MOB Man Overboard Drill for yachts

Practicing getting the yacht in position for MOB recovery.

A wintery weekend and I am out on Loxley B, a Jeanneau Sun Odyssey 37  from Hamble Point Yacht Charter, for a weekend of sailing and practicing with the new MOB kit.  The weather was windy - Force 7 and Patrick's hat was a bit loose meaning we had several opportunities to practice boat handling skills to position the boat ready for a Man Overboard Drill.

Picture of a south african cricket baseball cap

Patrick's Hat

Our first drill followed the RYA Yachtmaster MOB drill - shout "Man Overboard" to alert the crew, then we would press the MOB button on the GPS and throw buoyancy to the casualty along with something to mark their position (danbuoy or smoke).  Everyone points....well, we have to spot the hat to begin with and it was pretty small.

Three sailors pointing to the Man Overboard as part of the rescue drill.

Everyone points to the MOB


Picture of a baseball cap floating in the sea

which is a very small target.

We crash tacked, to take speed off and then ran through our MOB Drill.

MOB Man Overboard drill using a quick stop heave to approach. As soon as the MOB happens, crash tack the boat and heave to. THis takes a lot of the speed off the boat and keeps the distance between the yacht and the MOB short. THen roll away the jib and centre the main. Motor on and then head down wind below the casualty, preparing to drop the main quickly as you head back upwind to the MOB. Put the motor into neutral as you approach the MOB so that they are not injured by the prop. Then start the MOB recovery prcocedure to bring the MOB back on board. You can practice this MOB drill anytime with a fender, bucket or whenever anything like a hat falls overboard.

MOB Man Overboard drill using a quick stop heave to approach.


The helm then allocated jobs.

  • One person would go down below to send the DSC and mayday. As this is a practice we didn't go down below but we also didn't use this person for any other jobs.
  • One person kept pointing and the other two rolled the Genny away, centred the main and switched the motor on.
MOB Man Overboard drill with one person pointing to the casualty.

One keeps pointing at the MOB

  • Then we motored down just off the wind and when we were far enough we tacked back upwind and quickly dropped the main and motored alongside the MOB.  As we closed in the helm lost sight of the MOB so Patrick used arm and hand signals to indicate direction, distance and boat speed.
Sailor pointing to the Man Overbaord and giving directions to the helmsman

Give directions to the helm

The Hat is a pretty small target, but we managed to get it onto the boat hook and rescue it.

Picture of a baseball cap on the end of a boat hook after being rescued from the water using a MOB rescue drill

Hat Rescued

Success - The Man Overboard Drill worked.

Job done.  We'd rescued the hat and practised our boat handling.  The next day, along came another gust and knocked the hat overboard again, so we decided to use only the sails to bring the yacht alongside.  Conditions were in our favour again - Force 5 / 6 but flattish seas so we could see the hat and also stop the boat alongside the MOB.


Want more practice doing Man Overboard Drills.

Maybe you've been on the RYA / ISAF coastal Safety Coarse and found the Man Overboard Drill part interesting or perhaps you've just done your Dayskipper or Yachtmaster practicals and run through the MOB procedures.

Want to do more MOB?  If so, we have a couple of options for Man Overboard Rescue training, both of which are free.  All I ask is that I can use any photos I take on the website, social media, magazine articles etc.

Yacht clubs - I can run half day sessions on your yachts as part of your regular sailing weekends.  Why not finish a cruise on Sunday lunchtime and spend the afternoon learning 5 MOB techniques.

Own boat sessions - anything from a few hours to a full day using all the equipment on your yacht.

As long as your within a few hours drive of Jct 13 on the M25 I'll come along and you can try anything you want.

If you are interested in trying any of these MOB equipment out yourself then please contact me at or use the contact form.  If you have time, can you add some info on if you are a Dayskipper, Coastal Skipper or Yachtmaster and if you've done the RYA Sea Survival or the RYA / ISAF Coastal Safety course.