As soon as someone goes in, call out ?Man overboard!? and toss a cushion or buoy to provide flotation and mark the spot. Always keep a Type IV PFD at hand, ready to be thrown. Never lash it down. The skipper then assigns one crewmember to watch the person in the water and continually point to that spot. If possible, that crewmember should have no other responsibilities during the recovery.
On small, highly maneurverable boats in protected waters, the fastest way to make a rescue is by jibing. It is also the easiest to remember. As soon as someone goes over ? jibe. In larger boats, when offshore in rougher seas, your primary objective is to keep the person in sight. In this case you should use the ?quick-stop? method. Immediately head up, let the sails luff to stop the boat, locate the person or the thrown marker, bear off on a run until just downwind of the victim, then come back on a close reach. The farther you get from the person in the water, the harder he or she is to see, and once lost from sight the chances of recovery diminish greatly.
If you have an engine, turn it on to help maneuvering, being careful not to foul lines in the prop and to be in neutral when near the person in the water. Approach the pick-up point on a reach, keeping your speed down. Aim to windward of your mark, coming to a dead stop with the victim in the protected lee of your boat. Have a heaving line ready in case you miss. Be sure there is a ladder or some other boarding aid rigged.
Hold frequent man-overboard drHold frequent man-overboard drills on all points of sail so you and the crew will know what to do. Theow out a PFD to recover. Or when a hat blows over, treat it as if someone has gone in. Make a game of it, but take it seriously.