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Old 16-10-2014, 20:24   #556
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Re: How Many EPIRBS and Liferafts Ever Save Lives ?

I have been in three offshore races in which boats sank. Two struck big islands each with fatalities. The third struck a whale and sank. All crew survived because of Epirb and life raft. If I were single handing I might not care, but killing friends and family would be a bummer.


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Old 16-10-2014, 20:29   #557
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Re: How Many EPIRBS and Liferafts Ever Save Lives ?

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I have been in three offshore races in which boats sank. Two struck big islands each with fatalities. The third struck a whale and sank.
Curious what boats/races? I was on the investigative panels for both the Aegeon and low speed chase incidents - are you referring to them? Epirbs and rafts were in fact not of much use in either.

I might suggest there are other priority 'seamanship" considerations in cases of "hitting big islands"
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Old 16-10-2014, 22:27   #558
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Re: How Many EPIRBS and Liferafts Ever Save Lives ?

Estarzinger...of course there are situations that make survival almost impossible....but w/an EPIRB at least you have an idea as to where you might begin to look for survivors if any...and w/a life raft the odds of survival while waiting for the the folks reading signals from an EPIRB. ..increase substantially... ! ..so why not take advantage of and disregard the benefits that may lead to recovery if possible ?

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Old 01-11-2014, 16:27   #559
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Re: How Many EPIRBS and Liferafts Ever Save Lives ? Safe Boater Mentality

EPIRB's are just plain common sense. Boaters must have a safety psychology in mind, especially if you are going far offshore, as our family often does.

It pays to be redundant in everything.

As I just mentioned to another user, we recently bought at the boat show">Miami Boat Show from West Marine the DeLorme inReach SE 2-way satellite communicator.

The DeLorme inReach SE will not replace what the government requires, but adds significant value in the event of distress. As the West Marine sales rep. showed me in his demo, the DeLorme inReach broadcasts SOS, embedded with GPS. In SOS mode, the inReach SE provides a direct, 2-way texting link to emergency responders [GEOS Alliance].

The 2-way texting closes the loop:

1. Coast Guard can get "rubber stamp" from me that I am in distress.
2. I can explain to the Coast Guard in plain English via texting what emergency we are having, to help them be better prepared to rescue.

Everyone wins with 2-way technology that is now hitting the market.

West Marine said that more and more customers are doubling down with this type of technology.

Like I said, I pay a small subscription fee for the inReach service [$12/month] , but it's worth it to reduce the risk, and increase my chances when we are alone at sea.
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Old 09-11-2014, 19:15   #560
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Re: How Many EPIRBS and Liferafts Ever Save Lives ?

I know I'm jumping in late on this, 11 years in the CCG 6 of them as a rescue specialist. That means lots of cold weather rescues in remote locations. One or two involving EPIRBS, but lots where my job would have been made a lot easier if they had an EPIRB on board. That's the "Search" part in Search and Rescue. Help us find you before our weather window closes, or before you need to wait out another night, because your rescuers are men- not bunnies with night vision, and just don't see as well after dark. As far as people questioning whether life rafts work? Are you serious? Yes, your best chance of Rescue is your boat- so put off abandoning ship until the last possible minute and people. Boats sink! Even when unnecessary risks are not being taken. Good skippers lose their boats. It happens. In cold water you have maybe 20 minutes- if you have a life jacket on to get yourself recued. And the Coast Guard just isn't that fast. If you have a Life raft- you're golden. If you have a life raft and an EPIRB- you're really golden.
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Old 09-11-2014, 20:08   #561
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Re: How Many EPIRBS and Liferafts Ever Save Lives ?

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If you have a life raft and an EPIRB- you're really golden.
The folks on cheeki Rafiki had both . . . And everyone died. There are lots of pitfalls for both types of gear.

And you are somewhat missing the point by focusing on "after the incident has already occurred". The point being that we should all be aware that this gear does factually/empirically cause two types of possible "moral hazzard". Less caution may be taken if there are piles of safety equipment, and less discomfort may be endured before the button is pushed.

If one is absolutely sure that they will personally absolutely not be affected by this psychological effect -as some on this thread claim to know about themselves - then there is no issue at all. But there is significant emperical evidence to indicate that a good fraction of people are influenced by these sort of psychological effects, and until you actually have been thru a couple near death "crisis situation" it is very hard for people to know how they will react, and after being thru such both with and without this gear I can say for sure that I am affected.
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Old 09-11-2014, 20:21   #562
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Re: How Many EPIRBS and Liferafts Ever Save Lives ?

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But there is significant emperical evidence to indicate that a good fraction of people are influenced by these sort of psychological effects, and until you actually have been thru a couple near death "crisis situation" it is very hard for people to know how they will react, and after being thru such both with and without this gear I can say for sure that I am affected.
THIS is the point Evans and others (including me) have been trying to make through this thread. Regardless of whether YOU are some some super-human example of sailing stoicism, actual real evidence shows that MOST people will be influenced by the mere presence of these tools. Most people WILL be less inclined to fight for the last meter of waterline, or will be less inclined to suffer yet another day of bouncing hell. That's not necessarily a bad thing, but it is a real thing.

Balanced against the significant error rates measured in recreational life rafts that are deployed or tested, it is completely rational to ask whether these tools really pass the cost-benefit analysis.
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Old 09-11-2014, 20:32   #563
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Re: How Many EPIRBS and Liferafts Ever Save Lives ?

^^ or at the very least be informed and aware the downsides and pitfalls exist, so that if you choose to carry the gear you can consciously counteract/counterbalance the effects.

I would say it is dangerously bad seamanship to simply believe "you are golden if you carry a raft and epirb".
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Old 10-11-2014, 03:29   #564
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Re: How Many EPIRBS and Liferafts Ever Save Lives ?

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I would say it is dangerously bad seamanship to simply believe "you are golden if you carry a raft and epirb".

Never heard anyone say it. so don't think that negative suggests anything.

Quote:
Most people WILL be less inclined to fight for the last meter of waterline, or will be less inclined to suffer yet another day of bouncing hell. That's not necessarily a bad thing, but it is a real thing.
My experience, is that irrespective of what safety devices are on board, certain people will give up before others. Personally, I see no reason why anyone should battle to save the boat, if such battle compromises the safety of crew. For a competent skipper, a correct display of seamanship is to always put the safety of the crew in front of the survival of the boat. The boat can easily be replaced.

This whole debate is a tautology, that clear.

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Old 10-11-2014, 04:54   #565
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Re: How Many EPIRBS and Liferafts Ever Save Lives ?

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Never heard anyone say it. so don't think that negative suggests anything.
Well then you are not reading the thread very careful . . . Look a couple posts up. . . . I was quoting from and responding to post #560. . . . An obviously smart and experienced guy, but who's post (perhaps unintentionally) echoed the (clearly false) illusion/myth that "you are golden" and can check off "safety" simply by going to the store and buying a raft and epirb.

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This whole debate is a tautology, that clear.
I don't know what you think "tautology" means, but it is clearly not one to suggest that there are important but poorly (not widely) understood possible pitfalls to carrying this gear. Promoting understanding of that is beneficial to safety.
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Old 10-11-2014, 05:57   #566
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Re: How Many EPIRBS and Liferafts Ever Save Lives ?

We got our NZ cat 1 certificate a few months ago. A long list to be ticked off. Compulsary certified life raft, latest epirb, 1st aid gear, back-up radios, flares etc etc. Harnesses and primary radio excepted, I got the distinct impression it was mostly about the trip in the life raft and cost of rescue. (Names on life jackets, so our bodies could be identified?)

No warrant of fitness was required for the battery bank or motor.

However, our inspector was very experienced and I felt he was happy to issue the certificate mainly because he knew the boat was OK and we had really capable crew who could get us through when TSHTF.
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Old 10-11-2014, 06:12   #567
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Re: How Many EPIRBS and Liferafts Ever Save Lives ?

Hmm, yes, my intention was not to suggest that survival with a life raft was guaranteed. However, I have been personally involved in lots of life and death marine incidents with results on both ends of the spectrum, but I have never encountered a situation where somebody died of hypothermia or drowning who was in a boat (life raft is a boat). I have encountered people who spent uncomfortably long amounts of time in boats because it was difficult to find them (no EPIRB or equivalent). Agreed, life rafts are not replacements for good seamanship. Professional mariners would never consider leaving the dock without functioning rafts, immersion suits and EPIRBs, not because they are inexperienced or prone to making bad weather routing decisions, but because their risk exposure is so high, and they know what their best odds of survival are.
There was an incident a few years back where a native fisherman and his son became disabled in an open boat in the Arctic Ocean. Three Canadian SAR Techs parachuted into the arctic ocean in an attempt to affect a rescue (surface craft couldn't reach them). One SAR Tech became separated from his personal raft because of extremely inclement wind and wave conditions. He was defeated by exposure, the other 2 SAR Techs survived in their rafts. Coincidentally, the Native fisherman and his boy also survived- in their open boat. So I stand firm that your odds of survival are much much higher in a boat than not in a boat.
Just for your curiosity, on my cruising boat I carry neither a Life Raft nor an EPIRB, but I do have a zodiac.
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Old 10-11-2014, 07:52   #568
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Re: How Many EPIRBS and Liferafts Ever Save Lives ?

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Agreed, life rafts are not replacements for good seamanship.

Good, I think we can all agree on that. I strongly believe seamanship and safety are more a state of mind than a pile of gear. But unfortunately it is the gear that gets sold/pushed hardest.

So I stand firm that your odds of survival are much much higher in a boat than not in a boat.

And we can also probably all agree on that. But it is again (a) focusing on 'after the incident' (which I understand was when you got involved, so I appreciate that is your bias), and (b) assumes the raft actually gets launched and actually works (in a raft incident), both of which pretty much miss the point I was making.

By the way, (just to complicate the story) there have been two recent incidents where the crew stayed with the vessel too long and should have abandoned/called for help/gotten in the rafts earlier. One where the vessel capsized while the crew was just starting to get in rafts, bringing the rig op down on them. The other a sudden/near instant capsize (after some hours knowing they were in trouble) which prevented them from getting to the raft or the epirb.

It just goes to show that excellent judgement is essential and simple rules (only step up to the raft) can lead you astray.


On my cruising boat I carry neither a Life Raft nor an EPIRB, but I do have a zodiac

I am guessing you have a correctly installed DSC radio. I have argued elsewhere that that is superior to the epirb when within VHF range as you appear to mostly be (from you profile designation). DSC/VHF has two way capability, unlike epirb, and my incident analysis suggests two way communication improves outcomes. DSC transmits to all surrounding vessels, unlike epirb, increasing the possibility of a fast response. And DSC is immediate, unlike the system delays inherent in the epirb system.

but I have never encountered a situation where somebody died of hypothermia or drowning who was in a boat (life raft is a boat).

That sort of misses the point, as you are picking out the cases where the raft worked successfully. There are clearly cases where people have died of drowning and hypothermia from boats with rafts where the raft was unsuccessful. I mentioned one specific high profile case in my post above, but there are numerous others.

And BTW, just to quote another high profile case, the bounty had rafts and successfully launched them, but two people drown.


I have encountered people who spent uncomfortably long amounts of time in boats because it was difficult to find them (no EPIRB or equivalent).

I have been curious about this - how many incidents? Did they have vhf/dsc or no vhf? And were they just 'uncomfortable' for longer, or would the outcome actually have changed with a beacon?

As you probably know, the USCG is angling to write/enforce a new regulation requiring 'emergency beacons' for anyone more than 3nm from shore. Their case appears to be primarily that it will save them money (shorter searches), rather than it will save lives. When I looked at their case, it honestly seemed that mostly what they wanted was to no have to launch a search when the family called and said someone was overdue - instead being able to say "they have a beacon and it has not gone off, so they are mostly likely just slow and not in trouble" - as these 'overdue but not actually in trouble' cases seemed to consume resources unnecessarily.


Professional mariners would never consider leaving the dock without functioning rafts, immersion suits and EPIRBs

I have to disagree (based on first hand experience) with this rather sweeping statement - and rather say that "it depends" even for "professionals". For many professional situations the gear is required with large penalties if it is not on board and in current certification.

In any case the "professional case" is different than the recreational case - A 'work environment' which changes the situation, (usually) much more experience, often much more training, required to go to sea in much more difficult conditions. "Professionals" are very unlikely to abandon when they get seasick and tired, or when their steering cable slips off the quadrant, or when they run out of fuel (on a sail boat), or when the electrical system goes down (again on a sailboat only 150nm from Bermuda) - all actual incidents with recreational sailors.
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Old 10-11-2014, 08:28   #569
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Re: How Many EPIRBS and Liferafts Ever Save Lives ?

In my opinion, having a well found boat, properly equipped is an element of good seamanship, including appropriate safety equipment.
It may appear from my post that my experience is from an after the fact perspective, but I have been out of the full time SAR business for several years, and have covered (est.) Hundreds of thousands of miles, avoiding (serious) accidents through preparation and good seamanship. So yes, I agree, keep the bottom wet and the top dry.
As far as a dsc radio, the GMDSS network isn't yet fully functioning on the great lakes, but you are absolutely correct that when cruising I tend to stay within vhf range of shore (for the most part), and not only do I have a properly installed vhf, but anybody outside the cockpit on my boat has a submersible hand held vhf strapped to their life jacket (in any kind of sea state any way).
I pick out cases where the raft worked, because I have a special insight. Successful rescues where everything turns out fine, never make the news. So only the rescuer and rescuee ever come to know about them.
Yes, you are correct about the situations I described regarding comfort. They were rescued alive and well without epirbs, but it would have been faster with.
Yes, I have seen yachtsmen declare distress for all kinds of goofy reasons. I think we will have to agree to disagree, I am convinced carrying appropriate safety gear (including life rafts) is an element of good seamanship, and I believe life rafts and EPIRBs make boats safer on average.

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Old 10-11-2014, 08:39   #570
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Re: How Many EPIRBS and Liferafts Ever Save Lives ?

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Originally Posted by Mike OReilly View Post
THIS is the point Evans and others (including me) have been trying to make through this thread. Regardless of whether YOU are some some super-human example of sailing stoicism, actual real evidence shows that MOST people will be influenced by the mere presence of these tools. Most people WILL be less inclined to fight for the last meter of waterline, or will be less inclined to suffer yet another day of bouncing hell. That's not necessarily a bad thing, but it is a real thing.

Balanced against the significant error rates measured in recreational life rafts that are deployed or tested, it is completely rational to ask whether these tools really pass the cost-benefit analysis.
I don't understand this cowboy mentality. Because it cannot be assured that one won't fight for every last inch of the boat if rescue gear is on board, one should not have that gear and be guaranteed to die should something bad happen.

Yes, iron men in wooden ships - the good old days when a seafarer proved his mettle by facing death directly and laughing at it.

I'm a wimp and will at least carry an EPIRB. I will use it before things get to the point that we will certainly die.

I think the advice to the contrary here is dangerous and misinformed.

Evans, I also find it humorous that you brought up the whole "moral hazard" argument, tried to back away from it when it was pointed out that you were applying it incorrectly and probably not understanding its meaning at all, then you keep bringing it up again.

I also find it interesting that none of the SAR or Coast Guard people agree with this approach.

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