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Old 11-07-2014, 11:25   #31
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Re: Alarming Increase in SAR rates?

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Originally Posted by DeepFrz View Post
Personally I think it is the aging of the fleet and new people getting into boating that have little or no practical experience in refit or repair. They don't realize that a rudder shaft, for instance, can be rotten in a way that is not obvious. How many newbies buying a boat pull the floor boards and check the condition of the keel bolts. How many newbies know how to check chain plates or determine if the bulkhead that the chain plate is attached to is solid or rotten. How many check to ensure the tabbing of the bulkheads is sound, a difficult task when it is all hidden. They get a survey report and without crawling the bilges and poking into every nook and cranny themselves they snatch up a boat, sometimes from a distance, and set sail. It is a recipe for disaster.
Exactly right. There is more money than time, and people buy boats without the requisite experience at spotting flaws, of which I find many coming off the factory floor. Having a 40 year old boat (which I bought when it was 25 years old) was the best way for me to learn to sail (everything was manual...not even a single self-tailer, and hank-ons, no windlass, tiller, etc.) but also to gradually learn the maintenance and repair skill set necessary on ANY boat, particularly a complex modern boat with wire runs hidden behind attractive headliners, etc.

I've seen some appalling ignorance at the helm of really nice, newish boats. While this is of less concern inshore to mechanics and repair depots, the ocean remains the same: indifferent to one's wallet and time pressures!
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Old 11-07-2014, 12:13   #32
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Re: Alarming Increase in SAR rates?

Have we really established that numbers are up?

The USCG stats show no for US...

The other is stats for Epirbs...not total SAR.

In my experience it's the opposite...better boats and engines have cut the numbers despite a huge increase in the number of boaters out there over the last several decades.

If you narrow it down to just "offshore SAR" say beyond 100NM off the beach...I'd still say the EPIRB stats are up because the huge increase in the number of EPIRBs/PLBs.
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Old 11-07-2014, 14:05   #33
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Re: Alarming Increase in SAR rates?

Dan, I think the raw statistics that you are using are, in this context, totally unsuitable and actually delusional. Yes, they mean something within a limited context, but if you want to ask about "boaters" or "sailors" or even "cruisers", you need to adjust those statistics to reflect that same population group, that same user group, that you are trying to enquire about.

So unless you know WHO are sending the alerts, and how that particular population may have been changing over those years, you are making a completely invalid assumption that the statistics have any correlation or meaning in this context.

The economy in the US went crapper in 2008. Does that mean folks held fire sales and got rid of their boats, reducing the cruising population? Or does it mean that folks said "Well, I can't get a job, I might as well do that big trip now" and the cruising population went up?

What about Hurricane Katrina or TS Sandy? Thousands of boats trashed, thousands of boaters totally out of the market in both cases. "Thousands" is a significant percentage in the recreational boating market.

Unadjusted statistics without relevant context? Might as well try to get good information by watching The Housewives of New Jersey.

Looking forward to your repost of better numbers though!
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Old 11-07-2014, 14:50   #34
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Re: Alarming Increase in SAR rates?

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Have we really established that numbers are up?
No. That was my original point.

We've established that reports are up, not rescues.

It's the "One Side Of The Ledger" error.
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Old 11-07-2014, 15:50   #35
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Re: Alarming Increase in SAR rates?

I'm offering this post to provide a bit of context for the discussion.

Here, near Sydney, NSW, Australia, on almost any breezy weekend, there will be a number of rescues, all of small outboard powered fishing boats. Much of the traffic finishes up being done by cell phone, although it starts on the VHF. Most weekends have at least 2 or 3 false maydays, usually made by child-sounding voices.

So the US isn't the only place where people go out and get caught out--in spite of easily available weather forecasts.

As to the larger issue of whether there are more rescues offshore of cruising people's vessels that fail, or people whose courage fails, there really are few such rescues, such sailors are in the minority, and I expect the numbers are small.

As long ago as 1990, the Coast Guard dropped medical supplies to a vessel, organized by ham radio and telephone. Only one of those in our sphere in all those years. Of course this is anecdotal, but it does address the rareness.

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Old 11-07-2014, 16:06   #36
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Re: Alarming Increase in SAR rates?

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Originally Posted by hellosailor View Post

Unadjusted statistics without relevant context? Might as well try to get good information by watching The Housewives of New Jersey.

Looking forward to your repost of better numbers though!
I understand these aren't "good" statistics but I am not trying to change the world. Just get the conversation going. The Cospas/Sarsat folks seem to like their "save" stats, and of course they don't have an agenda.

I did SAR training in the late 70's. Pilots filed flight plans and boaters filed float plans. When people didn't show up the search area was huge! You hoped they were relatively close to the rhumb line but if not they probably didn't get found.

Today with the beacons we pretty much can find everyone quickly.

So a good argument can be made (and I think someone eluded to) that GPS/EPIRB/ELT/PLB has not caused an increase in SAR per se, just a different way to report it.

And the bonus is (MH370 notwithstanding) the S part is really quick and we spend a few days (on average) on the R part so overall, are costs down?

It is still conjecture on my part but it seems logical the number of people engaged in activities that may require SAR (boating and flying and hiking etc) is up in volume - we have more leisure time and more people (boomers) are retiring.

It seems logical that equipment (boats, weather information etc.) is more capable requiring fewer rescues. Although tis could be offset by less capable people doing it - that is my concern.

And digging in to this report - http://www.cospas-sarsat.int/images/...2021102013.pdf

Shows clearly it is not an American issue at all! It seems those Aussies and Europeans can't find their way to the grocery store and back.

But those Kiwis? Are any of them not lost they are shoulder to shoulder lost - They probably bump into each other on the street, "Hey, mate! I'm lost. Are you lost?" - "Too right mate. Been lost since 1983."
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Old 11-07-2014, 16:12   #37
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Re: Alarming Increase in SAR rates?

to me...the important numbers are how many more boaters are in each category that is being studied....

and without a doubt....todays boats whether built to coastal cruising standards or not...and their average success in included systems are light years ahead of the tech from 20-40 years ago. I would suggest that stats are WAY down because of the betterment of boating in general...hulls, propulsion and systems.

Less competent people can only make a boat go into a mayday situation to a point.....at some point the biggies that actually make boats sink aren't necessarily operator involved. true a good skipper might save the real problem child boat...but if it never gets to that point...even the best skipper just sits back and waits for the tow/help.
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Old 11-07-2014, 17:02   #38
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Re: Alarming Increase in SAR rates?

If all you gutless toadies decide to hit the EPIRB instead of heroically dying at sea then I have decided to do the same.


Like seat belts in cars. The road toll was higher before people wore them. Took a while before people stopped crapping on about their civil rights and realised Life is better than Death. Now everyone wears seat belts, the toll is coming down, and most who survive are happier for it...
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