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Old 28-04-2011, 19:54   #301
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Re: How Many EPIRBS and Liferafts ever Save Lives ?

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Funny enough my first dinghy for MY 1st boat was the inner tube of a truck tyre... sure I had a wet ass but my knapsack stayed dry....
your ass is still talking thats the main thing with your life raft common sense and the will to survive
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Old 28-04-2011, 20:09   #302
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pirate Re: How Many EPIRBS and Liferafts ever Save Lives ?

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your ass is still talking thats the main thing with your life raft common sense and the will to survive
ROLF.... and emergency food was Hienz Baked Beans.... that way I didn't need sails or an outboard motor.....
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Old 28-04-2011, 23:17   #303
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Re: How Many EPIRBS and Liferafts Ever Save Lives ?

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"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.
Here we go...

Take a deep breath. As my thesis professor used to say, "If it did happen it can happen." It's hard to explain, but the amount of just outright astounding stuff we see on a regular basis is, well, astounding. I'm regularly told by smart people that the stuff I've seen with my own eyes isn't possible. But what is reality anyway?

I didn't witness the ignition, nor combustion. What I saw was an incongruously large amount of shrivelled up black burned stuff that the cause investigator called a "wrapper" (dunno, empty chip bag? paper?) sitting in a stainless sink in a boat full of hazy smoke. The sink was up in the flybridge, which was fully enclosed in clear plastic. The boat was locked, the flybridge secured from within, and the owner was 500 miles away and hadn't been aboard in a month. I was the first person aboard, although we went down initially as I figured from the haze it would likely be down in the mechanical space. I didn't discover the stuff, but I did go check it out, because I didn't really believe it either.

I personally went through the boat with a thermal imager, and found no significant source of heat. Nor any other evidence of char or even singe. I believe the cause investigator officially went with "undetermined", and with "refuse" as material first ignited. It was the harbor patrol officer who postulated that the sink refraction was the source. He had seen another instance of the same. I have no reason to doubt him, and no better hypothesis.

As with so much of this stuff, I probably wouldn't believe it if I hadn't seen it. If you want to call it "spontaneous combustion" then feel free. All I know for sure is that some dude left trash in his sink, and it caught fire. Since you seem to be an expert in refraction ignition, you can explain it.

That's why I think it's so disingenuous to say that if someone's boat catches fire it's due to a lack of maintenance or inspection. It's the "it can't happen to me because I'm too careful" attitude. Another side of the same coin is that "it happened to them because they #@$@ed up, and it won't happen to me because I won't make that mistake." If that's what someone has to tell themselves to beat back the fear then so be it. Personally, I'd rather go out from a mindset of managed risk rather than blind faith in my own infallibility.

There is no such thing as absolutely safe, nor any magic item that can make it so. Anyone who says otherwise is selling something.

JRM
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Old 29-04-2011, 01:22   #304
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Re: How Many EPIRBS and Liferafts Ever Save Lives ?

Most of us have to trade one item on the wish list against another. EPIRB and Liferaft can be a luxury, having an electric bilge pump with an alarm can be too. Some of us manage with a bucket so we can get a boat without quite so much rot in it.
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Old 29-04-2011, 04:33   #305
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Re: How Many EPIRBS and Liferafts Ever Save Lives ?

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... It's hard to explain, but the amount of just outright astounding stuff we see on a regular basis is, well, astounding. I'm regularly told by smart people that the stuff I've seen with my own eyes isn't possible. But what is reality anyway?
I didn't witness the ignition, nor combustion ...
Reality is the state of things as they actually exist, rather than as they may appear or may be thought to be, whether or not it is observable or comprehensible.

In your anecdote, reality consists of 2 relevant findings:
- some shriveled up black burned stuff, in a stainless sink in the enclosed flybridge
- a boat full of hazy smoke

These facts may or may not be related; but you've certainly not demonstrated any direct causal relationship.
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Old 29-04-2011, 10:06   #306
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Re: How Many EPIRBS and Liferafts Ever Save Lives ?

Sorry Gord, the stainless sink is a parabola. ANY sunlight will come to a focal point somewhere above the surface of the parabola. Any debris made of a flammable material, (including some metals), will eventually reach its combustion point, and burn.

You don't need to be a rocket scientist to figger if the house is flooded and it was below freezing last night ,that a pipe froze and burst. You only need to be aware of the principles involved to conclude a cuasality.
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Old 29-04-2011, 10:14   #307
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Re: How Many EPIRBS and Liferafts Ever Save Lives ?

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Sorry Gord, the stainless sink is a parabola. ANY sunlight will come to a focal point somewhere above the surface of the parabola. Any debris made of a flammable material, (including some metals), will eventually reach its combustion point, and burn.

You don't need to be a rocket scientist to figger if the house is flooded and it was below freezing last night ,that a pipe froze and burst. You only need to be aware of the principles involved to conclude a cuasality.
When was the last time you saw a stainless sink on a boat that even closely resembled a mirrored surface (clean enough) with the capability of focusing light? Especially if the owner hadn't been there in a month?

I'd vote for kids smoking something up there long before i thought a stainless sink could produce a focused beam of light strong enough to ignite something...and who says it was a parabola shape????...that assumption is almost as big of a stretch.


After kids or an arsonist helping with insurance money...I'd vote for some kind of spontanteous combustion...who knows what chemicals are in several bags of snack foods nowadays???? Plus the heat of an enclosed bridge makes WAY more sense to me than focused light....try and start a fire with random focused mirrors....good luck..hope I'm still alive 30 years from now when the temp gets warm enough to make a grilled cheese sandwich...
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Old 29-04-2011, 10:54   #308
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Re: How Many EPIRBS and Liferafts Ever Save Lives ?

Repeating psneeld's objections:
I’ve never seen a parabolic sink. I also doubt the reflective quality of the sink’s surface.
Were it a highly reflective parabolic sink, receiving significant light through the flybridge enclosure; the light would be reflected (not refracted) to the focus point.
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Old 29-04-2011, 11:00   #309
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Re: How Many EPIRBS and Liferafts Ever Save Lives ?

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Sorry Gord, the stainless sink is a parabola. ANY sunlight will come to a focal point somewhere above the surface of the parabola. Any debris made of a flammable material, (including some metals), will eventually reach its combustion point, and burn.

You don't need to be a rocket scientist to figger if the house is flooded and it was below freezing last night ,that a pipe froze and burst. You only need to be aware of the principles involved to conclude a cuasality.
Actually...many organizations train accident investigators to a much higher degree...they ARE supposed to look beyond the obvious.

We have the media and internet forums to make huge conclusions based on the obvious and not the root cause.
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Old 29-04-2011, 11:06   #310
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Re: How Many EPIRBS and Liferafts Ever Save Lives ?

I could imagine a clear cellophane wrapper, crumpled just so, and located in a shaft of sunlight just so, could potentially focus that sunlight sufficiently to ignite (or least cause to smolder) another part of the wrapper or other combustible material. The sink doesn't necessarily have anything to do with it. You could say they were lucky that the combustible material was contained in the sink which may have prevented the fire from spreading further. Now we don't know that the wrapper was a piece of cellophane, but that was what came to my mind first.
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Old 29-04-2011, 11:11   #311
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Re: How Many EPIRBS and Liferafts Ever Save Lives ?

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I could imagine ...
... almost anything; but it wouldn't be evidential.
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Old 29-04-2011, 13:11   #312
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Re: How Many EPIRBS and Liferafts Ever Save Lives ?

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... almost anything; but it wouldn't be evidential.
All the evidence we have is that a charred something or other described as a "wrapper" was found in the sink. The question remains how did this come to be? Without more evidence, "We" can't determine exactly what the cause was, but we can hypothesize and perhaps rank those hypotheses on their general plausibility -- parabolic focussing of the sun's rays by the sink basin seems rather un-plausible (the sink is not the right shape, the metal not sufficiently polished, etc...); lensatic focussing of the sun's rays by a warped cellophane wrapper seems to me to be somewhat more plausible. The other hypotheses that have been put forward in the thread include spontaneous combustion presumably due to some sort of exothermic chemical reaction among the components of the trash in the sink (like what?), general overheating of the enclosed flybridge presumably due to passive solar gain (really?), vandals throwing their cigarette butts into the sink along with the trash (on what was presumably an otherwise locked boat?), and so on. What explanations would you propose?
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Old 29-04-2011, 14:08   #313
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Re: How Many EPIRBS and Liferafts Ever Save Lives ?

Well then lets do a science experiment. 1. ALL sinks I have seen have somewhat of a parabolic shape. Lets get the sink type in question put in a crumpled wrapper, and watch it in sunlight for a few hours. If there is any merit to this scenario a hot spot should be able to be measured by an IR thermometer.

NOT sure how on thread this is, but let's settle it.
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Old 29-04-2011, 15:35   #314
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Re: How Many EPIRBS and Liferafts Ever Save Lives ?

Without convincing evidence, I'd admit that I don't know what happened.

It only seems as though I think I know everything, because I tend not to talk/write about things about which I know little/nothing.


Most sinks I've seen are somewhat rectilinear.
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Old 29-04-2011, 16:21   #315
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Re: How Many EPIRBS and Liferafts Ever Save Lives ?

G'Day all,

What a contentious and actually interesting thread.

I am intrigued by the list of SARSAT callouts posted by Evans. I notice an astonishingly large number of the events were in Australian waters. Now, my observations have not convinced me that the waters in question are unusually hazardous, nor that the Aussies are unusually bad sailors or boat maintainers.

But the Aussie gov has decreed that all boats leaving the immediate inshore waters MUST carry an EPIRB. And lo, lots of callouts follow. Not too surprising, really.

So, does this mean that there have been far fewer casualties in Australian waters than elsewhere, where the carrying of this device is not mandated? I dunno, but I really doubt it, and there wasn't any evidence in the list that I could see.

My question then is: The enforced carrying of EPIRBS has increased the incidence of callouts and "rescues", but has it actually increased the safety of boaters in those areas? I'd be interested in others opinions on this facet.

It might shine some light on the original line of questioning...

Cheers,

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