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Old 27-04-2011, 12:09   #271
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Re: How Many EPIRBS and Liferafts Ever Save Lives ?

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The level of an "emergency" is kinda relative. If I had an important job to return to, (like I do have). And I required that job for my direct and imediate support, (again like I do), and if hundreds of others relied on me to show up and perform that job, (again). Then drifting for weeks trying to fashion a makeshift rudder may not be a viable alternative. I make resonable efforts to insure the boat is functional before I leave, and I am prepaired and can affect reasonable repairs. But I run on too tight a schedule to allow for extensive delays even if not immediately life threatening. And can you insure the makeshift rudder will not subject the baot and crew to greater danger??

I recently read about a guy who got out over his head, and after losing rigging and about to drift from an inland river to under a bridge to open sea, (where he may have had to wait weeks for a rescue), decided to call for help clinging to the bridge. He was in a difficult situation, not imediately life threatening, but about to become significantly more dangerous. The biggest complaint I hear from rescuers is that often people wait until it is almost too late to call turning a routine pickup into a more dangerous rescue for both the victims, and the rescuers. Any rescuer I know would rather pickup a guy clinging to a bridge than scour the open sea in bad weather for hours, ...days, ...looking for a guy who didn't have the sense to call as soon as he realized he was in trouble.

If I'm coastal sailing, and something major goes wrong that will prevent me from returning to work on monday, whether the boat is still floating or not, I'm going to call for help. This spending months on a deserted island distilling tree sap to reconstruct a cracked hull may work for some people, but not for me. (maybe when I retire).
Great points...I am often critisized for my views on setting off an EPIRB prematurely or calling mayday without grave danger.

That's because my critics have never been awakened out of a sound sleep at 3:00 AM and been forced to fly in crappy, dangerous weather to find someone who is overdue due to engine failure and now after waiting 6-10 hours, facing turbulent thunderstorms.

I would have much rathered launched just after a nice peaceful dinne....r in the clear and daylight and vectored in assistance at that point.

Dying or killing my crew over someone's engine problems was never high on my priority or "to do" list.
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Old 27-04-2011, 12:57   #272
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Re: How Many EPIRBS and Liferafts Ever Save Lives ?

"I have personally witnessed a fire that started by a crumpled wrapper in a flybridge sink (think magnifying glass and paper)"
How did you witness it if no one was aboard? What kind of wrapper was this?? And what played the role of the magnifying glass? Starting a fire with conventional window glazing isn't easy.
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Old 27-04-2011, 13:05   #273
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Re: How Many EPIRBS and Liferafts Ever Save Lives ?

Bill, it is interesting to hear that SPOT is not robust. Was this the original, or the newer model, or across both? Is there any indication of what fails, i.e. cold soldering joints from cheap sourcing, versus component failures?

One also has to wonder, if PLBs and EPIRBs would have the same failure rate if they were used on a daily basis in the same way.

Like the ACR model that showed an "OK" test light when it in fact never was transmitting, but since the test light wasn't actually listening for radio output...no one knew there was a problem for some time.
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Old 27-04-2011, 13:13   #274
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Re: How Many EPIRBS and Liferafts Ever Save Lives ?

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Great points...I am often critisized for my views on setting off an EPIRB prematurely or calling mayday without grave danger.
Its worth pointing out that all rescuers I know express the same view, contact early not late. DO not let a situation escalate.

Again to return to Evans issues, The fundemental fact is that it is irelevant that there maybe a statistically numerical important group, for who the existence of common safety equiopment leads to complacency. At least for them the rescue services will respond anyway.

For thoese people who find thenselves in a life threatening situation, these devices offer a chance to improve the odds of survival, thats all. But its better then having nothing

Hence if you can afford them, surely its irresponsible not to carry them.

I find the alternative argument mistifying, because Evans, whats your conclusion, If there is widespread complacency, whats next, control these devices, compulsory training, SAR billing?. Many EU countries have some or all of these approaches, is it better, who knows.

As to the "group" trrying to live outside gov-n-mint control ( can two people be called a group!), well best of luck to your dellusions. to equate not having modern safety gear means you have escaped "civilisation"... please

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Old 27-04-2011, 13:13   #275
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Re: How Many EPIRBS and Liferafts Ever Save Lives ?

This all reminds me of two areas where increased potential safety meant more problems instead.

The first being ABS braking systems in cars, and stability control systems. There's no doubt they work and work well when used as intended, but every survey has shown that they actually seem to increase collision problems because the ordinary driver (who at least in the US, really shouldn't be on the road at all and often hasn't actually passed a license exam) thinks they'll perform miracles, and continues to get in over their head. As they say with 4WD vehicles, the better your drive system, the further off the road you will get before you DO get stuck anyway.

And then there's the sport of SCUBA, where for many years NASDS (no longer existing) was the last certifier to insist on "panic training" aka "harassment day" as a part of their training. Near the end of the training, you were told to get in the water, and stay in the water, while the staff tried to panic you and get you out of the water.

The idea was that IF you could panic, you shouldn't be certified and allowed to go out diving, and it would be safer to find that out in the controlled situation in the pool. Of course some folks did panic and some complications occur when folks panic underwater and apparently this is one reason NASDS shut down. OTOH, the folks who passed NASDS training started with an extra edge. (No, I haven't seen any numbers comparing open water incidents, no one followed up on that.) Divers often still are injured, or die, from panic. And studies have since shown that 'buddy teams' are an illusion of safety, once one buddy gets in trouble, they usually kill the other diver as well.

Safety training, safety equipment, and licensing or perhaps simply banning risky behavior like recreaional sailing (ahem!) are all separate topics, even if they have some things in common. You need a license to drive a car...but not to make a baby?

"Mister Spock, if you are looking for logic, I suggest you are on the wrong planet!"
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Old 27-04-2011, 13:18   #276
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Re: How Many EPIRBS and Liferafts Ever Save Lives ?

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Originally Posted by hellosailor View Post
Bill, it is interesting to hear that SPOT is not robust. Was this the original, or the newer model, or across both? Is there any indication of what fails, i.e. cold soldering joints from cheap sourcing, versus component failures?

One also has to wonder, if PLBs and EPIRBs would have the same failure rate if they were used on a daily basis in the same way.

Like the ACR model that showed an "OK" test light when it in fact never was transmitting, but since the test light wasn't actually listening for radio output...no one knew there was a problem for some time.
What's important, SPOT is it's NOT certified by Cospas-Sarsat. It's like calling Brinks security system or the police directly....I know my choice....especially because the Cospas-Sarsat PLB/EPIRB system is over 95% effective.

And who care about daily use???? If you need spot to communicate daily...every day there are new and better ways....I would NEVER substitute SPOT for a PLB/EPIRB.
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Old 27-04-2011, 13:21   #277
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Re: How Many EPIRBS and Liferafts Ever Save Lives ?

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his all reminds me of two areas where increased potential safety meant more problems instead.
The problem with that whole argument is that it arrives at no conclusion. If as you say then we wouldnt fit ABS or stability control. Yet we do for a host of reasons. I worked on ABS, It is an aid to driving thats all.

Equally sea based safety equiopment is an aid to help you survive a potentially un-survivable situation. Can it be used trivially of course. But this isnt relevant. worldwide SAR and associated equipment primarily exists to support commercial sea activity. we as pleasure sailor benefit and we should be thankful and where possible seek to carry the most appropriate equiopment.

This argument directly leads to competency training. For example the US has no VHF exam for leisure users, this is generating much confusion about DSC and its use and is leading to mis-use of a vital safety infrastructure. Hence -> training or remove teh equipment from the market.

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Old 27-04-2011, 13:25   #278
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Re: How Many EPIRBS and Liferafts Ever Save Lives ?

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Safety training, safety equipment, and licensing or perhaps simply banning risky behavior like recreaional sailing (ahem!) are all separate topics, even if they have some things in common. You need a license to drive a car...but not to make a baby?

"Mister Spock, if you are looking for logic, I suggest you are on the wrong planet!"
I don't disagree...unfortunately or fortunately many governments require a minimum of safety training/equipment.... whether appropriate or not. In the US, many if not all states require some sort of boating safety training to boat in their waters.

While I don't think the safety training is anywhere near adequate...at least mandating a certificate gives the state something to take aay from those that abuse their priveleges/
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Old 27-04-2011, 16:38   #279
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Re: How Many EPIRBS and Liferafts Ever Save Lives ?

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Bill, it is interesting to hear that SPOT is not robust. Was this the original, or the newer model, or across both? Is there any indication of what fails, i.e. cold soldering joints from cheap sourcing, versus component failures?

One also has to wonder, if PLBs and EPIRBs would have the same failure rate if they were used on a daily basis in the same way.

Like the ACR model that showed an "OK" test light when it in fact never was transmitting, but since the test light wasn't actually listening for radio output...no one knew there was a problem for some time.
The SPOT I had fail was an original. It looks like a moisture issue since when it got to factory it was fine... DOH! My best guess is that like the Garmin 7* series of handheld GPS devices it is the battery door. After my first GPS died I started smearing a thin layer of dielectric grease on the battery cover of the GPS and they are now bullet proof. The SPOT batteries are user replaced and during a long race with tracking on only last 5-6 days. When they are changed it is not a climate controlled environment and it appears that moisture may enter. Not sure as a full autopsy was not done.

The PLB was an ACR device that was lost overboard with my PFD (doubled back but did not find it, so I bought another PFD and trusted my life to a SPOT ). The PLB was found by Cedar Key PD 2 weeks later, when I took it to the factory for a check-up- the darn thing passed all tests. Did the one that failed go back for a battery replacement and recert?

On a different aspect of this thread. I am confused.... DEEPLY confused. PLBs and EPIRBS are the rescue device of last resort. I have always felt that despite having a responsible job- yadda yaddda- flipping the switch on the PLB meant I had failed to plan to take care of myself. Or had such a major medical event, i.e. arterial bleeding or heart attack, that I need help ASAP.

If one has a broken rudder, runs out of gas, whatever and the boat is sound otherwise- why would you mobilize a full on rescue??? It would seem that a towing service is a more appropriate response. If one is coastal cruising, why not call? Perhaps it is my lack of large boat experience. But the last thing I want is to have a rescue swimmer drop down for me to tell him I need a ride... he may make it into a medi-vac!

Bill
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Old 27-04-2011, 16:58   #280
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Re: How Many EPIRBS and Liferafts Ever Save Lives ?

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On a different aspect of this thread. I am confused.... DEEPLY confused. PLBs and EPIRBS are the rescue device of last resort. I have always felt that despite having a responsible job- yadda yaddda- flipping the switch on the PLB meant I had failed to plan to take care of myself. Or had such a major medical event, i.e. arterial bleeding or heart attack, that I need help ASAP.
I dont beleive that anyone is suggesting that the use of PLbs or EPIRBS should be trivialised or routine. Equally setting one off does not mean you have " failed". It may mean that you are acting in the best interests of your self and those around you in the circumstances you are experiencing. It should mean that you have taken a responsible "command" decision. All rescue services advise against a "macho" I can survive attitude, which can potentially degrade a simple situation into a life threatening one.

Also we have no facts to suggest that such devices are being used carelessly.

Hence we arrive at the conclusion that such devices are a genuine aid to rescue, but they like lots of things dont provide the "solution" to poor seamanship or careless actions.

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Old 27-04-2011, 17:00   #281
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Re: How Many EPIRBS and Liferafts Ever Save Lives ?

for what it is worth-- i do not COUNT on spot as rescue device.. is for my mommy to know where her baby was lost and mebbe she can know where to place the flowers.

i am a reynauds disease sufferer-- any immersion in cold water is fatal, no matter how long that immersion may be. my inflataBLE IS FOR THE CREW--Has a very nice waterpruf cover and other things may be nice for the crew. i will not be using it in extreme situations, as is f or the crew. thankyou. i donot care to be rescued--i am not a hospitalization candidate--i have survived with reynauds disease longer than many i have known. there will be no charge for my rescue, s there will be none.


thankyou for your concern, but the words are moot, as is the point.
i am not stupid nor iggurunt,nor am i reckless-- and i donot find epirb nor liferaft important to me. is for crew-- bring yours for epirb. you want a raft-- might suggest to bring that too, or sail on someone else's boat. i donot plan on running out of fuel and not being able to sail into a port..LOL... have seen many alleged sailboats being towed due to no fuel..LOL.. or broken engines or clogged fuel filters.....

planning ahead is important in sailing--- thankyou for that--i plan to be as safe as possible, yet i refuse to call for aid unless a crew is in need of same.
\ folks mention failure of spot-- what about the failures of epirbs, as uscg is searching many days of week in sd bay for those going off without any one on board????? i would think of this as more of a hazard than spot failure..LOL
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Old 27-04-2011, 17:05   #282
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Re: How Many EPIRBS and Liferafts Ever Save Lives ?

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I have always ..... flipping the switch on the PLB meant I had failed to plan to take care of myself. Or had such a major medical event, i.e. arterial bleeding or heart attack, that I need help ASAP.
Pushing the button is not an admission of failure, it is an indication to outsiders that you believe that you are in a situation that puts your life or someone else's at risk and that you believe the situation is or is likely to become beyond your ability to deal with.

Assessments of how rooted in reality your beliefs are will come after the fact and may indicate they were very realistic.
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Old 27-04-2011, 17:06   #283
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Re: How Many EPIRBS and Liferafts Ever Save Lives ?

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i am not stupid nor iggurunt, and i donot find epirb nor liferaft important to me. is for crew-- bring yours for epirb. you want a raft-- might suggest to bring that too, or sail on someone else's boat. i
This is a somewhat callous statement Zeehag, it may be that you have a death wish, but surely you would provide properly for a crew that dont.

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Old 27-04-2011, 17:08   #284
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Re: How Many EPIRBS and Liferafts Ever Save Lives ?

"flipping the switch on the PLB meant I had failed to plan to take care of myself. "
And what's wrong with that? You can only plan so much, the only quesiton is did you plan reasonably.

Consider that there's you, and then there's the sea. Doesn't matter how experienced you are or how many professional planners have worked with you, as they say in the Navy, "**** happens". Or the Yiddish variant on that, "Man plans, God laughs."

Dorothy was a good girl, go figure the tornado would sweep down and take her and Toto right out of Kansas! So, you hit the button, that's what it is there for, and that's the job all those SAR folks have *chosen* as a career. And yes, I agree with you, it is terribly bad form to call them out without a Damned Good Reason.

There's a difference between "Oh, look at that, I broke a nail, I'd better hit the button" and "Where's my boat, and why does that giant narwhal look so pissed off at that squid?!"

You can bet that if I ever have to hit that button, and the gizmo it is attached to doesn't work, the folks who made it are gonna have some 'splaining to do!
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Old 27-04-2011, 17:29   #285
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pirate Re: How Many EPIRBS and Liferafts Ever Save Lives ?

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As to the "group" trrying to live outside gov-n-mint control ( can two people be called a group!), well best of luck to your dellusions. to equate not having modern safety gear means you have escaped "civilisation"... please Dave
Purleeezzzzz..... Dave....
Pity your so intent on beating folks over the head with your views you cant see another point of view... who's trying to escape civilisation...??
Some of us just don't want to be dictated to by folks who think they know better...
I have my survival system worked out just fine thank you... but 90% is relying on myself to get outa the ****... the other 10% is calling for help if I cannot...
Example... a holed Catalac... both hulls ankle deep over the sole... if you know the boats thats a lot of water... unlike the 'Bendi Toys' and other modern dishpan mono's... and the Spanish lifeboat came out and stood by after my "Pan Pan".... note... not "Mayday"... the boat was still afloat and able to make way...
but having crew on board I did the responsible thing... solo I may not have bothered...
we got the boat in safely with them guiding me through the Tunny nets that make the entry into Barbette (Straits of Gibraltar Approaches) a bit tricky... especially on a dark night in a F8 with big seas....
You advocate calling for help 90% and 10% for sorting out your own ****... presumably on a flat calm day with your anchor down...
I've also had RN survival training and Commercial Survival at Sea training with the tickets to prove it.... so my decisions about 'How to Survive at Sea' are not ignorant un-informed shooting off at the mouth... or talking outa my arse...
Its based on a lot of years and a lot of miles on the water in boats from Destroyers around the Oceans down to 21ftrs across the Biscay mid December..
I have never said 'Don't use safety equipment'... just that I choose not to use what you and many others believe is indispensable....
What I object to is possibly being forced to buy and carry things I do not have confidence in because of other peoples shortcomings/lack of confidence...
You may be a YM and highly skilled... I don't know...
What I do know is I've come across a lot of 'YM's' who should not be trusted with the Chain Ferry across Poole entrance...
Have a nice day.....
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