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MOB Training Dummy

Report on Wednesday Wonders MOB drill.
By Paul Mentiplay and Rob Sill

On the Wednesday 7 March 2013, Paul Mentiplay, Rob Sill, Colin Mews, Mark O’Connor and Monica Tonner, put into action a MOB drill utilising the (then) new “Wendy Wonder”  MOB dummy.

The Man Overboard Dummy (purchased from the proceeds of the Wednesday Wonders raffle fund) was put into action upon request from the boating department, on a breezy 25knot ESE morning.

Working through the new MOB dummy loan procedures Wendy was collected from the SYC buoy locker in a wheel burrow and taken to the boat. To assist the MOB drill, a safety harness and life line strop was fitted to the MOB dummy (Lifejacket would be optional as the dummy floats )

Wendy was quite a handful, weighing 40 kg dry, so she had to be lifted by two people to get her on the boat safely. Satisfied everyone was ready Paul motored his vessel out of the marina to a location just outside the breakwater and the dummy was dropped over the lifelines (this required two adults)


Monica was extremely pleased to be able to confirm that Wendy did indeed float. First tick.

With the yell of “man overboard” the crew sprang into action.Whilst Colin was keeping a vigilant eye on Wendy, Rob grabbed the boat hook and Paul gave the command to attach the topping lift and winch her in.(In hindsight a quicker method of attachment would have been to ignore the shackle and use a bowline through the dummies harness)


Rob hooked Wendy by her harness, Mark clipped on the topping lift and brought Wendy in through to the stern. (Paul’s vessel is a Bavaria 38 design with a transom opening, providing easy access through to the cockpit.) The dummy was then loaded and retrieved through the transom. Second Tick.

The exercise was not timed but estimated it took approximately 8 to 10 minutes. We also noted that 40kg’s became 80kg’s with all the water Wendy had gained during her “swim”.

After the drill we discussed how not all boats would have an open transom so we decided to repeat the procedure, this time retrieving Wendy over the port side. This was much harder and helped to crystallise many of the observations that we had made in the course of our two MOB exercises.

An overview:

  • MOB dummy is a “dead weight” and is heavy and cumbersome to retrieve.
  • To assist with the drill a harness was fitted so that she could be “hooked” and brought along side. In a real life scenario this may not be the case.  The MOB may have no harness or life jacket to assist in the retrieval and could be UNCONSCIOUS!
  • Keeping all these scenarios in mind it gave great insight into the thinking required by skipper and crew in determining what action they would put into place if dealing with a MOB.
  • Paul’s Bimini had to be removed to provide access for the Topping lift.. In reality there would be no time to do this therefore it would probably mean hauling the MOB dummy over the top lifeline from the side of the boat. Very difficult especially if the MOB is over 80kg.
  • Every skipper and crew needs to think about their own procedures they would use to suit their design of boat.

We cannot recommend enough doing a MOB exercise with Wendy. It will certainly help to turn your mind to the importance of being prepared.

The message

Practise to improve your MOB skills as it could help save a life.