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Old 28-09-2010, 23:33   #1
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Death on a Passage ?

My wife and I are planning to head out on next years "puddle jump" and wondered what the heck do you do if someone aboard should suddenly pass away? While our own health is still good, you never know when the Grim Reaper may be sitting in the dingy, plus it never hurts to be prepared for what faces all of at one time or another while out there.
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Old 29-09-2010, 00:06   #2
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I remember reading about a guy who fell overboard during the ARC one year.
He was on a lifeline but drowned. Crew eventually recovered him and consulted with family ashore who gave permission for a sea buerial.
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Old 29-09-2010, 00:29   #3
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Omnious?

Needs good planning and your story must be foolproof
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Old 29-09-2010, 01:31   #4
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mestrezat : This is Ann writing, not Jim, re death on a passage

N.B.: the following is a grim scenario--I recommend you stop reading here if this is a subject you wish to avoid.

If there are only two of you on board, talk about it, and work out a plan together. This is what Jim and I have done, and here is my plan in the event of a sudden death when I have been unable to get help. Document carefully the events and procedures you go through in the ship's log (it is a legal document). I plan to take a digital picture which will show that he is clearly dead. His body will be placed in a sailbag, into which I will put his dive weights or a length of chain. After it is prepared for burial, I will say my last goodbyes to him, say a few words (probably weeping), put the main halyard on a pennant on the sailbag, and use it to lift the lot over the lifeline, take another picture, open the snap shackle, and take the last picture. Get the boat under way again.

Then, I would e-mail Customs to notify them of the change. (I'm sure they'll tell me who else I have to notify.) The next morning, I would tell the people on the ham net we participate in what had happened. And continue on to port. I would not notify family or other friends back in the States until after I could phone them in person, after formalities have been completed in the country to which I'm going.

If there is a crew who is not a family member, you as skipper must tell them what will happen if they die in transit. But solicit their input. Reassure them that you will try to do as they would prefer, to the extent you can. Jim and I are agreed that keeping a dead body around is untenable and I would consider keeping it only if one is within 24 hrs. of reaching port. Unless you have an extremely large freezer or a hogshead of rum, you are not likely to be able to preserve a body.

Having stated all this, I do think death on a passage is unlikely, but it's one of those deals, like having a Living Will, that we do have to consider. Also one needs a plan in mind for the unlikely event that when you wake up on the boat, you're alone.

I hope this is helpful. For us, having made our plans, we don't worry about it. We trust each other to do what is best at the time.

I find I must add that whoever is your crew, they should be able to get the boat to port, and that as skipper, it is your responsibility to be assured that they have the skills to do it, as it is theirs to learn what's necessary.

Good luck with it,

Ann Cate, s/v Insatiable II, lying Michaelmas Cay, Queensland, Australia
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Old 29-09-2010, 01:58   #5
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I think it owuld depend on your situation,,,, are you close to shore,,, or in a liferaft without lots of food,,,,,

Talk:Cannibalism - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Custom of the Sea

It has been reported that there were cases of cannibalism in attempt of surviving after ship wreckage until modern times...--92.227.35.252 (talk) 18:07, 25 August 2009 (UTC)
[edit]Neanderthals?

MEN FACED CANNIBALISM ADRIFT IN OPEN BOAT - Survivors of Dredge Texas, Lost on Christmas Eve, Reach Here. 21 SEAMEN PROBABLY LOST One Died in Lifeboat, Others Went Mad and Wanted to Eat Him -- Rescued on Verge of Starvation. - Article - NYTimes.com

HowStuffWorks "Survival Cannibalism"

Adrift at Sea, Migrants Turn to Cannibalism to Survive | NBC Los Angeles


On another note,,, customs and immigration would have to be notified,,,, I was on one commercial vessel were a crewmember died,,,,, in alaska,,,, we were 3 days away from the nearest land,,,,, put him in a plastic bag,,,, tied to the boat outside,,, VERY lucky it was winter ,,, very difficult time for the crew,,,
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Old 29-09-2010, 02:15   #6
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I am agreeing with the sending of a distress signal and/or instantly contacting authorities about your predicament. There was that case where a single crew member did not report the disappearance of his skipper till months later. This was an Aussie boat out in the Pacific; someone might know the exact names/case? Along with the fact he had previously spoken about bumping off a boats crew and sailing away with the yacht this failure to instantly report the situation to authorities and/or trigger a search was central to his conviction for murder.
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Old 29-09-2010, 04:17   #7
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Ann seems to sum it up best; I can only add that if there is a choice to be made regarding your next port (country) of call, think carefully as to what you might expect from different customs and nations.
I might wrong but I would expect less problems ashore in a "western" country cf an "eastern" country and similarly with a "first world" cf "third world".
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Old 29-09-2010, 05:12   #8
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Needs good planning and your story must be foolproof
LOL !!!
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Old 29-09-2010, 06:08   #9
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I have met a few couples who have considered this situation.
They had gone to the trouble of having the possible scenarios written down, and both signatures notarized.
The presumption was full disclosure, with the knowledge that no-one would give carte-blance, if he/she was uncertain of security for his/her person.
I know--things change!!!
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Old 29-09-2010, 06:13   #10
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Stitch em up in canvas, put a few firebricks in. Remember last stitch through the nose. (old merchant navy tradition).
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Old 29-09-2010, 06:16   #11
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Quote:
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[

Ann Cate, s/v Insatiable II, lying Michaelmas Cay, Queensland, Australia
Hey Anne - all quite reasonable,

having said that whilst you are lying in Qld waters though, or in waters proximate, contact the QPS (Police) first, customs have little say in the matter. If possible contact them prior to the burial at sea and seek direction.

In matters of death the QPS act for the Coroner ( a judicial office in our part of the world - and not a doctor as most people think).
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Old 29-09-2010, 07:07   #12
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Well a part of life is dying, it's good you have the forethought to think it through.

Worst one I heard: husband at the top of the rig, clipped on to do some work and suffered a massive heart attack, no way to get him down. The missus had to sail the boat to the destination with the hubby flopping around at the mast head.

The poor woman, she surely suffered many nightmares.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim Cate View Post
mestrezat : This is Ann writing, not Jim, re death on a passage

N.B.: the following is a grim scenario--I recommend you stop reading here if this is a subject you wish to avoid.

If there are only two of you on board, talk about it, and work out a plan together. This is what Jim and I have done, and here is my plan in the event of a sudden death when I have been unable to get help. Document carefully the events and procedures you go through in the ship's log (it is a legal document). I plan to take a digital picture which will show that he is clearly dead. His body will be placed in a sailbag, into which I will put his dive weights or a length of chain. After it is prepared for burial, I will say my last goodbyes to him, say a few words (probably weeping), put the main halyard on a pennant on the sailbag, and use it to lift the lot over the lifeline, take another picture, open the snap shackle, and take the last picture. Get the boat under way again.

Then, I would e-mail Customs to notify them of the change. (I'm sure they'll tell me who else I have to notify.) The next morning, I would tell the people on the ham net we participate in what had happened. And continue on to port. I would not notify family or other friends back in the States until after I could phone them in person, after formalities have been completed in the country to which I'm going.

If there is a crew who is not a family member, you as skipper must tell them what will happen if they die in transit. But solicit their input. Reassure them that you will try to do as they would prefer, to the extent you can. Jim and I are agreed that keeping a dead body around is untenable and I would consider keeping it only if one is within 24 hrs. of reaching port. Unless you have an extremely large freezer or a hogshead of rum, you are not likely to be able to preserve a body.

Having stated all this, I do think death on a passage is unlikely, but it's one of those deals, like having a Living Will, that we do have to consider. Also one needs a plan in mind for the unlikely event that when you wake up on the boat, you're alone.

I hope this is helpful. For us, having made our plans, we don't worry about it. We trust each other to do what is best at the time.

I find I must add that whoever is your crew, they should be able to get the boat to port, and that as skipper, it is your responsibility to be assured that they have the skills to do it, as it is theirs to learn what's necessary.

Good luck with it,

Ann Cate, s/v Insatiable II, lying Michaelmas Cay, Queensland, Australia
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Old 29-09-2010, 07:22   #13
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Stitch em up in canvas, put a few firebricks in. Remember last stitch through the nose. (old merchant navy tradition).
Preparations, prior to the burial at sea:

The Ship - The sails should be adhusted so she is cokced up to the weather, some sails full of drive and some laid all a'back, so the ship is motionless.
Top gallant Yards a-cock-bill to signify a death and a buiral. - Lisft lines out of trim to speak grief. The Entry port on the starboard gangway to windward, and open.

The Body - canvas shrouded, with two cannon balls at the feet for weight, to insure sinking. The canvas should be sewn in place, starting at the feet, with the last stitch through the nose of the corpse, to check the person is indeed deceased. The body is them placed on an 8 man mess table, and covered with a Red Ensign.

Crew Formation - . Crew gathered to witness the service, under immediate command of the Bosun. Position of the crew not specified due to various diffferent ship's deck configurations.

Burial at sea - Prayers & More ➥ Funeral Customs - Sea Services

And ➥ Burial at sea: Separating and placing the dead during the age of sail - Mortality: Promoting the interdisciplinary study of death and dying
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Old 29-09-2010, 07:30   #14
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Preparations, prior to the burial at sea:

The Ship - The sails should be adhusted so she is cokced up to the weather, some sails full of drive and some laid all a'back, so the ship is motionless.
Top gallant Yards a-cock-bill to signify a death and a buiral. - Lisft lines out of trim to speak grief. The Entry port on the starboard gangway to windward, and open.

The Body - canvas shrouded, with two cannon balls at the feet for weight, to insure sinking. The canvas should be sewn in place, starting at the feet, with the last stitch through the nose of the corpse, to check the person is indeed deceased. The body is them placed on an 8 man mess table, and covered with a Red Ensign.

Crew Formation - . Crew gathered to witness the service, under immediate command of the Bosun. Position of the crew not specified due to various diffferent ship's deck configurations.

Burial at sea - Prayers & More ➥ Funeral Customs - Sea Services

And ➥ Burial at sea: Separating and placing the dead during the age of sail - Mortality: Promoting the interdisciplinary study of death and dying
Heck Gord, I better get some more crew.
BTW what do singlehanders when their is death on a passage (very poor pun intended- sorry ).
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Old 29-09-2010, 07:39   #15
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The Body - canvas shrouded, with two cannon balls at the feet for weight, to insure sinking. The canvas should be sewn in place, starting at the feet, with the last stitch through the nose of the corpse, to check the person is indeed deceased. The body is them placed on an 8 man mess table, and covered with a Red Ensign.

]
Merchant vessels didn't have cannon balls hence the firebricks. Also no mess tables so hatch boards were used.
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