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Old 21-09-2014, 13:51   #481
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Re: How Many EPIRBS and Liferafts Ever Save Lives ?

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Originally Posted by hellosailor View Post
Evans-
I find your observations about life raft failures to be both disturbing and surprising.
So do I.

I tried to get data from several U.S. certified life raft repackers, but they all refused to give me any.

I write that piece a long while ago, and that specific experience was when we were still on silk. I gave no idea/data of if/how things might have changed since then, but I do know the industry has had hard times, so I doubt it has improved much.
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Old 21-09-2014, 14:04   #482
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Re: How Many EPIRBS and Liferafts Ever Save Lives ?

I've considered the efficacy and cost/benefit of liferafts and EPIRBs. While it's hard to argue against the latter, the former is clearly open to question. Unless you are in a situation where resources are infinite, it's always a question finding the right balance for you.

Although I don't have the references off hand, I'm confident there is a wealth of research that supports Evans' assertion that merely having a liferaft will change how most people respond in moments of panic, fear and crisis. It would seem to me that one would have to be one of those mythical stoic salty cruisers to NOT be affected by the presence of a liferaft (or lack thereof).

I've looked at some of the data Evans references (although no where as deep or as extsive) and I concur that looking at it from a risk perspective, there is ample evidence to question the efficacy of liferafts. Put simply, in my case where resources are limited, boat space is small and crew is small (2), I think it's hard to justify the costs (financial and otherwise) of a tool with such a poor success rate. Like financial insurance, I think there are far more effective ways to expend that limited resource which will be far effective in actually reducing risk.


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Old 21-09-2014, 14:17   #483
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Re: How Many EPIRBS and Liferafts Ever Save Lives ?

Evans-
I'm not surprised they wouldn't talk. It wouldn't be in their best interest to even suggest the entire industry is less than perfect. And unlike the parachute industry, where you can always count the "splats", failed life rafts conveniently leave behind no evidence to be counted. Hmmmm...

Mike-
I wouldn't be surprised to hear that having life rafts encourages, ah, less conservative behavior. Look at what has happened with ABS brake systems on cars. When they work, they are almost as good as a trained driver, and of course, most drivers aren't trained in pumping the brakes or would panic and fail to pump them. So in theory ABS brakes reduce the number of accidents and their severity. Except, they have led to more accidents and worse accidents, because people rely on them and feel invulnerable. Ooopsie?
After replacing a mysteriously failed master cylinder AND ABS controller, at a combined cost of more than the first new car (no, it wasn't a classic Beetle), I can only say I don't want them and am almost ready to seek and restore a classic car in order to not have to deal with them ever again.
I would consider carrying a life raft. I would prefer to carry a life raft offshore. But if I'm ever required to carry a life raft, I'll probably hoist the Jolly Roger and initiate hostilities instead.
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Old 21-09-2014, 14:40   #484
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Re: How Many EPIRBS and Liferafts Ever Save Lives ?

We have a liferaft but to think we would rather be in it than on board our boat is ridiculous. It's a last resort after all else has failed, like an EPIRB or mayday call. Sure a lot of sailors have abandoned perfectly good vessels when they probably shouldn't have, but to think they would be better off without any safety equipment seems pretty foolish.

'We don't have a VHF because it would mean we can call for help instead of trying to fix the problem which would lead to less effort at repairs'

Really?!
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Old 21-09-2014, 14:54   #485
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Re: How Many EPIRBS and Liferafts Ever Save Lives ?

It says here EPIRB in bracket or ditch bag? at post #6
"3) Understand that the number one cause of liferaft deployment is FIRE....Fire-on-board is still the number one cause, not collision, not flooding, not grounding, but fire...
This was confirmed by both liferaft manuf and USCG, just 2 years ago..."

So what to believe?

I carry both liferaft and Epirb.... some may use them as a quick way of getting off the boat cos its cold, wet and dark and something broke ... I wouldn't.

That in my view is all that matters.... not what someone else somewhere else would do.
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Old 21-09-2014, 14:58   #486
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Re: How Many EPIRBS and Liferafts Ever Save Lives ?

So...How many fire extinguishers can you carry for the price of one life raft? (G)
I'd think one automatic in the engine space, one automatic over the galley, although it would be safer to just eat cold food, any fireman can tell you about kitchen fires. And one 10BC mounted about every three feet on every bulkhead, right?

Still cheaper than a life raft.
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Old 21-09-2014, 15:07   #487
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Re: How Many EPIRBS and Liferafts Ever Save Lives ?

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So...How many fire extinguishers can you carry for the price of one life raft? (G)....
Sorry, I don't think I expressed myself very well.... all these statistics and reports keep getting trotted out... as you know statistics can be used to prove anything you want and reports? Take your pick... xxxx is good for you xxxx is bad for you...

The fire info was quoted elswhere to justify placement of the epirb in a particular location...
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Old 21-09-2014, 15:20   #488
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Re: How Many EPIRBS and Liferafts Ever Save Lives ?

OK

I had a 42 foot motor boat in Florida. I carried a Life raft, flares and beacon.
I also had a good RIB.

I would go 200 miles offshore.

6 months after getting the liferaft, I realised I had no idea how to use it! I only had a vague notion of how to turn on the beacon. I didnt know where the flares had been stowed.

I took it a little more seriously and rectified the lack of knowledge.

Later after selling the 42 footer, I bought a 30 foot coastal cruiser. I never went more than 20 miles offshore. I had a good RIB and flares. I never got another Liferaft.

Im thinking that Liferafts are a good thing in serious offshore traveling. Close coastal work not so much when you have a good RIB and can outrun most weather and get home in an emergency if the boat disappears under you.

As for choices to make, for example when to abandon a vessel, well you cant make that one if you dont have a RIB or liferaft can you? Yes it will make you work harder to look for solutions, but at some stage you run out of ideas and have to get wet. EPIRB would be kinda handy at that point in your life also.

I run a westerly Centaur at the minute. UK Channel and Coastal work. I have a RIB that is coupled to a self inflator........ or would be if I fixed a switch. I dont have EPIRB or life raft. I have a radio, and a cell phone. I dont go out in heavy weather and Im only 2 hours to shore in any direction or 30 mins in the RIB. Im only 20 minutes to be rescued by the coastguard.

Choices.
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Old 21-09-2014, 15:37   #489
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Re: How Many EPIRBS and Liferafts Ever Save Lives ?

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Choices.
Exactly.... horses for courses.. and also

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Old 21-09-2014, 19:40   #490
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Re: How Many EPIRBS and Liferafts Ever Save Lives ?

Perhaps I was unclear: If the #1 cause of abandoning ship and, presumably, that's the #1 reason why you need the life raft, then it would be more effective to stop the fires, than to wait until after they happen, and use a life raft. No?

So, invest in fire extinguishers. if you don't set the boat on fire, or you can quickly put out the fire, then you don't need the life raft. $20 per extinguisher, let's say you buy five for $100. Still way cheaper than putting $2500 in a cheap life raft and spending another $600 every third year to repack it, no?

Personally I've never needed a life raft, but I have used fire extinguishers on several occasions. And a bucket of water once, when there was no extinguisher. That was a mistake, because when the firemen showed up and there was no more fire, they looked like they were going to cry.(G)
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Old 21-09-2014, 21:59   #491
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Re: How Many EPIRBS and Liferafts Ever Save Lives ?

Wow, I am sorry there are some sailors so disappointed about life rafts. I spent over 42 years working for the USCG, operating around the north and south poles, Pacific/Atlantic Ocean, Loran Stations in Italy and Spain, and I also spent many years inspecting life rafts at the service stations in the U.S. and overseas for commercial ships and oil rigs. Life rafts that are properly stored and serviced when required never had a problem opening when I watched them open on their required 5 year CO2 inflation schedule. There is a lot of difference between a real life raft, and one that is called an inflatable buoyancy device for near coastal vessels (w/o a canopy). Life rafts on sailboats take a beating with lots of seawater dumped on them, so stretching out their service schedule is asking for trouble, and may require new equipment inside if the salt water eventually gets to mechanical devices that activate the CO2 cylinder.
I have plenty of wonderful success stories where people abandoned ship to their life raft, and were quickly rescued. My favorite ones were cases where an EPIRB was activated, and in very little time, with low risk to the people doing the rescue, the mariners were safely back on land in just a few hours. Every SAR case that wasn't completely successful, we'd say "darn, if they only had an EPIRB, or life raft, or strobe light they'd be alive".
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Old 22-09-2014, 03:40   #492
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Re: How Many EPIRBS and Liferafts Ever Save Lives ?

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Every SAR case that wasn't completely successful, we'd say "darn, if they only had an EPIRB, or life raft, or strobe light they'd be alive".
Ive crossed swords with Evans on this issue before. But that quote sums up every SAR personnels view when confronted with a tragedy.

This thread reminds me of the nonsense debate that preceded the mandatory wearing of seat belts. ( or the cigarettes don't give you cancer arguments)

GMDSS, operates on the basis that rescue can be effected almost anywhere ( outside the poles ) in approx 4 days, The purpose of a modern liferaft, is not to undertake a "steve callaghan" endurance, but to provide a " waiting " mechanism while you are picked up.

Anecdotal accounts of rescue certainly around these coasts suggest it does that very well, with a number of rescues in 2010-2013, that were effected by people who were recovered from a liferaft.


The experience of SAR operators ( whose data is confidential) is that smalls boats ability to fight any sort of serious fire, or a series flooding incidence is very limited and almost always results in loss of the vessel. ( even though in some cases it is subsequently recovered )

Furthermore investigations into things like the 79 Fastnet disaster, showed that in certain cases because the interior of the yacht was uninhabitable, accessing liferaft was the only option.

There is a very dangerous notion being peddled in this thread. Of course EPIRBS and Liferafts are not a panacea. No more then airbags and seat belts are. But both devices provide alternative options,

The main reason of course that there are often poor statistics, is people do not follow the servicing regime.


Round here a RORC standard liferaft is about 600, with SOLAS around 900-1000. This is about half what people spend on a chart plotter.

This notion that somehow people should be "compelled" to save their boat because of some stupid notion of "manliness" or simply because they are too dumb to realise that not having options was a stupid decision, is simply bizarre.

If somebody wants to abandon their boat , I respect that decision. Rarely in my view is it because its actually sinking, though in some cases it is. There is no hero in a dead hero.


The economic argument is a straw man argument, economics applies to everything on the boat, they fact that you prioritise some equipment over others is purely that, a decision, in itself it does not validate what you are doing as " correct".


We are fortunate, that many of us boat in areas where global rescue system exist, personally thats a great thing. I have no time for this "nanny state " right wing BS frankly. All the people rescued, that I know of, didn't refuse to be picked up because of some misplaced political ideology.

I also know people, ( or rather their families) that are dead for the simple reason that they didn't wear a lifejacket and were unable to stay above the surface, in time for the rescue services to find them.


Modern safety systems and the organisations behind them are a valuable addition to making our hobby ( remember its a hobby), safer. No they are not a solution to incompetence or foolhardiness, though thankfully most sailors are too scared to be foolhardy, in general.

All reasonable safety systems have a place and are useful, Learn to use them, learn their limitations and be safe.

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Old 22-09-2014, 03:46   #493
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Re: How Many EPIRBS and Liferafts Ever Save Lives ?

^^ "safety equipment" as the one true religion. And that any opinion other than yours is "bizarre".

Do you think climbers who choose to climb clean are also bizarre, or to free solo?

Look up " moral hazard" . . . It is a simple very extensively proven fact of human behavior.

I do not suggest that our approach is the only intelligent approach. I am getting real tired of people who think they have found the one and only solution (To anything) and suggest anyone who disagrees is stupid and bizarre. And I am past tired and angry with the fear based marketing driving the sales of everything from cell phones to wars.
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Old 22-09-2014, 04:18   #494
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Re: How Many EPIRBS and Liferafts Ever Save Lives ?

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^^ "safety equipment" as the one true religion. And that any opinion other than yours is "bizarre".

Do you think climbers who choose to climb clean are also bizarre, or to free solo?

Look up " moral hazard" . . . It is a simple very extensively proven fact of human behavior.

I do not suggest that our approach is the only intelligent approach. I am getting real tired of people who think they have found the one and only solution (To anything) and suggest anyone who disagrees is stupid and bizarre. And I am past tired and angry with the fear based marketing driving the sales of everything from cell phones to wars.

You completely miss the point Evans, I am not in any way passing judgement on those people that take that well informed risks, and I accept that for them its a "decision", and as a member of the SAR community, hell we,ll even go and rescue them as well , when ( and not if) they get into trouble.

However it is "bizarre" to engage in a discussion which dissembles information designed to "emphasis" your point of view, that flies in the face of what professional SAR agencies ( that are doing this day in and day out) would recommend.

If you want to be an "outlier" be an "outlier" , but stop trying to convince the bell curve to shift to you !.

Ive not suggested there is only "one" solution. I have actually repeatedly made the point that safety devices have limitations and you have to evaluate that.

What I am seriously fed up about, is your oft repeated notion that somehow people are going to abandon at a drop of a hat simply because they have some sort of "safety" device. You obviously have no experience of looking at a liferaft dangling behind a yacht at 4am in a storm and considering whether to board it. Believe you me, its not "the easy option"

Its the same nonsense that was pedalled about car seat belts ( that somehow they made people reckless).

That the crux Evans , not your personal desire to sail with any combination of equipment.

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Old 22-09-2014, 04:21   #495
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Re: How Many EPIRBS and Liferafts Ever Save Lives ?

Ok that makes more sense than, liferafts are no good because of xyz perceived facts and anecdotal evidence like ' a bunch of cruisers threes their rafts on a dock and half didn't work'
So what you are actually saying is your choice not to carry a raft is because you fear that you won't make every effort to save the ship if you have another option. Plus it costs money and might be hard to stow and carry on deck.
Personally I don't see stowage, cost or deployment as a reason not to have one on board and I think I know enough about the downsides of leaving a vessel to a raft (seasickness, hypothermia , being turned over and blown like a leaf, falling out, difficulty to be seen by rescuers as opposed to a larger vessel, etc) that getting into a raft would truly be a last resort action...
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