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Old 02-04-2011, 12:17   #151
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Re: How Many EPIRBS and Liferafts ever Save Lives ?

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Originally Posted by estarzinger View Post

(...)

Its amazing how safe even offshore racing is. My observation is that their boats do tend to be better prepared than the average cruising boat on the sort of stuff on my 'basic safety' list.

(...)
Yes. Probably a subject for another (and very heated ;-)) thread.

I think there are many factors that add up: -racers are very skilled at driving and trimming, they will drive very attentively and react to sea changes promptly, - also the racing boats tend to be lighter, faster, more easily driven and controllable. Weather awareness is higher as there is more shore support, etc. etc.. I think all this adds towards safety.

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Old 02-04-2011, 13:16   #152
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Re: How Many EPIRBS and Liferafts ever Save Lives ?

IMHO liferafts and EPIBS are crutches used to make up for unprepared and unskilled people attempting to cruise in boats they know little or nothing about. These people take to the seas in their new boats with the knowledge that if it gets rough or tough out there they can set off the EPIRB and get a free lift back to land. I would venture that the vast majority of reported rescues at sea of cruisers/sailors are almost all in this category with a few very rare exceptions.
- - The case for liferafts is even worse. What "accident" can happen to your boat that will sink it in less than 5 minutes? Collisions with floating containers happen but are as rare as hen's teeth. A proper cruising sailor knows every square inch/mm of his vessel and all the weak points that might allow water to flood the boat. Given 5 minutes or more in a non-collision event you should be able to find the leak and plug it. It is not difficult. And you should have the equipment/tools on board to access all weak points where a mechanical failure can result in flooding.
- - CF has threads on collision matts and other similar topics. Not bothering to learn your vessel or plan for problems/disasters is virtually the rule for those carrying liferafts. I have seen boats sink because a rudder fell off or shaft log failed. These things can easily be removed from the catastrophic list and moved to the annoyance list with simple pre-planning and/or properly maintaining the vessel.
- - Going out into the oceans with known bad health or an ill-prepared vessel is getting very common these days - because - they can simply set off the EPRIB and get a ride home or medical assistance from a place they should not have been in the first place.
- -So whether EPIRBS and liferafts have actually saved real cruising sailors - I would say no and the money is better spent of preparing your boat and yourself to handle emergency situations. However, I am confident that both have saved lots of folks who through arrogance and/or ignorance take to the seas when they should have stayed on land or at least, within swimming distance of the shore.
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Old 02-04-2011, 13:43   #153
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Re: How Many EPIRBS and Liferafts ever Save Lives ?

you have got to be kidding??? "IMHO liferafts and EPIBS are crutches used to make up for unprepared and unskilled people attempting to cruise in boats they know little or nothing about". Hell then Im unprepared and unskilled.
One difference as noted when you start putting others aboard especially your young you want every piece of preparedness including the life raft and epirb. Like a reserve of bottle water is a crutch to a water maker.
Lets say that people that cart blanche rule out installing an epirb or life raft are reckless arrogant fools. Not saying that buying one is the right choice but its an option to weigh against cost benefit. I agree money is better spent having a hull and rig that is in top order. disagree having an epirb or life raft are crutches. Maybe rephrase and say can be crutches. Hope thats what you meant.
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Old 02-04-2011, 13:46   #154
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Re: How Many EPIRBS and Liferafts ever Save Lives ?

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Originally Posted by osirissail View Post
IMHO liferafts and EPIBS are crutches used to make up for unprepared and unskilled people attempting to cruise in boats they know little or nothing about. These people take to the seas in their new boats with the knowledge that if it gets rough or tough out there they can set off the EPIRB and get a free lift back to land. I would venture that the vast majority of reported rescues at sea of cruisers/sailors are almost all in this category with a few very rare exceptions.
- - The case for liferafts is even worse. What "accident" can happen to your boat that will sink it in less than 5 minutes? Collisions with floating containers happen but are as rare as hen's teeth. A proper cruising sailor knows every square inch/mm of his vessel and all the weak points that might allow water to flood the boat. Given 5 minutes or more in a non-collision event you should be able to find the leak and plug it. It is not difficult. And you should have the equipment/tools on board to access all weak points where a mechanical failure can result in flooding.
- - CF has threads on collision matts and other similar topics. Not bothering to learn your vessel or plan for problems/disasters is virtually the rule for those carrying liferafts. I have seen boats sink because a rudder fell off or shaft log failed. These things can easily be removed from the catastrophic list and moved to the annoyance list with simple pre-planning and/or properly maintaining the vessel.
- - Going out into the oceans with known bad health or an ill-prepared vessel is getting very common these days - because - they can simply set off the EPRIB and get a ride home or medical assistance from a place they should not have been in the first place.
- -So whether EPIRBS and liferafts have actually saved real cruising sailors - I would say no and the money is better spent of preparing your boat and yourself to handle emergency situations. However, I am confident that both have saved lots of folks who through arrogance and/or ignorance take to the seas when they should have stayed on land or at least, within swimming distance of the shore.
I'm sorry but boats have carried liferafts (or life boats) aboard since the Vikings... I don't think you'd want to call a Viking unskilled and unprepared

Liferafts are nothing new, and they are not "911" devices. Epribs are a different matter altogether. To say having a liferaft is unseaworthy or unpreparedness is bordering on insanity.
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Old 02-04-2011, 16:13   #155
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Re: How Many EPIRBS and Liferafts ever Save Lives ?

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Originally Posted by osirissail View Post

(...)

So whether EPIRBS and liferafts have actually saved real cruising sailors - I would say no (...)
I bet they did.

I would agree in general to the notion that without rescue toys we would have fewer cruisers around, fewer abandons, etc.. But once the **** hits the fan it does not really matter how skilled one is - the boat goes under and skill or lack of thereof - the guy with more (rescue) toys wins.

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Old 02-04-2011, 21:08   #156
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Liferafts are nothing new, and they are not "911" devices. Epribs are a different matter altogether. To say having a liferaft is unseaworthy or unpreparedness is bordering on insanity.
Sanity is restored to this thread. In fact, I would extend that comment to this whole thread

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Old 02-04-2011, 21:10   #157
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Re: How Many EPIRBS and Liferafts ever Save Lives ?

Quote:
Originally Posted by osirissail View Post
IMHO liferafts and EPIBS are crutches used to make up for unprepared and unskilled people attempting to cruise in boats they know little or nothing about. These people take to the seas in their new boats with the knowledge that if it gets rough or tough out there they can set off the EPIRB and get a free lift back to land. I would venture that the vast majority of reported rescues at sea of cruisers/sailors are almost all in this category with a few very rare exceptions.
- - The case for liferafts is even worse. What "accident" can happen to your boat that will sink it in less than 5 minutes? Collisions with floating containers happen but are as rare as hen's teeth. A proper cruising sailor knows every square inch/mm of his vessel and all the weak points that might allow water to flood the boat. Given 5 minutes or more in a non-collision event you should be able to find the leak and plug it. It is not difficult. And you should have the equipment/tools on board to access all weak points where a mechanical failure can result in flooding.
- - CF has threads on collision matts and other similar topics. Not bothering to learn your vessel or plan for problems/disasters is virtually the rule for those carrying liferafts. I have seen boats sink because a rudder fell off or shaft log failed. These things can easily be removed from the catastrophic list and moved to the annoyance list with simple pre-planning and/or properly maintaining the vessel.
- - Going out into the oceans with known bad health or an ill-prepared vessel is getting very common these days - because - they can simply set off the EPRIB and get a ride home or medical assistance from a place they should not have been in the first place.
- -So whether EPIRBS and liferafts have actually saved real cruising sailors - I would say no and the money is better spent of preparing your boat and yourself to handle emergency situations. However, I am confident that both have saved lots of folks who through arrogance and/or ignorance take to the seas when they should have stayed on land or at least, within swimming distance of the shore.
All I can say to that is I hope we never meet. Arrogance comes in all areas of life. Maybe the US airforce should disable all the ejection seats so the pilots work harder to save their aircraft.
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Old 03-04-2011, 07:29   #158
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Re: How Many EPIRBS and Liferafts ever Save Lives ?

Let me try to summarize the point I was trying to make in this thread:

The mind of the skipper is more important than the rescue equipment.

If you have invested in a raft, I believe you should also take the sort of in water raft training that Catamount has mentioned. It's a small extra expensive in time and money and you will learn a ton of eye opening things about rafts.

If you have invested in an epirb, I believe you should well and deeply understand that in times of emergency and crisis things often initially look very bleak and you (or your crew) WILL be tempted to push that button, and and you need to take a deep breath and a moment of deep thought before you do, because it is almost always (say 9 out of 10 times in the cases we know about) a mistake.

Before you make either of these two investments in rescue equipment, you should absolutely make sure you have done everything practical on your boat to ensure you DONT need to be rescued. I have previously posted a sort list of what I would consider the priorities. Preventing a rescue is rather more effective than enabling a rescue (which is all the raft and epirb do). PLEASE take a close look at that list of things which will prevent your having to be rescued - doing THAT will make you safer, and reduce the insurance and government regulation effect from rescues that was mentioned previously. (list posted again below)

Finally, the key to successfully handling an emergency situation is that YOU stay calm and collected and provide good leadership. Having a pile of rescue equipment on board can in fact be helpful but not if you freeze or panic.

================================================== =========
Priority SAFETY measures to PREVENT rescue
Not comprehensive, be interested in others thoughts and ideas and additions

- how many have taken the sort of training that catamount has mentioned (first aid, water survival, fire fighting, flares and rafts)? Knowing what to do and how to do it is critical in surviving.-How many have pulled and inspected all their thru-hulls and hoses this year?
-How many have pulled their rudders and inspected the stock and bearing/seal and checked to see there is no water in the blade?
- How many have inspected/replaced the various rubber parts on their fuel system and engine?
-How many have inspected all their electrical connections, especially inside the shore power plug recently?
- How many have opened and cleaned their fuel tanks?
- How many have automatic fire extinguishers in their engine rooms?
- How many have absolutely oversized and best designed anchors?
- How many have bow crash boxes and fore/aft water tight bulkheads?
-How many have dorades and/or hatches that will not down flood if capsized
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Old 03-04-2011, 08:19   #159
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Re: How Many EPIRBS and Liferafts ever Save Lives ?

Quote:
Originally Posted by estarzinger View Post
Let me try to summarize the point I was trying to make in this thread:
One of the wisest posts I've read on CF. Certainly takes the topic way beyond my simple initial question to make a point (with details) which may by itself actually save lives if someone takes it to heart.



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Old 03-04-2011, 08:38   #160
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Re: How Many EPIRBS and Liferafts ever Save Lives ?

Quote:
Originally Posted by estarzinger View Post
Let me try to summarize the point I was trying to make in this thread:

The mind of the skipper is more important than the rescue equipment.

If you have invested in a raft, I believe you should also take the sort of in water raft training that Catamount has mentioned. It's a small extra expensive in time and money and you will learn a ton of eye opening things about rafts.

If you have invested in an epirb, I believe you should well and deeply understand that in times of emergency and crisis things often initially look very bleak and you (or your crew) WILL be tempted to push that button, and and you need to take a deep breath and a moment of deep thought before you do, because it is almost always (say 9 out of 10 times in the cases we know about) a mistake.

Before you make either of these two investments in rescue equipment, you should absolutely make sure you have done everything practical on your boat to ensure you DONT need to be rescued. I have previously posted a sort list of what I would consider the priorities. Preventing a rescue is rather more effective than enabling a rescue (which is all the raft and epirb do). PLEASE take a close look at that list of things which will prevent your having to be rescued - doing THAT will make you safer, and reduce the insurance and government regulation effect from rescues that was mentioned previously. (list posted again below)

Finally, the key to successfully handling an emergency situation is that YOU stay calm and collected and provide good leadership. Having a pile of rescue equipment on board can in fact be helpful but not if you freeze or panic.

================================================== =========
Priority SAFETY measures to PREVENT rescue
Not comprehensive, be interested in others thoughts and ideas and additions

- how many have taken the sort of training that catamount has mentioned (first aid, water survival, fire fighting, flares and rafts)? Knowing what to do and how to do it is critical in surviving.-How many have pulled and inspected all their thru-hulls and hoses this year?
-How many have pulled their rudders and inspected the stock and bearing/seal and checked to see there is no water in the blade?
- How many have inspected/replaced the various rubber parts on their fuel system and engine?
-How many have inspected all their electrical connections, especially inside the shore power plug recently?
- How many have opened and cleaned their fuel tanks?
- How many have automatic fire extinguishers in their engine rooms?
- How many have absolutely oversized and best designed anchors?
- How many have bow crash boxes and fore/aft water tight bulkheads?
-How many have dorades and/or hatches that will not down flood if capsized
Thats an excellent summary, and I couldn't agree more. I think the point I was making is virtually the same, just coming from a different perspective.

It's always about the person, not the gear. In that respect, simply omitting the gear doesn't impose seamanship and survival instinct, just as buying a fancy liferaft doesn't create safety and can't become a substitute for seamanship.
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Old 03-04-2011, 12:51   #161
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Re: How Many EPIRBS and Liferafts ever Save Lives ?

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It's always about the person, not the gear. In that respect, simply omitting the gear doesn't impose seamanship and survival instinct, just as buying a fancy liferaft doesn't create safety and can't become a substitute for seamanship.
Yes all true, but a little trite.

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Old 03-04-2011, 20:32   #162
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Re: How Many EPIRBS and Liferafts ever Save Lives ?

Trite, heck - it is good advice. And additionally - you invest thousands in a liferaft and mount it on your vessel. There it stays for years and years cooking in the sun. There are requirements to have the raft inspected and tested every "X"-years. So you take to a life-raft to a servicing outfit and come back later and reinstall the container on your boat. Here is the nasty part - it was published a few years ago in the major cruising magazines and other places that some life-raft "servicing" facilities were not only -not- doing the required inspection and testing, but they were keeping your expensive raft and refilling the canister with dumpster trash, then sealing the canister.
- - So if you choose to have a life-raft be sure to be personally present when the canister is opened and the raft tested and then repacked with the proper additional survival equipment inside.
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Old 03-04-2011, 21:02   #163
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Re: How Many EPIRBS and Liferafts ever Save Lives ?

Quote:
Originally Posted by estarzinger View Post
Let me try to summarize the point I was trying to make in this thread:

The mind of the skipper is more important than the rescue equipment.
+10^9

Quote:
Originally Posted by estarzinger View Post
Priority SAFETY measures to PREVENT rescue
Not comprehensive, be interested in others thoughts and ideas and additions

- how many have taken the sort of training that catamount has mentioned (first aid, water survival, fire fighting, flares and rafts)? Knowing what to do and how to do it is critical in surviving.
-How many have pulled and inspected all their thru-hulls and hoses this year?
-How many have pulled their rudders and inspected the stock and bearing/seal and checked to see there is no water in the blade?
- How many have inspected/replaced the various rubber parts on their fuel system and engine?
-How many have inspected all their electrical connections, especially inside the shore power plug recently?
- How many have opened and cleaned their fuel tanks?
- How many have automatic fire extinguishers in their engine rooms?
- How many have absolutely oversized and best designed anchors?
- How many have bow crash boxes and fore/aft water tight bulkheads?
-How many have dorades and/or hatches that will not down flood if capsized
Evans, one thing I see missing from your list is attention to the mast and standing rigging -- When's the last time you pulled the mast and thoroughly inspected/replaced the rigging? Pulled the chainplates and inspected or replaced them?

In another context ("Project Boat" project priority setting), I had organized and prioritized things along the following lines:

1) Make sure the boat is not going to sink -- pay attention to your thru hulls, seacocks, and plumbing, etc...

2) Make sure the keel is going to stay on. (and I should add rudder)

3) Make sure the mast is going to stay up -- replace standing rigging, chainplates, etc...

4) Make sure the water stays out -- rebed hardware, etc.. (add hatches that don't flood, high companionway sills, etc...)

5) Make sure the boat will not catch fire -- redo electrical wiring, etc...

Some of the things on your list (cleaning the fuel tank, replacing rubber parts on the engine) seem to assume that a working engine is a primary safety system, which is a point that I suppose some might argue is perhaps not so critical(?)

I think the general principles here are "inspect, rather than expect..." and "an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure..."

Some additional thoughts:

* Make sure that the crew is up to the task -- this includes the practical safety training, and practice, but also things like physical fitness and health, adequate rest and nutrition, etc...

* Make sure the crew stays on board -- pay attention to hand-holds and toe-holds, the condition of your non-skid, keeping the decks clear, etc...first -- then you can think about harnesses, tethers and jacklines.

* Make sure you can see and be seen -- the crash box (particularly) and water-tight bulkheads are mitigation measures for the event of running into something, but what can we do to avoid running into something (or being run-into) in the first place?

----

Earlier in the thread, when you first posted some of your suggested measures, asking how many have done this or that, you also asked "if not, why not?"

I have some possibilities (not that any of these apply to me -- I've done everything on your list, well, almost )

- cost, not just monetary, but primarily the cost in time and the mental "energy" used up thinking about these things, as well as the cost in inconvenience and lost opportunity (just for example: fitting a water-tight bulkhead is a lot of work: removing the interior, grinding down the hull in preparation for tabbing in the bulkhead, sending dust everywhere in the process, and you can't use the boat while this is going on, and then once the bulkhead is installed it inhibits your movement through the boat, limiting access to previously useful areas, and so on)

- lack of knowledge of (a) their importance, and/or (b) how to accomplish them

- trust that the designer and builder of the boat knew what they were doing, and that if these things really made a difference (e.g. super-strong rudders, excellent keel attachments, water-tight bulkheads, etc...), they would have come with the boat

- buying and fitting fancy new "toys" (e.g., liferafts, EPIRBs) is more fun and "flashier" than investing in the boat's basic systems

EDIT: one more reason for not -- the rules don't require it (but do require buying all that rescue gear) ....
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Old 03-04-2011, 22:11   #164
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Re: How Many EPIRBS and Liferafts ever Save Lives ?

The rules do require EPIRB in this part of the world and have saved lives. Calling liferafts and EPIRB's fancy toys, tell that to your passengers as the boat goes down. The Titanic was supposed to be unsinkable and brand new. They decided as it would never sink they would do away with most of the liferafts. Not sure what some of you guys are on but some of the illogical comments on this subject has astounded me.
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Old 03-04-2011, 23:48   #165
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Re: How Many EPIRBS and Liferafts ever Save Lives ?

Having one is not much different than a seat belt. When you need it you sure as hell are glad it was there to protect you.

Because the vast majority of boaters will never need one does not mean it was a bad idea to pay for one.
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