Re: [Amel Yacht Owners] Re: Rescueing method of casualty (Person Over Board)

Danny and Yvonne SIMMS

Thanks Bill, well said.

Bluntly I say that the RYA horizontal lift advice is impractical, and worse, downright dangerous in an offshore situation. The idea of an amateur drew stumbling around trying to fix lines, putting extra crew overboard is frightening in its potential for disaster. Inshore in sheltered water in particular situations (hypothermic victim and crew skilled in rescue) it may work. Off shore in a big seaway...don't even think about it. The danger with their advice is that it may encourage crew to try this. The most important advice is don't fall overboard. Overboard situations often occur when a crew member responding to an event on deck rushes out to do a quick fix unattached and bang they're gone. Two crew were killed on a big  yacht (think 65 feet) on the way to Fiji two years ago. The boom control lost hydraulic pressure. One crew rushed up to secure the boom, was hit on the head. Another crew rushed up unattached to help and was washed over board. He was never found. I have cast iron rule offshore. All crew harness on and clipped on whenever out of the cabin, day or night. That includes sitting in our nice safe centre cockpit. The reasons. 1) It establishes a clip on mentality. 2) Everyone in the cockpit has a harness on at all times and if something needs urgent attention on deck they're ready. Often a minor problem can turn bad rapidly and the time taken to find and put on a harness could result in a disaster. Pedantic? yes, unnecessary? No.

Another rule. No one leaves the cockpit without another crew there, or in calm conditions at least calling to the below deck crew that he/she is going out. The reality is that if you have enough tether to allow you to work, you have enough tether to fall overboard.Being dragged by your harness at 8 knots leaves you with a very short life expectancy.Think about it. 



SM 299 Ocean Pearl

On 03 April 2018 at 01:55 "greatketch@... [amelyachtowners]" <amelyachtowners@...> wrote:



I stand by my thinking that the horizontal lift is impractical recommendation for a shorthanded cruising boat.  For demonstrating in a class with 5 or 6 students and an instructor, that's a different story.  There are not very many places where I disagree with the smart and thoughtful people of the RYA, and this is the only one I can think of that is of real importance.

Any person at REAL risk of cardiac arrest in cold water will be totally unable to help with rigging anything themselves.  Putting another person in the water is VERY dangerous in and of itself, and would require a yacht crewed by at least 4 or, more likely, 5 people to justify the increased risks. As the captain of a boat, I would be very, very reluctant to put a second crew member in the water.  I might do it...but only as a last possible resort.

If the person in the water is coordinated enough to rig their own horizontal lifting harness they are not yet hypothermic and do not need it.  Get them out of the water NOW before they do!

Rigging a leg lifting strap as shown in that video when you are in the water is a LOT harder if you are not in a full survival suit, with your legs floating at the surface. If you ARE in a full survival suit, you are (most likely) not hypothermic, and do not need it...

When we did our testing, I was in a wetsuit.  It was important for us to keep in mind that some things were much easier in a wetsuit because of the buoyancy, and others were more difficult.

Even for a victim who is fully conscious, if they are lifted horizontally they are now unable to usefully fend off from the rolling hull themselves, and you need another crew member dedicated to that task.  A person lifted vertically, with a halyard (not a boom!) between hull and face will not hit the hull in a dangerous way short of extreme rolling conditions.

I do understand the rational for the RYA's suggestion, and I still think it is unrealistically complicated for use in the real world on a yacht with sailing with only 2 or 3 people.  The extra time required for it in most cases I believe INCREASES risks of all kinds to both victim and crew.

That's all I have to say on the matter, except for...  whatever you plan on doing, you should try it in warm calm water first. In the testing we did we found LOTS of suggestions including many that have been widely published were marginally practical--at best.

Bill Kinney
SM160, Harmonie
Moraine Cay, Abacos, Bahamas.

---In amelyachtowners@..., <philipp.sollberger@...> wrote :

Dear Amel Yacht Owners,

Many thanks to all for your clear answers and experience.

For me it is still important to precise, that a horizontal lift up of an unconsious person from the water is better than a vertical one. The risk of a heart stop is bigger, if the warm blood circulates down to the extremities as legs and the cold flows back to heart. This can end in a cardiatic arrest.
The method to do a horizontal lift up is not so complicated as mentioned. I have learnt it at the UKSA in Cowes. Use the lifeline of the person in the water and put it under his or her bottom and clip it either to the lifesling hook or to the halyard directly.
With big waves you have to protect the casualty that he or she is not bashing to the hull and for this reason you lower a crew member which is fixed to the yacht by lifeline and halyard. Afterwards you can lift them up both. The casualty in a horizontal way and the crew member vertically. With this method you have the most possible protecting method to get both back on deck.

The lifeline method you can test yourself very easily and with no risk. lie down on deck with your lifewest on and your lifeline. Take the halyard, fix it on the hook of the lifewest and take the lifeline, put it under the bottom through and take it and fix it to the halyard shakle or the lifewest hook. If all is fix, then lift up for half to one meter and you will get the proof, that you are hanging quite horizontally on the halyard.

Thank you very much Bill Rouse for your confirmation about the strength of the halyards.

Person over board is a subject, that nobody wants to happen. But unfortunately it happens on the rally round the world race as VOR and Clipper Race last time.

There are different videos on youtube which show, that you should lower a rescuer for getting the casualty fixed to the yacht.
Here is a link from RNLI Lifeboat UK with a demonstration of lifting up horizontally with the lifeline as second strope: 
Here is the link to the latest person overboard during Clipper Race: 

Try to avoid such situations with being attached to the boat if you a leaving the central cockpit area in foul weather or night. Clip you on as early as possible.

Fair winds and never an overboard case.

Félicie, SM #124



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