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Old 22-10-2009, 09:23   #16
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Anyone who's been in the military (or law enforcement), or any place where emergencies are common knows you spend time doing a lot of one particular thing: DRILL.

You operate the same drills so many times in so many conditions (sleep deprived, tired, awake, in various uniforms, in various conditions, etc) that when the real deal happens, you're in muscle memory mode at that point.

It's tough because on our sailboat I can't exactly start ringing a bell at 3:00am, jump in the water, and have my wife pull me out. She probably would, but it underscores the point that it's hard to have fun and enjoy sailing, while at the same time maintaining a steely-eyed discipline concerning emergencies.

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Old 22-10-2009, 10:05   #17
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Are you sure she would?

Originally Posted by rebel heart View Post

It's tough because on our sailboat I can't exactly start ringing a bell at 3:00am, jump in the water, and have my wife pull me out. She probably would, but it underscores the point .


Go outside and PLAY!
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Old 22-10-2009, 11:34   #18
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My tale is pretty similar, except it was me falling into the (rather polluted) water in our club basin. Basically, I tried to retrieve something that was slipping off the boat, caught a foot, and went head over heels.

Naturally, no one was around.

Spent about 10 minutes trying to climb out -- one foot on the finger dock, one on the boat, and an arm on the dock, trying to lever my ass up on the wood.

Got out, drenched and smelly. Took a shower. Changed my clothes.

The dumb part -- as above -- is that I have a folding swim ladder on the stern. I had spent considerable time and thought designing a system that would let me unfold it from the water. (The PO had it latched at the top only.)

And forgot all about it in the event.

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Old 07-02-2010, 01:45   #19
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Middle son conceived 8 minutes later

Having purchased a 24' Cross trimaran, my 1st wife and I were lying to anchor listening to 25kt gusts try to pull us out into the Tasman Sea.
Was our 1st night on board: We'd loaded our gear aboard and sailed a couple miles across the channel to the lee of a small island on Tasmania's Southern coast.

No moon and all was good.

Drifting off to sleep I was startled to hear a banging crash and glimps a white square bowl off down the outside float and 'plop'into the water.

Andrenalin'ised thinking:
  • I'd forgotton to dog the hatch-cover on that port float
  • That 'banging / crash' sound & white square-shape glimpsed in the dark would be will be that same hatch-cover
  • I need that hatch-cover or there will be a big hole in the deck
  • I'm going to leap up and over the the stern and go get me that hatch-cover
  • Up, off , over, splash
In less time than it takes to read, and with no thought of communicating my intention, I found myself naked, in the ocean, swimming downwind after the now floating hatch-cover. A few quick strokes and I had hold of it: All seemed so very simple.

until I turned and a faced those same gusts. Uphill is so very different to downwind. And now I was attempting to scull one-armed, the hatch-cover could only be crimped in the other arm-pit: all very awkward. The boat was a dim white blur some distance upwind. After the first frightening gulp of seawater I had a terrfying vision of being unable to get back on board, of drowning & my young bride left mystified alone in the dark.

Yet thankfully, a little clarity came to me: "I could actually let the hatch-cover go. Without that seemingly leaden burden, I would certainly make the yacht. I could deal with the loss by simply screwing some plywood over the hatch hole.

Thus relieved of my frightening mental projections of doom, I found I could actually dog paddle slowly upwind, with the hatch-cover, eventually making my way back on board. The fearful look on my wife's face in the gloom as she anxiously peered downwind searching for some sign of the only person on board who had any knowledge of sailing was memorable.

As noted above; my middle son was conceived about 8 minutes later.
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Old 07-02-2010, 04:43   #20
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Scare Rab, Now you got me wondering what it took to get the last kid LOL

But I agree with Mark everyone should have a tag line on there stern ladder if they have one. I write this up all the time during surveys. It is a fact most drownings happen at the dock not out at sea. We have our guard down and are not being as careful as we should be. Often drinking is involved as well. It can be dark the water cold. Docks can be impossible to climb up on and there are often no people around as well. If you have a line on your ladder that can be reached from the water to pull the ladder down it can be the difference between life and death. I see so many ladders securely tied so they do not fall down it surprises me. I don't think many see their ladder as a piece of safety equipment. If you don't have a stern ladder consider keeping a rope ladder that can be pulled down. Safety at the dock is as important as safety at sea.

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Old 14-02-2010, 16:26   #21
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Falling In the Water

A few months ago a neighbor had fallen into the water and could not get back into his boat. The floating pier was way too tall for him to climb out and his boat’s boarding was tied in the raised position. Fortunately, a live-aboard neighbor heard his cries for help and hoisted him out.
We all realized that we needed a way to pull our ladders down from in the water. I untied the line that secures the lower portion of my hinged ladder and left the lower portion free to fall. I have a reverse transom and the ladder has stayed up and not fallen down during sailing. If it wants to fall down from the movement of the boat I will tie a cotton string to keep it up. I tied a short line to the hinged ladder that a swimmer can reach from the water.
We pulled into a marina after three days of sailing and three nights of staying at various anchorages along the South Texas portion of the ICW. I attached the power cord to the shore outlet and started carefully laying out the power cord along the finger pier. I backed along the narrow pier while playing out the heavy yellow power cord.
It turns out that the cord was longer than the pier. I walked off in twelve feet of water. I had just bought new eyeglasses. It was early February. The water was cold. Color me dumb blue.
Sure enough, all I had to do was swim to the stern and pull on the short line attached to the next-to-bottom rung of the ladder. Of course, I was wearing heavy clothing and shoes but the cold water gave me incentive to swim briskly.
So, look at your boarding ladder. See if the line that keeps it up can be untied and replaced with a piece of string. Tie a short line that a swimmer in the water can reach. You may need to get back aboard with no help. I did.
Jerry and Denver
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Old 14-02-2010, 19:44   #22
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Yesterday a woman was found in the bay dead, floating between the icy dock and a houseboat. No other details yet. It could be any one of us.
My portable swim ladder lives in a locker. I have a emergency
pull down ladder partially completed for 2 years at will be finished and install by spring.
s/v Little Jumps
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Old 20-02-2010, 13:27   #23
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Originally Posted by Scare_Rab View Post
The fearful look on my wife's face in the gloom as she anxiously peered downwind searching for some sign of the only person on board who had any knowledge of sailing was memorable.

As noted above; my middle son was conceived about 8 minutes later.

I would have been cut off for a week!..
"Go simple, go large!".

Relationships are everything to me...everything else in life is just a tool to enhance them.
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Old 20-02-2010, 14:51   #24
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Well i like reading all this,Im a sailer but never been on the water,lol
I just bought a 32 foot Pearson and i get on it next saturday.
Im learning to not let my wife fall off,,,good story i will keep it in my mind
btw im new here.
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Old 20-02-2010, 15:55   #25
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After I had been allowed to solo, but before I received my private pilot license, I took a rented plane out for a couple of hours. The unsavory fellow who owned the planes told me his gas pump was broken and noted I should fly up to Denton (DTO) and put the gas on his account.

I asked how long the previous flight had been so I could try to mentally calculate how much fuel was left. He said not to worry and I took his word for it. That was my mistake.

Halfway between my airport (52F) and Denton, the radio gave out. It was Saturday morning and Dentonis always busy on a Saturday. I dropped into the patern on the downwind. Someone else in the pattern rightfully and publicly noted that I must have a problem since I had not initiated radio contact. I was petrified and only had about 35 flight hours under my belt.

I landed safely. I taxied to the fuel pump. And I put 25.5 gallons of fuel in the plane.

The problem is that the plane only had 26 gallons of useable fuel when full. It burns 6 gallons an hour which means I only had about 5 to 8 minutes of fuel left when I landed.

I flew it back to the hanger, threw the keys at the owner, left the log book on the counter, and finished my license down at Meacham.
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Old 28-04-2010, 11:06   #26
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Well from my nane, you can tell I'm one of those crazy pickle fork drivers. I have raced on the Great Lakes for many years and had encountered the worst any body of water could throw at me; or so I thought.

So I get the new to me C&C because the lady wanted to pee somewhere besides a wet suit. We deliver it from Maryland down the Chesapeake Bay to Deltaville Virginia. So we go out for our first sail with a friend that crews on our big race boat. Long story short the crew didn't know how or wasn't a very good swimmer. So we see a rain line coming across the land and everyone put on some gear as we assumed we were about to get wet. Well the rain came and about 30 seconds later 50 knot sustained gusting to 60 hit us on a beam reach, 155 up, no outhaul on, very little vang so she was powered up. When the wind hit we went over 40 degrees; then a gust put the spredders in the water. Dumped the main, blew the sheets and rounded her into the wind. Then the line pulled out of the roller furler and we had bullwhips flying around the deck. Well we got everything dropped and started to motor for the creek when the sky opened up and bright sunlight filled the sky and the wind went back to the original 8 knots. This took a grand total of 10 mintues start to finish.

Now the stupid thing for me was not anticipating it in the first place, no reefing line was set and more importantly no PFD's were even remotely handy. Now it's inflatables at my hand with tether, jack lines and a proper double reef system. I was so pissed at myself because if the poor swimming crew had ended up in the water I would have never found him until it was to late.
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Old 28-04-2010, 13:58   #27
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Originally Posted by hellosailor View Post
NASDS (a SCUBA certification organization that no longer exists) used to require students to pass a "panic session" in the pool before they could complete a course. Staff would try to make the students panic (haze them) and surface prematurely, in the logic that if someone can easily be panicked in controlled circumstances--you don't want them to be certified and diving at all, so you flunk them out to ensure everyone's safety. Other organizations said (and say) that you could be liable and create an accident with that kind of hazing, but the fact remains that divers usually die because one has a problem or panics, and the other gets sucked into it.
42 years ago I was certified to dive both with NASDS and YMCA certification. Later I served as a safety diver assisting my instructor. What you and others call hazing we called training. The purpose was not to see if the person paniced, but to see if they handled an equipment failure properly after having been trained in the proper technique. Before the student was "hazed" they were required to demonstrate the proper technique for handling an emergency several times. The purpose of what you called hazing was to see if they diagnosed the failure properly and took the correct action when they weren't told beforehand which piece of equipment was going to fail and when. The safety divers operated in teams one created the failure and the other made sure the person did nothing to kill themselves. Common failures were turning off the air supply, pulling the regulator out of their mouths, pulling off masks, unbuckling weightbelts, etc. Note that after about half the classes were over this happened every class, not just in one session. The purpose was to make on comfortable with just about every failure that could be generated in a pool setting and the developing the proper technique for handling it. In those days the technology of the equipment was such that it was going to fail and one had to be ready for it. My children got certified about 15 years ago and I was appalled at the poor level of training in emergencies. People were essentially shown or told what to do once and on a few occasions had to demonstrate proper technique only when the knew what was about to happen. They were told never to run out of air. They were never allowed to actually run a tank out of air so they knew what it felt like when a tank was getting low. If they ever have a gauge get stuck and it says they have plenty of air they'll never know what the problem is. They were also never allowed to do a free ascent because it was too dangerous. Now if they ever have a failure that requires a free ascent they will probably kill themselves. By the time I had finished my training I had done dozens. A few years later that training saved my life when I suffered a regulator failure at 110Ft and my buddy's head was under a ledge where he could not help me. Enough about poor scuba training.

When I was taking flying lessons 20 years ago the FAA had dropped spin training from the private pilot requirement. We were required to recognize the conditions that generate a spin and what to do to avoid them. I did not think that was sufficient so I asked my instructor for spin training. I'm glad I did, because that first spin was a very wild experience. I'm sure glad I got to do it under supervision. Now in the 20 years I've been a pilot I've never actually spun a plane outside of those training sessions, but if I ever do get into one unexpectedly I am confident that I'll get out alive. By the way in my final prep for my practical exam while doing unusual attitudes under the hood (on instruments, can't see out of the plane) my instructor put me in a spin that I was not expecting. I took the proper actions and got out of the spin with only 500ft of altitude loss. Not only is presenting a trainee with unexpected emergencies good training, it is a huge confidence builder.

With regards to sailing, when taking lessons as a teenager we were required to capsize and right our boats, at first with an instructor and then by ourselves. Of course those righting techniques won't help me if I turn my 44 foot cat turtle, but I certainly recognize when the boat is getting in danger. As for MOB drills we tend to practice "hat" overboard drills. As my hair thins I seem to loose more hats, so we are provided with ample opportunities. A MOB drill that is expected has limited value in my opinion. It's basic training, but not advanced enough to actually save a life.

In my not so humble opinion, I believe that lack of sufficiently realistic training in all three of the endeavors mentioned above results in needless deaths, all because of fear of lawsuits. I expect that some of you will claim that more people were hurt in training accidents than were saved by it in real life. I would submit that there are no good statistics for how many people didn't get injured or killed after they were trained, but I do know that despite great improvements in diving equipment technology, scuba diving is still the most dangerous recreational sport (next to horseback riding) and the stats are not improving.

Now that I've gotten on my soap box about this, now comes the confession. I'm pretty sure my wife doesn't have the skills needed to rescue me if I fall overboard. I think I need to sign her up for a sailing class as she won't take training from me (is than another confession?). In any case, you now have my 2 cents. You can give me change if it's not worth 2 cents.
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Old 28-04-2010, 14:24   #28
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They called Navy Flight Training "The Pressure Cooker" for one supreme reason. Habits and thought processes exercised under pressure are recalled in pressurized situations. Were they practiced in calm situations, they are much less reliable.

So if anyone tells you they enjoyed their time in the Training Command, they are either lying or thickern brick.

Forty years after the fact I was riding as a passenger in a helicopter that had what might have been a compressor stall; I flared my cyclic (a camera) dropped the collective, and kicked rudder all at the same time, as I should have if I'd been anywhere but the back seat!

Nobody was interested in my explaination....
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Old 28-04-2010, 15:13   #29
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1500rpm with 30 degrees of flap...

Closes I've ever come to being killed was in a Cessna 152.

Instructor wanted to demonstrate to demonstrate a stall so we set the plane up at 1500rpm with 30 degrees of flap and brought the nose up till the it was just about stalling.

We hung there for what seemed like hours, stall warning screaming, then suddenly the plane flipped over on it's back and started spiraling down towards the earth.

I kicked in opposite rudder, just like I'd been trained to do and locked it there solid but the plane just kept spiraling towards oblivion.

Then the instructor screamed at me to let go, I did, and she took the plane out of the spin.

Trouble is I'd paid lots of attention to the theory, but no one had thought to mention that a stupid novice pilot might use the wrong opposite rudder.

So now I don't do drills that have even the slightest chance of getting someone killed or hurt.
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Old 28-04-2010, 16:16   #30

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Bill, you misread me at least twice. First of all, I never said NASDS practiced HAZING. Hazing is a ritual that serves many purposes, especially in the armed forces, which many of us disagree with. It is generally seen as accomplishing NOTHING that cannot be done better by other means, except perhaps playing macho games.

I said the instructors HAZED the students for the purpose of inducing panic. You seem very defensive about that. But I never said the panic was purposeless. In fact, we were told up front that the purpose was, as you say, to weed out the panic-prone students in the relatively safe environment of the pool--and make sure they didn't endanger themselves and others in the open water.

My point is not that NASDS did something wrong, but that litigous people ended their SAFETY procedure for all the wrong reasons. Out of the handful of certified divers I know personally, and the...perhaps hundred from various clubs...I know two divers who were PADI certified--who panicked during equipment failures in the water. Both could and should have self-rescued, but didn't.

Finding other NASDS-certified divers is a bit more difficult, especially these days. Me? I'm the guy who sent one of the instructors up to the surface on hazing day. I couldn't understand a word he said, but I could hear the cursing quite clearly from the bottom of the pool. (Turnabout's fair play, right?)

And yeah, I still use a J-valve.

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