken, not good for stability. You'd be stopped and most likely lying across any seas, and rolling whilst attempting any rescue. Could have surprising results with a weight acting above the wheelhouse.

"Dark Ivy" sounds a better course to consider?

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Message 6 of 15
Posted by member CRACKER TOO on Monday 2 March 2015

Given the obvious problems associated with recovery other than the stern boarding ladder, that will also present problems should the person overboard be unable to assist themselves. I've gone for a DSC/VHF and PLB on my Bosun,to be in a position to scramble a SeaKing whilst marking the spot.
You can always cancel should you be successful, but far better to work on worse case scenario from the start.
I found myself in the North Sea at the Humber L/F one January night.Early bath incurred whilst disembarking from an Egyptian cargo ship. With the heavy weather clothes I was wearing once my lifejacket had inflated I was unable to help myself in any way. The Pilot Launch managed to recover me over her stern utilizing a recovery davit and strop, but two young fit launch hands had a struggle to accomplish the recovery. By this stage I was unable to offer them any assistance.
VTS had advised HMCG who had a helicopter airborne to in case medical treatment was required following the recovery.
(The weather was marginal to disembark in, but given the state of the outward bounder and the fact she was bound for the Baltic, rather then be over-carried it was very much a case of "what could possibly go wrong"!)

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Message 7 of 15
Posted by member Hardy Editor on Monday 2 March 2015

Ahoy Martin,

Blimey, I hope that I never find myself in that position, but you just never know and that's the trouble. I think I may have a look at the Markus MOB Safety Ladder - it looks like it might be the right thing for my Family Pilot, and I would be able to reach it whilst in the water ok. Fingers crossed .....

Be safe out there.
All the best,

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Message 8 of 15
Posted by member Nicholas Diffin on Friday 20 March 2015

Hi All,
Thanks for your suggestions and comments.
As I have a collection of old sails from my yachting days my present plan is to attach the luff of a genoa along the deck edge and the tack (where the sheets attach) to a block and tackle from the radar arch. The idea is to float the casualty onto the sail and then roll him/her onto the deck using the tackle. I will practice using a dead weight, probably drums of water. I may have to have a sail cut down; the luff the genoa from my last boat is 44 ft.
I believe the cockpit roof is quite strong enough for this: it supported my 12.5 stone without complaint when fitting the radar scanner. I don't think the downward pull of the casualty on the arch will affect stability as the mass will be low down. It should be less than someone standing on the side deck.
I will report progress.


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Message 9 of 15
Posted by member cracker too on Tuesday 24 March 2015

Hi. Nicholas.

Regarding stability the effect of the weight will act at the point that bears the load. In the case you mention this will be at the mast arch, when initially taking the load.

Rgds. Martin.

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Message 10 of 15
Posted by member Hardy Editor on Tuesday 24 March 2015

Hi Nicholas,

I would be very interested in how you get on with your tests. This really is a problem and one it would be good to rectify.
Good luck and let us know.

All the best,

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Message 11 of 15
Posted by member Clive ffitch on Monday 5 June 2017

Wondering what others have done...

We do not have a MOB ladder as such, but for emergencies with a crew or someone else in the water, we have a very reasonably priced folding five rung rope ladder as pictured (Force 4; £19.95), that can but hung from a cleat or some-such. We have midships cleats I fitted for aiding mooring (why don't all boats have them?!!) but this is not the easiest location for hauling someone aboard by the side of the wheelhouse on a Family Pilot.

I am considering fitting an additional cleat in the cockpit area, possibly somewhere under the gunwhale through-hull. Has anyone else done this or got thoughts? Needs to be capable of taking the weight of a wet human without stressing the hull of course!

Thanks, Clive

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Message 12 of 15
Posted by member Clive ffitch on Tuesday 6 June 2017

OK latest thought, how's about this...

Pre-rig ladder with heavy line, spliced one end to quickly loop over stern cleat, and other end take turns over midships cleat.

Spreads load over two cleats in strong positions. Emergency ladder easily and quickly rigged from stowage.

Wet human hauled directly into cockpit.


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Message 13 of 15
Posted by member Simon Kidd on Monday 24 July 2017

Sounds Good Clive.

Worth trying in practice on a Warm beach, it should work ok - but as ever on a rolling day is never easy. I tried a few ways to board the H25 last year - and have a good long hook over Aluminium ladder for general use similar to the above (I did also try an emergency ladder sole by chandlers - of rope and plastic rungs - practically useless), though in an emergency I found the best way was to switch the engines off and board the MOB from the outboard well where I can drag them into the well (or me climb in) - then they can climb up when ready - or be hauled up. The props are a risk even if the engines are off - but if wearing shoes I found it "not too bad". Nothing is 100% ideal.

Best Regards

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Message 14 of 15
Posted by member Patrick Cleary on Tuesday 25 July 2017

My brother in law fell overboard once while he was fishing on his own and stood on the fins of the outboard and pressed the trim up button on the engine casing. This was the only way he could get back on board. Might be if help some day.

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Message 15 of 15
Posted by member Simon Kidd on Tuesday 25 July 2017

Sounds Sensible to me Pat - one of the benefits of power trim!

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