Originally Posted by goboatingnow
this comment doesnt quite stand up to inspection
. there are equally many many instances of sat phone originated rescues, in deepest atlantic ocean
, evidence from the arc
rallies will demonstrate that , as will the percentage sat phones v ssb in that rally also.
Thanks for the opportunity to clarify. My comment is based on just recent evidence I know of, such as:
1. Sail-World.com : World ARC Rally - Crew of yacht Ciao safely evacuated
2. The yacht sinking in the last RHKYC race
to Vietnam race
, when nearby race participants came to the aid of the yacht in distress and pickup up all the crew before they needed to depoy a liferaft
. Before the official S&R response arrived. AND
3. This incident - where an amazing satphone call initiated official S&R response but it did not function: Sail-World.com : Sabbath laws and 'who will pay' hampers search for missing sailors
I've quite certain that satphones have brought a successful conclusion when S&R resources were nearby, and time was available. But the satphone is an - expensive, can be cut off in an emergency because of no money
, and not very effective (does not broadcast & does not communicate with all approaching vessels) - second best option to a DSC capable HF/SSB radio (or VHF radio with DSC in inshore waters).
I'm sure there must be multiple other incidents related to small commercial vessels - fishing
trawlers etc - which also contribute to the following clear statements from MRCCs in this area:
MRCC Australia advises that the combination of available resources and size of the S&R area means “in the event of an emergency, communication should first be attempted with others close by using radios, phones and other signalling devices.” And, “the more remote
the location of the distress incident, the longer the response time. In all instances, be prepared to survive." And, "Dedicated SAR facilities are limited in Australia. When necessary, other facilities are diverted from their primary function by arrangement or request."
MRCC Hong Kong
advises "For help in the distant parts
of our Search and Rescue Region where Government resources cannot reach, the Hong Kong
MRCC must rely upon the assistance of merchants ships and fishing
vessel in the vicinity of the distress."
These people - who can be held accountable in a court - are being honest and frank about their capabilities and therefore the importance of finding a prompt response from nearby vessels. The satphone can't readily do that. The DSC capable HF/SSB marine radio is specifically designed for that purpose.
I think it's important for cruisers heading off around the world to be aware that MRCCs are not the same world-wide, either in the operating routines (eg: may not be 24/7), the experience, training or qualifications of the staff, knowledge of their responsibility area, understanding of the local conditions etc. Even well developed and professional MRCCs can differ enormously in their access to trained, equipped and capable S&R resources to deploy promptly to quickly assist a crew in distress. It is rare to find S&R resources similar to those available in Europe/UK or North America.
People who's sailing experience is principally in areas with high standard MRCCs backed by quick response, professisonal S&R resources need to be aware that the same capabilities do not exist elsewhere in the world.
I routinely conduct a survey
of MRCC communication services and contact methods for SE Asia
, the Pacific and Indian Oceans. The response times, services, communication equipment and ease of communications
can vary significantly. Results of these surveys can be seen at Brunei Bay Radio - Emergency contacts - Marine Rescue Co-ordination Centres
. This information is a good starting point for cruisers planning trips in these regions. It pays to make personal contact with an MRCC beforehand to check latest information. Phone numbers, radio services etc can change.
Apart from what is possible, over this side it is equally important to understand what is not possible. Working with competent people who are willing to admit what they can't do is a very big step towards determining the best course of action. Whether you need an engine
repaired, a broken leg fixed or a rescue, it's important to know if a different doctor will produce a limp-less repair, a different mechanic
has access to the right parts
, or the limited but immediately available help from a nearby fishing boat will be more effective than the promise of a distant rescue helicopter in a day or two. An MRCC's willingness to honestly state actual capabilities is a very big step to assist small-craft operators to correctly prepare with the appropriate resources to address an emergency.
MRCC Australia and MRCC Hong Kong both acknowledge their limitations. This makes it far easier for cruisers to develop appropriate strategies. It also helps other organisations – like Yachting Australia and RHKYC – establish communication and equipment specifications to significantly increase the probability of yacht crews successfully addressing problems that could occur. Their requirements are consistent with the recommendations/requirements of authorities/organisations which are willing to acknowledge their limitations:
1. HF/SSB radio with DSC as the primary communication device for operations beyond VHF with DSC services in their responsibility areas with limited S&R capabilities. (It's also great for general communication needs and will save money.)
2. Satphone as a backup - but it is NOT an acceptable replacement for the HF/SSB radio with DSC. (It's also great for occasional calls to family
or business contacts or to chase up a replacement equipment supplier; but it will cost.)