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Old 23-04-2011, 04:00   #211
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Re: How Many EPIRBS and Liferafts ever Save Lives ?

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Originally Posted by callmecrazy View Post
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.
I like that it sums up this whole debate
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Old 23-04-2011, 06:56   #212
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Re: How Many EPIRBS and Liferafts ever Save Lives ?

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Originally Posted by JRM View Post
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.

Agree completely. Most clearly the case with infantry first contacts. And something that new cruisers should be very very aware of.

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.

In this thread I don't see that I am passing judgement on anyone. I have been simply stating a fact . . . that the presence of rescue and safety equipment will change people's decision process and can create bad options that would not exist without them. I am not passing any judgment on anyone in stating that.


I am also hardly an armchair quarterback. I have several times referred to my own experiences and mistakes related to this subject. I put my own life where my mouth is on this topic. My objective is to simply communicate what I have learned while "looking thru the straw".

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).

No, in fact I has said several times I am NOT saying that. I have clearly said I strongly believe in carrying safety equipment like tolls and repair materials, and fire extinguishers and first aid kits, etc. I have said that if you are carrying any sort of comms equipment (sat phone or ssb) you should also carry an epirb because you will in all likelihood call for help and you owe the rescue service the best possible location beacon. I have said I am ambivalent about rafts, because they are generally shitty devices that function poorly and many people have been killed using them when they might have stayed alive on the vessel - but they have also obviously saved some cruisers lives.

Have I failed as a driver if the airbag in my truck deploys? 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 am quite aware that stuff happens. Its happened to me repeatedly. I still maintain that you have almost always failed at safety if you need the raft or epirb. If another vessel hits you, you have not kept a proper watch. If you have a fire, you have not properly maintained the boat and not properly deployed the fire extinguishers.

I do agree that there are a very few circumstances that are beyond your control - a lightening strike for instance, although I am not aware of one at sea that has caused a sinking. Hitting a sunken but floating skipping container is another, as is a whale strike. I maintain in these situations 'safety' suggests you should be prepared and able to attempt to save the boat. But in a very few cases even the well prepared and trained and experienced will not be able to and then you will be glad that you have the raft and epirb.

But the question of the thread is do these these very few situations (and yes I agree they exist) offset the situations where people use the raft and epirb when they should not have and cause a worse problem (which also clearly and provably exist)? I have said (I think 7 times now in this thread) that I don't know and will not judge for others. I have made my own judgement and have put my life where my mouth is.

Fortunately cruising is safe enough that none of these outcomes happen very frequently. Unfortunately cruising is safe enough that these outcomes are so infrequent that most cruisers are not experienced at dealing with them and there is very little data.

I've seen enough to know that while I may judge people's decisions

Again, where do you see me in this thread ever judging other people's decisions. I have simply been trying to explain that rafts for instance have the potential to bite you in addition to their potential to save you. And that skippers should understand both.

I have also been trying to suggest that you don't and can't buy 'safety' by going to the store and getting a raft and an epirb. Safety is primarily much more fundamental than that - most sinking's are due to poorly maintained thru-hulls and stuffing boxes. Most fires are do to poorly maintained electrical systems. And that most rescues (of cruisers) at sea are caused by panic and could be prevented by working to expand the straw. Safety is fundamentally in addressing those sorts of issues and NOT going to the store and buying 'safety gear'.

Finally I have been trying to suggest that people going cruising should plan and aim to take care of themselves and NOT depend on a 911 mindset (call for help and wait for the professionals to arrive) because #1 911 works rather less well in the open ocean than it does along a highway, #2 you will usually have a better and safer outcome if you self rescue than if you abandon, and #3 you will learn more and get more from sealife if you take the responsibility on yourself.
.....
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Old 23-04-2011, 09:16   #213
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Re: How Many EPIRBS and Liferafts ever Save Lives ?

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Originally Posted by estarzinger View Post
.....
I think your point has been clearly made and understood. The thing is, some people actually disagree with you. Don't take it personally

It is not a "fact" that having rescue equipment negatively affects a persons decision making process. That is your opinion, even based on your observations, it's still an opinion.

I totally agree that it has proven to be the issue in many cases, it's quite obvious when that happens...

But how many times has it NOT been proven? How many storms have people successfully sailed through without calling for help or launching their liferaft after a knockdown? How many fires have been put out with a fire extinguisher at sea? how many times has lightning strike taken out electronics and burnt up mast fittings and people still sailed to safety before making repairs? How many dismastings and rigging failures have been rigged up and the boats sailed to safety without setting off their Epirb? How many watertight bulkheads have saved a vessel in a collision and the boat made it back to port under its own power?

I think you're correct that this type of data does not actually exist, and so it's impossible to come up with any factual assessment. But my observations suggest it's the minority of cases where the safety and rescue equipment were used when compared to how many people choose not to call for help (see data below). Those are the stories we hear about on websites and news, because nobody seems to want to "discuss" (to death) what happened to the boat that limped into port quietly a few weeks late. It may get noticed by the local skippers at the time, but its not front page material and it's certainly not typical hot-topic forum material...

I'm not arguing against your logic, though. I'm sure everyone would agree that proper precautions should always be taken first and foremost. Prevention is the best safety, that's been true for a thousand years... I'm simply suggesting that out of 12 Million US registered vessels, with only 4000 USCG rescues (aprx) means there are a vast majority of boaters who do indeed take proper precautions and consistently make the right decisions at the right time, even though they own rescue equipment!...

To willingly do without an added level of security (when you are given the choice) can do nothing but decrease your chances of survival. It is indeed arrogance. And to suggest that other people follow that example is even worse IMO.

How many liferaft based rescues happen each year (I can't find that data)? To presume they kill more people than they save, is simply not accurate. Even if people are using them prematurely and losing their boats, and forcing a rescue, the majority of those people are still alive, even after making their bad decisions and poor preparations.

USCG Office of Search & Rescue (CG-534)

Look at this chart. Notice first, that the "cases" decrease over the years (as technology improves, even though recreational boating increases exponentially), and the number of "Lives Saved" Increases over the same period of time.

Now, look at the disparity between "lives saved" and "lives lost AFTER USCG notification". Clearly, when people deploy their safety equipement, their chance of survival goes UP. I think this is proven.

Obviously we don't know how many of those were in a liferaft or not. But the Those people who put their life on the line to save others, consistently advise the use of liferafts and epirbs... I believe they have far more empirical evidence to make this suggestion than any one sailor, no matter how many miles he has traveled.

So how many of those (thousands) of rescues shouldn't have happened in the first place? 99.9% of them... but that does not conclude that liferafts (or epirbs) TAKE lives vs. SAVING them. The evidence shows that safety/rescue equipment consistently saves lives.

Arrogance can kill you just as quickly as ignorance and complacency.

Other data source: 2008 boating statistics
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Old 23-04-2011, 09:42   #214
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Re: How Many EPIRBS and Liferafts ever Save Lives ?

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Originally Posted by estarzinger View Post
In this thread I don't see that I am passing judgement on anyone. I have been simply stating a fact . . . that the presence of rescue and safety equipment will change people's decision process and can create bad options that would not exist without them. I am not passing any judgment on anyone in stating that.
I think where we're missing each other about judging is where you draw the line at "bad options." I see that as entirely a judgement call, which you are making based on your experiences. I do it too, and I'll bet I do it a *lot* more often than you (based on occupation)
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I am also hardly an armchair quarterback. I have several times referred to my own experiences and mistakes related to this subject. I put my own life where my mouth is on this topic. My objective is to simply communicate what I have learned while "looking thru the straw".
I understand, and I very much appreciate your sharing of your experience. I have learned a great deal from both of you, and your work has been instrumental in helping my better half in her march to "see the light..." However, the term armchair quarterback refers to a spectator in an event, regardless of how experienced that spectator is. I think it's important that we discuss the near misses, because I for one hope to learn as much as I can from other's mistakes so that I can augment my own. But when we're doing so, we are all armchair quarterbacking.

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Originally Posted by estarzinger View Post
I think the resistance is to the idea that people shouldn't carry safetyequipment 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).

No, in fact I has said several times I am NOT saying that. I have clearly said I strongly believe in carrying safety equipment like tolls and repair materials, and fire extinguishers and first aid kits, etc. I have said that if you are carrying any sort of comms equipment (sat phone or ssb) you should also carry an epirb because you will in all likelihood call for help and you owe the rescue service the best possible location beacon. I have said I am ambivalent about rafts, because they are generally shitty devices that function poorly and many people have been killed using them when they might have stayed alive on the vessel - but they have also obviously saved some cruisers lives.

Apologies to you then. I don't have any practical experience with life rafts, as my current cruising is limited to week (or less) long trips out to the islands, about 25 miles away. Perhaps I was reading more into your comments than were intended. Thank you for clarifying for those of us with somewhat questionable reading comprehension.
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Originally Posted by estarzinger View Post
I am quite aware that stuff happens. Its happened to me repeatedly. I still maintain that you have almost always failed at safety if you need the raft or epirb. If another vessel hits you, you have not kept a proper watch. If you have a fire, you have not properly maintained the boat and not properly deployed the fire extinguishers.
Most SCUBA diving accidents occur to divers with between 50 and 250 dives. Similar numbers exist for pilots. And for cops and firefighters (between 2-5 years on). It's because they've started to get comfortable, have had some close calls, and built up an inflated sense of security. I think this quote is largely responsible for the negative reaction you're getting. I may not be a super experienced cruiser, but I have enough life experience to know that this is patently not true. Ask Cabo John about the former. I try to keep the war stories to a minimum, but I can cite you multiple examples of vessel fires (and a whole lot more fires in general) that have absolutely nothing to do improper maintenance. And let's not even get started on fire extinguishers.

I think you hurt your credibility when you say things like this.

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Originally Posted by estarzinger View Post
I do agree that there are a very few circumstances that are beyond your control - a lightening strike for instance, although I am not aware of one at sea that has caused a sinking. Hitting a sunken but floating skipping container is another, as is a whale strike. I maintain in these situations 'safety' suggests you should be prepared and able to attempt to save the boat. But in a very few cases even the well prepared and trained and experienced will not be able to and then you will be glad that you have the raft and epirb.
But the question of the thread is do these these very few situations (and yes I agree they exist) offset the situations where people use the raft and epirb when they should not have and cause a worse problem (which also clearly and provably exist)? I have said (I think 7 times now in this thread) that I don't know and will not judge for others. I have made my own judgement and have put my life where my mouth is.
[/I]
Everyone's definition of emergency is different. We like to say things like "a fire isn't an emergency for us, it's our office" and other pithy stuff when we're training the new folks or stroking our egos. You keep saying that you don't judge people while you are judging them. It is your opinion that decisions made by others caused a "worse problem." We won't and can't know everything that went into those decisions. We can guess and apply our own experience, but in the end, we're making judgements. You can't declare someone else's action a mistake without judging it and them. So rather than insist that you don't judge, own it.
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Again, where do you see me in this thread ever judging other people's decisions. I have simply been trying to explain that rafts for instance have the potential to bite you in addition to their potential to save you. And that skippers should understand both.
Every time you claim someone's decision made their situation worse you are judging their decisions. It can be beneficial, and we all try to develop our own judgement by critiquing that of others. I'm not saying you're wrong in your judgement (let's face it, sometimes stupid is as stupid does), but it's still judgement. A rather circular argument, and I'm one of the biggest arbiters of the human stupidity quotient. Just ask me
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Finally I have been trying to suggest that people going cruising should plan and aim to take care of themselves and NOT depend on a 911 mindset (call for help and wait for the professionals to arrive) because #1 911 works rather less well in the open ocean than it does along a highway, #2 you will usually have a better and safer outcome if you self rescue than if you abandon, and #3 you will learn more and get more from sealife if you take the responsibility on yourself.
Amen brother! Amen! The 911 mindset is so pervasive in our society. Paint me orange and call me a hypocrite, but I'll own it gladly. Just because I shouldn't doesn't stop me from judging large swaths of the population and the decisions they make.

I thought that one of the big allures of cruising is the self reliance aspect. I have tow insurance (it's part of our insurance package), but @%!# if I'm ever going to use it. I still have a shred of pride, and I'll be a monkey's uncle if I'm going to sit in the bar and be the guy that had to be towed back in. Besides, if I had to be towed back in, I'd lose my righteous superiority to judge others...

JRM

-- and to get back on topic... Yes, I agree with you that the proliferation of safety/rescue communications gear has allowed people to feel a false sense of security and do things they wouldn't try without the net. We call them "enablers" because they enable people who shouldn't do something to try it, because they figure if they get in trouble they can always call the cavalry. So in the end, I guess we agree, even if we take a different path to get there.
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Old 23-04-2011, 09:56   #215
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Re: How Many EPIRBS and Liferafts ever Save Lives ?

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Originally Posted by callmecrazy View Post
It is not a "fact" that having rescue equipment negatively affects a persons decision making process.

Well you have added the "negatively". I never said that. I do however believe that a significant number of potential and new cruisers mistakenly lean on their raft and epirb as a crutch and do slight other more important areas of safety because of these crutches. But we agree there is just no data to prove how big an effect that is. I will add however that because of our position in the cruising community that we see and talk to more new and potential cruisers than most.

a vast majority of boaters who do indeed take proper precautions and consistently make the right decisions at the right time, even though they own rescue equipment!...

Well, in fact, the vast majority of those 12mm register vessels DO NOT have epirbs and life rafts.

To willingly do without an added level of security (when you are given the choice) can do nothing but decrease your chances of survival. It is indeed arrogance. And to suggest that other people follow that example is even worse IMO.

First: hmmm . . . arrogance . . . no I don't think so. And you don't know me and I don't think you should make that suggestion. You should apologize. I have the very greatest and humblest respect for the sea and a very clear and explicit understanding of my own limitations.

Second: I have NEVER suggested others follow my fit out. I have said that several times in this thread. It's each skippers decision.

Third: we will strongly disagree with your statement "can do nothing but decrease your chances of survival". I clearly believe otherwise. AND I have said that the ability to be rescued is not the be all and end all objective of at least my life. We choose to do risky things in an anarchistic sport.

Look at this chart.

I know the USCG data in detail. It has basically nothing to do with the topic at hand. If you know anything at all about this data you will know that it is 99% driven by fishermen in small open power boats. Virtually none have rafts and very few epribs.
I obviously have not been very successful at communicating because you and others keep putting words in my mouth that I have not said and don't intend. Let me just repeat the end of my last post. This is what I have in fact said and intended - and I don't believe it demonstrates arrogance.


I have also been trying to suggest that you don't and can't buy 'safety' by going to the store and getting a raft and an epirb. Safety is primarily much more fundamental than that - most sinking's are due to poorly maintained thru-hulls and stuffing boxes. Most fires are do to poorly maintained electrical systems. And that most rescues (of cruisers) at sea are caused by panic and could be prevented by working to expand the straw. Safety is fundamentally in addressing those sorts of issues and NOT going to the store and buying 'safety gear'.

Finally I have been trying to suggest that people going cruising should plan and aim to take care of themselves and NOT depend on a 911 mindset (call for help and wait for the professionals to arrive) because #1 911 works rather less well in the open ocean than it does along a highway, #2 you will usually have a better and safer outcome if you self rescue than if you abandon, and #3 you will learn more and get more from sealife if you take the responsibility on yourself.
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Old 23-04-2011, 10:13   #216
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Re: How Many EPIRBS and Liferafts ever Save Lives ?

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Yes, I agree with you that the proliferation of safety/rescue communications gear has allowed people to feel a false sense of security and do things they wouldn't try without the net. We call them "enablers" because they enable people who shouldn't do something to try it, because they figure if they get in trouble they can always call the cavalry. So in the end, I guess we agree, even if we take a different path to get there.
Terrific. We can agree on that.

but I can cite you multiple examples of vessel fires (and a whole lot more fires in general) that have absolutely nothing to do improper maintenance.

Please give me a few short examples. I would like to understand them for my own benefit. I can understand lightening and I can understand fires that jump from another poorly maintained boat or dock. But please give me some direction on fires that start on board the vessel in question - which could not have been prevented by complete maintenance and inspection and could not be put out by proper extinguisher systems? I am always eager to learn from those with broad and professional experience and training.

I should note that professionally I have some experience with QA in jet engine building and maintenance (at GE). I know what results can be accomplished to prevent and avoid 'safety' issues when you put the effort in.


As to judging - using your definition I agree with you. My intent is to 'judge' the situation and not 'judge' the people. The only person I judge is myself. I 'judge' the situation and event to learn what I might have done in that situation and event. I understand and appreciate that the people did their best.
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Old 23-04-2011, 12:09   #217
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Re: How Many EPIRBS and Liferafts ever Save Lives ?

It is not a "fact" that having rescue equipment negatively affects a persons decision making process.

Well you have added the "negatively". I never said that. I do however believe that a significant number of potential and new cruisers mistakenly lean on their raft and epirb as a crutch and do slight other more important areas of safety because of these crutches. But we agree there is just no data to prove how big an effect that is. I will add however that because of our position in the cruising community that we see and talk to more new and potential cruisers than most.


I did add "negatively" because even though you are choosing your words wisely to not say it directly, this has been the basis of your argument since the beginning.

a vast majority of boaters who do indeed take proper precautions and consistently make the right decisions at the right time, even though they own rescue equipment!...

Well, in fact, the vast majority of those 12mm register vessels DO NOT have epirbs and life rafts.


No but they do have the ability to call for help. The point you are making is this ability alone causes people to choose the help over proper precautions and self-rescue. I can't help but to believe that out of 12 million boats and only 4000 rescues, the majority of people are making the right decisions when it counts, despite their ability to "call 911" (whether its a radio or epirb is irrelevant in this example)

To willingly do without an added level of security (when you are given the choice) can do nothing but decrease your chances of survival. It is indeed arrogance. And to suggest that other people follow that example is even worse IMO.

First: hmmm . . . arrogance . . . no I don't think so. And you don't know me and I don't think you should make that suggestion. You should apologize. I have the very greatest and humblest respect for the sea and a very clear and explicit understanding of my own limitations.

Second: I have NEVER suggested others follow my fit out. I have said that several times in this thread. It's each skippers decision.

Third: we will strongly disagree with your statement "can do nothing but decrease your chances of survival". I clearly believe otherwise. AND I have said that the ability to be rescued is not the be all and end all objective of at least my life. We choose to do risky things in an anarchistic sport.


I believe it is indeed arrogant for anyone to think they can predict and prepare for every possible situation without ever needing assistance. Thats my opinion and I would apply it to anybody, its not a personal attack against you, it's just that you are the one making this statement...

As for the actual point at hand, that having rescue gear decreases the chance for survival, We can agree to disagree on this point, but as long as you are willing to reiterate your opinion, I'll reiterate mine

Look at this chart.

I know the USCG data in detail. It has basically nothing to do with the topic at hand. If you know anything at all about this data you will know that it is 99% driven by fishermen in small open power boats. Virtually none have rafts and very few epribs.

No fishermen carry epirbs? ... What the data shows is that lives are not being lost as a result of calling for help. They are being saved. The greater numbers of lives lost are the ones that did not call for help in time (or at all). The data shows that with the exponential increase of boats on the water, and a relatively consistent number of rescue attempts, the advent and increased use of rescue equipment over the years, as a general rule, has resulted in a dramatic decrease in loss of life. Despite the increase in general stupidity and lack of seamanship.

I obviously have not been very successful at communicating because you and others keep putting words in my mouth that I have not said and don't intend. Let me just repeat the end of my last post. This is what I have in fact said and intended - and I don't believe it demonstrates arrogance.

I hope I'm not putting words in your mouth, but maybe I am reading between the lines... I think your points are clear, and nit-picking precise wording doesn't change anything. I do actually respect you as a sailor and I agree with 99% of what you're saying. But I think this 1% is a significant point that requires a broader perspective to be made available.

I have also been trying to suggest that you don't and can't buy 'safety' by going to the store and getting a raft and an epirb. Safety is primarily much more fundamental than that - most sinking's are due to poorly maintained thru-hulls and stuffing boxes. Most fires are do to poorly maintained electrical systems. And that most rescues (of cruisers) at sea are caused by panic and could be prevented by working to expand the straw. Safety is fundamentally in addressing those sorts of issues and NOT going to the store and buying 'safety gear'.

Finally I have been trying to suggest that people going cruising should plan and aim to take care of themselves and NOT depend on a 911 mindset (call for help and wait for the professionals to arrive) because #1 911 works rather less well in the open ocean than it does along a highway, #2 you will usually have a better and safer outcome if you self rescue than if you abandon, and #3 you will learn more and get more from sealife if you take the responsibility on yourself.

I think everybody agrees with you on this. The only part I disagree with is that those rescues at sea, are no indication of how many rescues were avoided by proper seamanship, DESPITE the availability of rescue equipment on board. I'm only suggesting that there is a significant number of people who follow this advice and still choose to carry a liferaft. If they loose their boat at sea (for whatever reason), they will have a chance at being rescued. Without the option, they will die.
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Old 23-04-2011, 12:15   #218
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Re: How Many EPIRBS and Liferafts ever Save Lives ?

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I believe it is indeed arrogant for anyone to think they can predict and prepare for every possible situation without ever needing assistance..
Again I have NEVER said that. We are getting no-where. You are still putting words in my mouth that I have not said and do not intend.

My argument may be too nuanced and subtle for Internet discussion - where many people want you to be 'for or against' and 'black or white'.

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What the data shows is that lives are not being lost as a result of calling for help. They are being saved. The greater numbers of lives lost are the ones that did not call for help in time (or at all). The data shows that with the exponential increase of boats on the water, and a relatively consistent number of rescue attempts, the advent and increased use of rescue equipment over the years, as a general rule, has resulted in a dramatic decrease in loss of life...
No, I don't believe that's what this data shows. You are the one mixing cause with correlation. First there is unfortunately no way to make a 'controlled scientific experiment' from this data to be able to draw that sort of conclusion. Second we are talking about cruising with epirbs and rafts, which have an offshore implication, which is a quite different environment than small fishing boats in inshore waters. Third if you looked at this data with correct statistical analysis . . . there is no statistical trend in lives saved vs lost at any meaningful confidence interval

I don't think much can be made of this data, but just to suggest an alternative conclusion: it's that people die relatively quickly in these incidents. (are you going to call for help before your collision or your MOB??) To push that conclusion one step further - perhaps you need to respond immediately with your on board resources to work to save lives.

------
Just as an aside....on the BBC today:

A 73-year-old grandmother who was dropped into freezing Arctic waters during botched rescue attempt has died, British media reported Saturday.
Janet Richardson died Saturday at Cumberland Infirmary in Carlisle, England. Richardson had been fighting for her life in the British hospital after rescuers dropped her into freezing Arctic waters as they attempted to transfer her from a cruise ship to a lifeboat. Grandma dropped in Arctic in botched rescue dies - Travel - News - msnbc.com
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Old 23-04-2011, 12:52   #219
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Re: How Many EPIRBS and Liferafts ever Save Lives ?

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------
Just as an aside....on the BBC today:

A 73-year-old grandmother who was dropped into freezing Arctic waters during botched rescue attempt has died, British media reported Saturday.
Janet Richardson died Saturday at Cumberland Infirmary in Carlisle, England. Richardson had been fighting for her life in the British hospital after rescuers dropped her into freezing Arctic waters as they attempted to transfer her from a cruise ship to a lifeboat. Grandma dropped in Arctic in botched rescue dies - Travel - News - msnbc.com
I fail to see any mention of either EPIRBs or liferafts (let alone maintenence or lack therof of thru hulls, wiring, etc) in Evan's quoted story. Guys, perhaps it is time to give it a rest?
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Old 23-04-2011, 12:53   #220
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Re: How Many EPIRBS and Liferafts ever Save Lives ?

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Again I have NEVER said that. We are getting no-where. You are still putting words in my mouth that I have not said and do not intend.
Just to be extra clear . . . In fact I have said the exact opposite of the words you are putting in my mouth. I have said that there are certainly (rare) situations where you cannot avoid abandoning and where rafts and epirbs will certainly save lives.
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Old 23-04-2011, 13:13   #221
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Re: How Many EPIRBS and Liferafts ever Save Lives ?

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Originally Posted by AK_sailor View Post
I fail to see any mention of either EPIRBs or liferafts (let alone maintenence or lack therof of thru hulls, wiring, etc) in Evan's quoted story. Guys, perhaps it is time to give it a rest?
The point of including that story was that '**** can happen during rescues at sea'. They can have bad outcomes.

I tried to give it a rest but could not control myself. I truly and deeply believe the 911/rescue mindset is bad for the cruising community and bad for the individual cruiser.

I don't care if others carry rafts or not (And as I have said I do think they should carry an epirb if they have any other sort of offshore comms capability). But I hope to convince them not to use the raft and epirb as a crutch and to understand they are VERY seductive in times of emergency. I do hope to convince them they are better off in all regards (safety and the rewards from the cruising life) if they put the 911 mentality aside and aim to be self-sufficient.

I may fail again, but I will try harder to resist responding
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Old 23-04-2011, 14:21   #222
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Re: How Many EPIRBS and Liferafts ever Save Lives ?

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Originally Posted by callmecrazy View Post
I believe it is indeed arrogant for anyone to think they can predict and prepare for every possible situation without ever needing assistance. .
I never said this. But I have said:

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Originally Posted by estarzinger View Post
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.
and


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Originally Posted by estarzinger View Post
I have said that there are certainly (rare) situations where you cannot avoid abandoning and where rafts and epirbs will certainly save lives.

I think it may be useful to explain how the above two statements can co-exist. It may be too subtle to explain in the forum post format and I am obviously not so good at this explaining, but I will try as I think there are two important points.


First: "No plan survives first contact with the enemy" (Clausewitz). What this means is that we three (callmecrazy, Evans and Clausewitz) all agree that one can not anticipate and prepare for every possible situation. The only certainty is that the unexpected will happen. But Clausewitz and I, at least, believe that does not means you have to lose. We believe that means you can win even in the face of the unanticipated, but it is essential to be ready for the unexpected. . . to be flexible in your decision making and to hold reserves back, to not be thrown off stride, not to panic, when the unanticipated happens.

Second, sometimes (fortunately very rarely) on our cruising boats we will lose, no matter how flexible we are, no matter how much reserve we have held back. But we will lose because of the safety trade-offs and decisions we have made. We have decided NOT to have hulls of 20mm steel. We have decided not to have multiple watertight bulkheads. We have decided not to carry independent large capacity crash pumps. We have decided not to have 7x24 commercial grade radar and sonar. We have decided not to go to medical school nor to carry a full surgical kit. These are probably the right trade-offs for us to move forward with our cruising. The end result is still a safety fail if we have to be rescued. . . but that does not mean in the bigger life picture you made the wrong decision. The point is that if your ultimate objective is to be safe perhaps you should stay home. But if you do stay home you will have missed a life changing opportunity.
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Old 23-04-2011, 14:44   #223
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pirate Re: How Many EPIRBS and Liferafts ever Save Lives ?

Successful rescues.... with or without life-raft/EPIRB... we will never know..
Just like we will never know how many call-outs were because someone forgot to top up their fuel tanks before going fishing in the whaler... or a joyride on a jet-bike... or just missed the tide and can't make their train/plane without calling a phony emergency to get towed in....
If a EPIRB/Life-raft makes you feel safer go for it....
if it does not then spend the money on something that does...
But asking an un-answerable question (except by the manufacturers) is gonna get you nowhere...
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Old 23-04-2011, 16:02   #224
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Re: How Many EPIRBS and Liferafts ever Save Lives ?

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Originally Posted by estarzinger View Post
My argument may be too nuanced and subtle for Internet discussion - where many people want you to be 'for or against' and 'black or white'.
Sorry Evans, wrong again, it's not just the internet that is that way, it's all of life.

Count youself lucky you are getting thru to some people.

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Old 24-04-2011, 05:37   #225
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Re: How Many EPIRBS and Liferafts ever Save Lives ?

This discussion about life-rafts and epirbs reminds me of a story about yacht insurance:

Some time ago in an another forum, a cruiser was complaining about his inability to secure insurance for a planned trans-Atlantic passage -- the insurance company didn't think he had enough experience. "How much experience do they want you to have?" he lamented. And here was the answer that came from another, insurance-savvy, poster: They want you to have enough experience that you would be comfortable taking your boat across the Atlantic without insurance.

Unlike insurance companies, however, the purveyors of liferafts and epirbs don't evaluate the qualifications of purchasers (beyond their credit limit).

But we sailors can ask ourselves the insurer's question: What have I done to prepare my boat and myself to ensure that my liferaft and epirb truly are my very last resort?

FWIW, I do not believe it is arrogance to have sufficient confidence in one's own boat, seamanship and problem-solving capabilities that one is willing to contemplate the possibility of putting to sea without taking a liferaft or epirb, understanding that there could still be some emergencies (of very small probability) that one might not be able to save oneself from.
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