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Old 09-04-2011, 06:54   #196
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Re: How Many EPIRBS and Liferafts ever Save Lives ?

I see a consensus that saving/fixing the ship is the first priority and then the liferaft/epirb are for use when you end up having to "step up" into the liferaft.
- - I contend that newbie/inexperience cruisers/sailor are using the existence of the liferaft/epirb as an excuse to not know and to not plan ahead on how to save the ship. Short of a massive collision hole there is little reason for not being able to save the ship.
- - There are a huge number of articles of the years in sailing/cruising magazines about how to stop/stem leaks, even collision damage leaks. And collision damage leaks are exceedingly rare in open ocean. You are more likely to lose your mast(s) and rigging than occur a collision that breaches the hull.
- - An organized plan to find and stem a leak due to equipment failure is not difficult or very time consuming. Having open access to all through-hulls and having exercised and operable sea cocks with double strapped hoses is common sense safety. If some are in lockers or below the cabin sole easy access is as important as checking alternator belt tension and engine oil levels. Piling stuff into a seacock access so that you cannot get to it is tantamount to setting yourself up for a suicide situation.
- - One of the prime reasons for cruising and a prime responsibility is to take ownership of your (and your crews) lives and safety, not rely on "others" to save your bacon when things get difficult. Not knowing and not keeping your vessel in safe condition because you have the idea that somebody else will come to your rescue is beyond comprehension and you should not be out on the seas out of sight of land.
- - In North America and other 1st World countries the population has been hammered for decades that the "government" will always know what is best for you and will "save" you. And you do not need to take responsibility and even common sense care. Don't worry a bureaucrat or committee will save you. Many long term cruisers take to the seas just to get away from that philosophy and regain ownership of their lives.
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Old 09-04-2011, 10:01   #197
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Re: How Many EPIRBS and Liferafts ever Save Lives ?

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Originally Posted by goboatingnow View Post
None of this has any statistical effect on the value of safety aids and the rescues they helped to safety.

Dave
Absolutely.

I was not trying to add to such statistics at all. Only re-telling two stories of how rescue equipment got misused, in one case - up to the point where a human life was lost.

While not adding to the statistics of rescue equipment (named by you "safety aids") and successful rescues, I believe my post added to the statistics of rescue equipment misused due to lack of seafaring experience. Thus, it added to this thread too, IMHO.

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Old 09-04-2011, 12:17   #198
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Re: How Many EPIRBS and Liferafts ever Save Lives ?

Once and that is enough!
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Old 09-04-2011, 16:10   #199
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Re: How Many EPIRBS and Liferafts ever Save Lives ?

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Everyone is thinking about the yacht sinking, don't forget it could also be fire you need to escape from. . . .
Pete
That is a very pertinent and valid concern. From an old statistic it was noted that 10 boats burn to the waterline for every one boat that sinks from any other reason. Of course, that was back when alcohol stoves were a frequent component in a boat.
- - But still electrical fires are a very high percentage of hull losses. But almost all happen in marinas or anchorages as that is when the electrical system is drawing high power for cooking, partying, or other activities. Gensets are running and spliced together power lines are cobbled into a rat's nest waiting to ignite.
- - However stepping off onto the marina pier affords escape in one circumstance and a deployed dinghy in the other.
- - In these quite frequent disasters life-rafts and epirbs are of zero use.
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Old 11-04-2011, 10:29   #200
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Re: How Many EPIRBS and Liferafts ever Save Lives ?

A life raft and epirb will have every chance to save our lives, along with an immersion suit, spot, ditch bag, hand held vhf, whistle, fire extinguishers and all the other safety equipment. Hope for the best, prepare for the worst.

Better a thousand times careful than once dead.


Thank you very much and have a nice day.
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Old 21-04-2011, 10:13   #201
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Re: How Many EPIRBS and Liferafts ever Save Lives ?

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But if you are a rather more typical and ordinary human being, then you cannot say any of these three things for sure, and in each case having the raft/epirb does in fact create some trade-off and extra risk. Rafts and epirbs can OBVIOUSLY SAVE LIVES in some (rare) situations. But you can in fact kill someone who would not have been killed (if you did not have a raft/epirb) by making any of these three mistakes..
I think this confuses causation with correlation. Sure, some people have used an epirb or liferaft improperly when they shouldn't have, but the existence of the epirb or liferaft was not the cause of their bad choices, and so removing these things will not resolve their tendency to make bad choices. Like I said, if the epirb and liferaft are causing skippers to do stupid behaviors, the problem is with those behaviour and not the epirb/liferaft. The solution is better training, not to get rid of the epirb/liferaft. Having "security blankets" aboard may correlate with bad choices, but the cause of these bad choices are in the skippers inadequately-trained head, and that's where the fix has to be.
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Old 21-04-2011, 10:46   #202
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Re: How Many EPIRBS and Liferafts ever Save Lives ?

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Originally Posted by Cyrus Safdari View Post
I think this confuses causation with correlation. Sure, some people have used an epirb or liferaft improperly when they shouldn't have, but the existence of the epirb or liferaft was not the cause of their bad choices, and so removing these things will not resolve their tendency to make bad choices. Like I said, if the epirb and liferaft are causing skippers to do stupid behaviors, the problem is with those behaviour and not the epirb/liferaft ...
Indeed.
Sans the liferaft, said skippers might have made other, but just as disastrous, wrong decisions.
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Old 21-04-2011, 22:29   #203
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Re: How Many EPIRBS and Liferafts ever Save Lives ?

Very similar to the problem with the use of GPS and chart plotters by inexperienced boaters instead of learning how to properly navigate.
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Old 22-04-2011, 02:40   #204
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Re: How Many EPIRBS and Liferafts ever Save Lives ?

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Originally Posted by Cyrus Safdari View Post
I think this confuses causation with correlation. Sure, some people have used an epirb or liferaft improperly when they shouldn't have, but the existence of the epirb or liferaft was not the cause of their bad choices, and so removing these things will not resolve their tendency to make bad choices. Like I said, if the epirb and liferaft are causing skippers to do stupid behaviors, the problem is with those behaviour and not the epirb/liferaft. The solution is better training, not to get rid of the epirb/liferaft. Having "security blankets" aboard may correlate with bad choices, but the cause of these bad choices are in the skippers inadequately-trained head, and that's where the fix has to be.
Right. It's like arguing that safety nets cause fatalities among tight-rope walkers, because they are not as careful when they know the net is down there.

You could say the same thing about any safety device -- seat belts, airbags, etc. And it would be equally wrong.
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Old 22-04-2011, 02:53   #205
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Re: How Many EPIRBS and Liferafts ever Save Lives ?

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Short of a massive collision hole there is little reason for not being able to save the ship.
That's easy to say sitting on dry land in front of your computer. In fact a hole the size of your plastic depth sounder transducer, located a couple of feet below the water line, will produce a geyser which can sink your boat in no time. In a storm with electrical failure and the water a couple feet above the cabin sole, in darkness and with the boat being tossed around viciously, debris flying around the cabin, battery acid leaking into the bilge water, finding and plugging that leak may be not be a realistically possible.

Things like this do happen. Through-hulls and sea cocks fail, hoses burst, rudders fall out, drive shafts fall out, stuffing boxes disintegrate, and all kinds of other bad things happen which do sink boats, and it is not "exceptionally rare". And that's why I carry not one, but two life rafts. Even though I am intimate with all of my sea cocks and keep a big bag of wooden cone plugs and a mallet under the companionway with the flares, and would certainly do everything humanly possible to save the ship in case of a leak.


By the way -- thread drift alert -- a good way to stay on intimate terms with all your sea cocks is to turn them off every time you leave your boat. This is a ritual which I do even when leaving for a couple of days. It keeps them operating smoothly and makes their location second nature to you, so that you could find them even in the dark. I highly recommend this.
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Old 22-04-2011, 03:08   #206
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Re: How Many EPIRBS and Liferafts ever Save Lives ?

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Originally Posted by osirissail View Post
Very similar to the problem with the use of GPS and chart plotters by inexperienced boaters instead of learning how to properly navigate.
You still have not replied to my idea of getting rid of ejector seats and parachutes in the US airforce so that the pilots work harder to save the aircraft.
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Old 22-04-2011, 06:46   #207
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Re: How Many EPIRBS and Liferafts ever Save Lives ?

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Right. It's like arguing that safety nets cause fatalities among tight-rope walkers, because they are not as careful when they know the net is down there.

You could say the same thing about any safety device -- seat belts, airbags, etc. And it would be equally wrong.
Sorry no . . . completely wrong.

FIRST: this comparison is just wrong because similar equipment provides quite different options/results in different environments.

Just consider the difference between an epirb on a boat vs on a plane.

On a boat you get seasick and scared and you can push the button and wait for rescue. On a plane in the air you know you are not going to be rescued, you need to get the plane down by yourself.

Consider the fact and reason that there ARE NOT parachutes under the seats on commercial planes. The life vests under the seats do not give the passengers any additional 'bad' options. But if there were parachutes under the seats, just imagine if things started going wrong on a flight (engine fire, smoke, oxygen masks) and someone decided to pull out the parachutes and open a door . . . rather than 'hope' the pilot can save the plane.

Different rescue or safety equipment, in different environments, creates different options and different mental effects. It is not 'all the same'.

SECOND: This 'safety'/rescue equipment certainly does change people's decision process and certainly does create the possibility of injury/death that would not have otherwise occurred.

Just to use your example - there are certainly people who would try to tightrope walk with a net who would not without such a net. And there are certainly some of those people who tried to tightrope walk with the net who fell and broke an arm or sprained an ankle who would not have if there had not tried to tightrope walk (because of the net). We have no idea whether those injuries 'caused' by the existence of the net are more or less than what would happen without a net with many fewer more skilled people tightrope walking. BUT it is OBVIOUS that the existance of the net changes people's decision process and puts some in a position where they could be injured where they would not be in such a position without the net.

All this depends greatly on the experience and training of the people involved. There are certainly exceptions, but cruisers are generally not well trained or experienced in emergency reactions.

There seem to be a theme here that people/cruisers will react rationally in a time of emergency. Most evidence suggests they will not. As a species we have lots going for us but rational decision making, especially in times of stress, is not generally one of our strong points. Just to provide three examples in quite different circumstances: Do you know that only one in 5 infantry men fire their rifle in their first contact, and they have been extensively trained. Do you know that about 40% of those found innocent in project Innocence (a project looking a new DNA evidence in prior serious convictions) confessed to crimes they did not commit. We are talking about low probability long tailed events here. Humans are notoriously bad at judging such events even in the best of circumstances. Just take a look at the number of people playing the lottery . . . where the 'odds' are so clearly and very bad. . . . to realize that even when the data is available we often don't make 'rational' decisions.

I honestly don't understand the resistance to the basic ideas here - #1 that the availability (or not) of rescue/safety equipment WILL change your decision making process (both before the emergency and during). and #2 that some types of safety equipment in some situations creates/allows a bad option that does not exist in that same situation without the 'safety' equipment. Both seem completely obvious simple facts. Training and experience can mitigate both effects, but probably never erase them.

THIRD: As previously mentioned/discussed/defined rafts and epirbs are 'rescue' equipment NOT 'safety' equipment. You have failed at 'safety' if you have to use them. If you want to focus on and increase safety, you will be focused on the sorts of things I have listed before and place the raft/epirb later/low in your priorities after you have done the more critical stuff AND been trained on the proper use of rafts and epirbs.
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Old 22-04-2011, 18:42   #208
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Re: How Many EPIRBS and Liferafts ever Save Lives ?

THIRD: As previously mentioned/discussed/defined rafts and epirbs are 'rescue' equipment NOT 'safety' equipment. You have failed at 'safety' if you have to use them. If you want to focus on and increase safety, you will be focused on the sorts of things I have listed before and place the raft/epirb later/low in your priorities after you have done the more critical stuff AND been trained on the proper use of rafts and epirbs

Perfection is sought but never attained to think that you can cover everything possible that could go wrong and cause the boat to sink and ensure it does not happen is arrogance of the highest order. The idea that you and others should die for some stupid ideal that is unattainable is dumb
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Old 22-04-2011, 22:01   #209
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Re: How Many EPIRBS and Liferafts ever Save Lives ?

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All this depends greatly on the experience and training of the people involved. There are certainly exceptions, but cruisers are generally not well trained or experienced in emergency reactions.
Training is amazing, and training for emergencies is something I have a wee bit of experience with. However, nothing can substitute for experience. The best description I ever heard was from an old salt who called it "looking through the straw." The point was that the pressure of emergency situations for new responders causes a narrowing of perception. Experience expands the straw, until after seasoning (hopefully) you'll be able to absorb the big picture.

You, as an armchair quarterback, are not under the same perceptual narrowing, thus you can exercise the hubris of passing judgement on those who are/were.

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I honestly don't understand the resistance to the basic ideas here - #1 that the availability (or not) of rescue/safety equipment WILL change your decision making process (both before the emergency and during). and #2 that some types of safety equipment in some situations creates/allows a bad option that does not exist in that same situation without the 'safety' equipment. Both seem completely obvious simple facts. Training and experience can mitigate both effects, but probably never erase them.
I think the resistance isn't to the concept that the presence of rescue equipment can change your decision. That one's obvious. You can't abandon ship without a life raft/dink/kayak/ice chest. I think the resistance is to the idea that people shouldn't carry safety equipment because they might decide to use it. I'm still not 100% sure that is what you are saying, but that's what I'm hearing from you (although my hearing is rather bad).

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Originally Posted by estarzinger View Post
THIRD: As previously mentioned/discussed/defined rafts and epirbs are 'rescue' equipment NOT 'safety' equipment. You have failed at 'safety' if you have to use them. If you want to focus on and increase safety, you will be focused on the sorts of things I have listed before and place the raft/epirb later/low in your priorities after you have done the more critical stuff AND been trained on the proper use of rafts and epirbs.
Here's where you jump the shark (so to speak). Have I failed as a driver if the airbag in my truck deploys? I don't plan to wreck, and drive appropriately to avoid it, but I still wear a seatbelt. I don't care how amazing a driver/pilot/sailor you think you are. Stuff happens. In a FRG boat, you are floating around in a giant class B fire just waiting to happen. Those two little extinguishers aren't going to put it out. A life raft might come in handy if you have a fire aboard. Or an EPIRB should the latch fail on your pressure cooker while you're standing near it.

I have personally witnessed a fire that started by a crumpled wrapper in a flybridge sink (think magnifying glass and paper) in a vessel with no-one aboard. I fail to see how that owner failed at safety. Or the lady who stumbled in the salon and ended up with a compound leg fracture (in the marina). I've pulled the same guy out of his boat twice when he's thrown out his back just twisting around. Now maybe I see a lot of the bad stuff because I'm paid to see it, but that doesn't make it less bad.

I'm not willing to gamble my son's life on my own ego. I haven't seen it all, but I've seen enough to know that while I may judge people's decisions, I really shouldn't.

JRM
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Old 22-04-2011, 22:06   #210
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Re: How Many EPIRBS and Liferafts ever Save Lives ?

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Training is amazing, and training for emergencies is something I have a wee bit of experience with. However, nothing can substitute for experience. The best description I ever heard was from an old salt who called it "looking through the straw." The point was that the pressure of emergency situations for new responders causes a narrowing of perception. Experience expands the straw, until after seasoning (hopefully) you'll be able to absorb the big picture.

You, as an armchair quarterback, are not under the same perceptual narrowing, thus you can exercise the hubris of passing judgement on those who are/were.



I think the resistance isn't to the concept that the presence of rescue equipment can change your decision. That one's obvious. You can't abandon ship without a life raft/dink/kayak/ice chest. I think the resistance is to the idea that people shouldn't carry safety equipment because they might decide to use it. I'm still not 100% sure that is what you are saying, but that's what I'm hearing from you (although my hearing is rather bad).



Here's where you jump the shark (so to speak). Have I failed as a driver if the airbag in my truck deploys? I don't plan to wreck, and drive appropriately to avoid it, but I still wear a seatbelt. I don't care how amazing a driver/pilot/sailor you think you are. Stuff happens. In a FRG boat, you are floating around in a giant class B fire just waiting to happen. Those two little extinguishers aren't going to put it out. A life raft might come in handy if you have a fire aboard. Or an EPIRB should the latch fail on your pressure cooker while you're standing near it.

I have personally witnessed a fire that started by a crumpled wrapper in a flybridge sink (think magnifying glass and paper) in a vessel with no-one aboard. I fail to see how that owner failed at safety. Or the lady who stumbled in the salon and ended up with a compound leg fracture (in the marina). I've pulled the same guy out of his boat twice when he's thrown out his back just twisting around. Now maybe I see a lot of the bad stuff because I'm paid to see it, but that doesn't make it less bad.

I'm not willing to gamble my son's life on my own ego. I haven't seen it all, but I've seen enough to know that while I may judge people's decisions, I really shouldn't.

JRM
Very well said.

I forget how the actual quote goes, but I heard somebody say it in reference to Pilot training...
Preparations are for the things you can predict, but rescue equipment is for that one thing you can't.
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