Sunday, January 16, 2011

Crash Boat Operation; Tip #1; Work from upwind

When the wind is strong and the waves are lumpy, this is most often when crash boats are needed for rescue, and this is also the worst possible combination for low speed maneuvers in an outboard motor craft. Many times I've seen crash boats come up from leeward, make several passes and then after gunning the motor, ending up smacking into the capsized sailboat. If I'm operating a crash boat, I make my approach from upwind, place the crash boat abeam of the wind, switch to neutral and then drift down to the capsized vessel.

The advantages;

  1. Downwind drift speed is slow and controlled. If I need to make contact with the capsized vessel, I'm approaching at a slow enough speed where it is easy to grab onto the capsized boat or, if need be, fend off.
  2. I can assess the situation without worrying about jockeying the boat. I can count heads. I can talk to the crew on the boat or in the water without yelling over a motor in gear.
  3. The motor is in neutral. No fear of wrapping lines or injuring someone in the water.
  4. If I decide I need to be somewhere else, it is easy to shift into gear and slowly motor sideways away from the capsized boat.
  5. It's also easier to throw a line downwind.
Links to my other crash boat posts;

The Lowly Crash Boat Operator
Crash Boat Operation, Tip 2
Crash Boat Operation, Tip 3
Crash Boat Design

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