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Old 10-11-2014, 09:44   #571
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Re: How Many EPIRBS and Liferafts Ever Save Lives ?

I would not sail with a captain who questioned the value of having both EPIRB and life raft. Furthermore, I believe the suggestion that having proper safety equipment on board increases the danger is... OK, I'm not going to insult anyone, but let me add those that feel that way to my list of people not to sail with.
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Old 10-11-2014, 09:44   #572
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Re: How Many EPIRBS and Liferafts Ever Save Lives ?

Colemj and FamilyVan,

Surely you both agree that crews should understand how to use their safety gear - right?

And that includes understanding any potential pitfalls - right?

And that should include understanding the (1) that this gear is not 'fool proof' - that it does fail in quite a number of ways, (2) that investing in more basic safety (a sound hull, rudder and rig just for instance) and training (seamanship, first aid, weather, etc) are more important and should come before this gear, which does not replace seamanship or a safety mentality, (3) that this gear can be very seductive and can (and factually does) lead one to call for rescue when it may not be necessary.

How can you think that discussion "is dangerous and misinformed".

I will comment that so far no-one here has appeared to be significantly better informed than I am on this topic - Dave resorted to insults and name calling and you come out with "cowboy". I am very happy to listen to and learn from better information, and FamilyVan seems to have interesting experience to bring. But the insults don't add anything at all and in fact were originally what pulled me back into this thread just to counter his unfounded personal attacks.

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Originally Posted by colemj View Post
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.
No, I just did not see any point in arguing with Dave about the definition. It is not necessary to understand my point, but it is a convenient short hand. I was in the insurance business as an actuary. I know full well what the term means, rather better than Dave does. I am applying it correctly. But if you don't like the term, that's fine, it is not necessary in order to understand the simple proposition that focusing on these two pieces of safety gear can have perverse implications for the rest of the safety program.
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Old 10-11-2014, 09:52   #573
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Re: How Many EPIRBS and Liferafts Ever Save Lives ?

I would generally agree with these statements. But, if you're travelling offshore or midshore, you already meet the above mentioned criteria, and you are trying to decide if the above listed equipment will make you more safe or less safe. I argue that it will definitely make you more safe.

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Old 10-11-2014, 09:58   #574
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Re: How Many EPIRBS and Liferafts Ever Save Lives ?

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I would generally agree with these statements. But, if you're travelling offshore or midshore, you already meet the above mentioned criteria, and you are trying to decide if the above listed equipment will make you more safe or less safe. I argue that it will definitely make you more safe.
Ok, as I have said several times above, I agree that if you fully understand all the implications and pitfalls of the gear, and are experienced enough to know that you will not be 'seduced' by it in a crisis, then no problem, end of discussion. We can agree on that.

BUT . . . I would argue that relatively few recreational sailors, even those offshore do actually fall in that category. I know that I did not even after having sailing around the world the first time. And I can point to significant numbers of examples of offshore cruising incidents where I would strongly guess the skipper also did not.

I am raising my hand here and admitting I learned something about myself that is not logical or rational, which I have to consciously manage and counteract when in crisis. I am pretty sure I am not the only one, but I have been forced thru experience and mistake to learn, where-as others may not have yet.

SO, I hope a discussion like this is useful to those people.
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Old 10-11-2014, 10:33   #575
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Re: How Many EPIRBS and Liferafts Ever Save Lives ?

While my boat came with a raft, I carry both an EPIRB, and a PLB on the harness, and I don't venture all that far from shore (yet) I would like to throw out the "drinking straw" analogy we use with our trainees.

It boils down to perceptual narrowing. When initially stressed, humans experience perceptual narrowing. We tell the rookies it's like "looking through a drinking straw." As they gain experience, the straw gets bigger. Eventually they'll be able to see the big picture. It takes time and repeated exposure to emergency situations to develop, situations that most sailors won't experience often.

I think what Evans is saying (and I appologize if such is not the case, but what I hear Evans saying) is that during an actual emergency, most people will experience this marked perceptual narrowing, and if those safety pieces are onboard, they'll draw the limited focus from the problem at hand on to themselves. Is that gist, Evans?

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Old 10-11-2014, 10:52   #576
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Re: How Many EPIRBS and Liferafts Ever Save Lives ?

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I think what Evans is saying (and I apologize if such is not the case, but what I hear Evans saying) is that during an actual emergency, most people will experience this marked perceptual narrowing, and if those safety pieces are onboard, they'll draw the limited focus from the problem at hand on to themselves. Is that gist, Evans?
Yes, exactly, you state that very well . . . that's in part (the part during the crisis) what I am saying. That is well understood by the combat and emergency professions, but I think less well understood by the sailing community where facing death (or other serious crisis) is (fortunately) rather less common.

I also believe there are some potential perverse effects (a substitute phrase for 'moral hazard') even before the crisis. We all have limited bandwidth, particularly when preparing to make a major life change like going cruising. So, it is seductive to think (and be told) that you can buy and mount a couple sealed boxes and mostly check off that safety thing, and move onto which sat comm system is best.

I also believe the failure (or below expectations performance) rate of these "sealed box" safety systems is higher than most are lead to believe and most expect. So, if your whole plan is depending on them functioning, and you have not thought beyond them, you may be in for a bit of a set-back.
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Old 10-11-2014, 10:59   #577
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Re: How Many EPIRBS and Liferafts Ever Save Lives ?

To those who think an EPIRB or life raft makes you less safe:
My BS detector is shrieking in my ear. Not having an EPIRB or life raft because you feel they make you reckless or less likely to try to save your boat is like driving without wearing your seat belt thinking that you'll somehow drive more carefully. Do you also disable your car's airbags?
What about other things that invite disaster? Do you chuck your first aid kit overboard to insure that no one is tempted to fly without a net on the rigging?
I don't care how well maintained your boat is, or how brilliant a sailor you are, you can face death at any time without making a single error; boats strike objects or are struck by them; major pieces fail; lightning strikes; fires start. As the man said, sh*t happens, and on a boat, even more so.
I'm certain you folks are probably a nice fellows and capable sailors, but I would not sail with you. I would not want to spend my final hours treading water while you pontificated on the dangers of carrying proper safety equipment.
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Old 10-11-2014, 11:23   #578
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Re: How Many EPIRBS and Liferafts Ever Save Lives ?

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Originally Posted by estarzinger View Post
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.



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.
Tautlogy a self-reinforcing pretense of significant truth

and by that I mean , that just because you keep saying it Evans, does not mean its true, not a shred of evidence has been presented to justify your perceptions, yet you persist in presenting them as if there was some major evidential conclusion behind them

There is no evidence that people put undue faith in safety equipment, no more today that ten years ago , no more then then 10 years previously. Rescue statistics that I have seen , suggest boating is getting safer, in that death at sea is an uncommon event. ( even if the number of trivial rescues is up). But no-one can break this argument down any further , because these is no reliable evidence to back up your claim

Attempt the same argument for cars and you will see that cars are considerably safer today, despite greater density and speed precisely because they have additional safety equipment which aids passenger survivability ( or perhaps you want to argue against EuroNCCAP)


Quote:
To those who think an EPIRB or life raft makes you less safe:
My BS detector is shrieking in my ear. Not having an EPIRB or life raft because you feel they make you reckless or less likely to try to save your boat is like driving without wearing your seat belt thinking that you'll somehow drive more carefully. Do you also disable your car's airbags?
You are correct Leo, The BS stems from the fact that no reliable evidence has ever been advanced to justify the ascertains made in this thread, not withstanding that the acertions would fly in the face of every major SAR service advice, I know of .

The proponents of this argument, are either espousing a kind of "sea borne" macho-ism, in that abandoning a floating vessel is akin to cowardice, straw man arguments about the reliability of "rescue/safety devices, ( because everything on a boat is unreliable), or simply , ( and I don't believe they are ) just posing a vexsaious argument

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Old 10-11-2014, 11:29   #579
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Re: How Many EPIRBS and Liferafts Ever Save Lives ?

Interesting topic. When we first started cruising there were no EPIRB's, no SAT phones or GPS. When you left to cross oceans you made a decision that if something happened you were on your own. These days you see people spending huge amounts of money on so called safety gear and actually believing some of these gimmicks were going to save them. I always carried a life raft but I never really trusted it. I remember having one repacked and watching it blow up and then release the pressure because of a faulty valve. It wasn't that long ago the GME EPIRBS were not working properly.
The ARC is a good example that people believe that there is safety in numbers and if they are in a rally and something happens to them that they will be saved. Personally to me its a myth or just a feeling of safety but I hear it over and over from people that step up to pay for a couple of very expensive parties.
Fact is that fear is a huge motivator, that's how Government and religion control most people and to some extend it also happens in our sailing world.
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Old 10-11-2014, 11:39   #580
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Re: How Many EPIRBS and Liferafts Ever Save Lives ?

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Interesting topic. When we first started cruising there were no EPIRB's, no SAT phones or GPS. When you left to cross oceans you made a decision that if something happened you were on your own. These days you see people spending huge amounts of money on so called safety gear and actually believing some of these gimmicks were going to save them. I always carried a life raft but I never really trusted it. I remember having one repacked and watching it blow up and then release the pressure because of a faulty valve. It wasn't that long ago the GME EPIRBS were not working properly.
The ARC is a good example that people believe that there is safety in numbers and if they are in a rally and something happens to them that they will be saved. Personally to me its a myth or just a feeling of safety but I hear it over and over from people that step up to pay for a couple of very expensive parties.
Fact is that fear is a huge motivator, that's how Government and religion control most people and to some extend it also happens in our sailing world.

The is exactly whats wrong with this argument, its full of " always carried a life raft but I never really trusted it", opinion, or "he ARC is a good example that people believe that there is safety in numbers and if they are in a rally and something happens to them that they will be saved.", opinion.

Have you done an ARC , I have done several, people, in my experience, are well aware of the fact that they are in effect "on their own" out there. But they take "some" solace" from the fact that (a) They get daily updates and in effect professional weather routing, and (b) theres is "some" advantages to safety in numbers as is witnessed by the many rescues and aids that boats have given each other on the ARC. ( most of which you don't hear about). Newbies like the talks and guidance they get and the pre and post camaraderie. ( its a human thing actually)

Lets dispel the notion, of the "brave" , stalwart, loner out there sailing. Ive seen them come in from a helicopter, they don't look so "brave" then ...


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Old 10-11-2014, 11:51   #581
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Re: How Many EPIRBS and Liferafts Ever Save Lives ?

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It wasn't that long ago the GME EPIRBS were not working properly.
With respect , that means nothing. The vast majority of EPIRB alerts are false alarms. However if just one of those alerts, results in a life saved ( and especially if its your life), then the system has justified its existence. ( financially is a completely different issue). There are many reasons why a EPIRB or any device might or might not work, so what, if its works for you, its justified.

The key issue here , is does merely the existence of safety devices, promote recklessness at sea. firstly the sample size is tiny, secondly the evidence is not collected in any meaningful way and thirdly the issue is clouded by "opinions"


The received advice is very clear, the more options you have when in danger, the better your chance of survival. ( whats happens to the boat is utterly irrelevant, except to insurance companies). Whether you did or did not act to save the boat is of no real consequence, once you placed the lives of humans first.



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Old 10-11-2014, 12:02   #582
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Re: How Many EPIRBS and Liferafts Ever Save Lives ?

Dave its got nothing to do with being brave, actually I'm not all that brave but I do recognize a con game when I see one. I'm a skeptic, been that way since I was young as I was raised to be one. I know for example that a bike helmet only protects about 20% of your head in a real accident, which is why Beanie helmets worn by the Harley boys are a waste of time but hey Governments mandate that you wear one and all of a sudden you have these kids taking unreal risks that we never took as youths but then I can't remember anyone ever being hurt badly or killed on a bike, I'm sure it happened but the numbers were so small its not worth talking about. When we played hockey we had no helmets, no teeth guards or face shields and we played accordingly but today these dumb nut kids are blocking shots with their face expecting to get away with it. You see so much of safety is actually your own personal attitude and more often than not has little to do with some safety gear. Yes I believe in EPIRB's and life rafts but mostly I believe in good preparation. Many sailing books I've read where someones life was in danger was a completely normal situation that went wrong because of poor preparation and planning.
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Old 10-11-2014, 12:03   #583
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Re: How Many EPIRBS and Liferafts Ever Save Lives ?

I think it's time for me to step out of this thread. The op was looking for evidence whether this equipment was effective or not. I gave evidence, in the form of eye witness accounts from a professional. Like I said, I sail myself without either piece of gear because I'm comfortable with the risk, and prefer coastal cruising (I find long passages boring, I know they're not for everyone, but they are for me and I've done more than my fair share). For those who are such fine seaman that you will never need life rafts, I hope you never have a throughhull fail in your sleep.

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Old 10-11-2014, 12:13   #584
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Re: How Many EPIRBS and Liferafts Ever Save Lives ?

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Dave its got nothing to do with being brave, actually I'm not all that brave but I do recognize a con game when I see one. I'm a skeptic, been that way since I was young as I was raised to be one. I know for example that a bike helmet only protects about 20% of your head in a real accident, which is why Beanie helmets worn by the Harley boys are a waste of time but hey Governments mandate that you wear one and all of a sudden you have these kids taking unreal risks that we never took as youths but then I can't remember anyone ever being hurt badly or killed on a bike, I'm sure it happened but the numbers were so small its not worth talking about. When we played hockey we had no helmets, no teeth guards or face shields and we played accordingly but today these dumb nut kids are blocking shots with their face expecting to get away with it. You see so much of safety is actually your own personal attitude and more often than not has little to do with some safety gear. Yes I believe in EPIRB's and life rafts but mostly I believe in good preparation. Many sailing books I've read where someones life was in danger was a completely normal situation that went wrong because of poor preparation and planning.

Nothing you say there , I disagree with. Beanie helmets are merely a reflection on the ridiculous motorbike laws in the US. In Europe, there are very high standards for protective gear on bikes, ( your just lucky, you can't get a harley over 60mph!). Its a well proven fact that injuries on bikes are migrated by wearing good safety gear. ( especially head injuries)

Again you advance an opinion re the use of safety equipment in sport, again I see no evidence. I would believe that in any highly competitive sport, every advantage is sought, and hence the safety equipment gets used to try and give an advantage.

The same analogy cannot be realistically carried across to cruising on the ocean. Firstly , I suspect peoples real fear of the sea, is way in advance of anything a few miserly pieces of safety gear can mitigate. in my experience, any offshore sailor is well aware ( even if they don't admit it) of the very thin line between survival and perishing , IF things go wrong.


poor preparation and planning is as you said a major contribution to difficulties that arise. I again see no evidence that carry basic safety gear has resulted in an increase in poor planning or preparation rates.

Humans screw up, safety gear at least adds a "few" beneficial odds. You carry them as you see fit, you use them as you see fit. Theres not much more to this debate then that.


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Old 10-11-2014, 12:19   #585
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Re: How Many EPIRBS and Liferafts Ever Save Lives ?

I really don't think Evans is showing a cowboy mentality [and I think suggesting that was a bit rude, and unnecessary], and I do agree with him that because of the unreliability of life rafts, and various forms of electronics that often have various modes, that if you do carry them, they provide you with what may turn out to be a false sense of "safety."

Furthermore, if you understand that that false security may affect your behavior, then you are able to develop plans that you can follow, and thereby mitigate that seduction's effects.

Seems to be those both are pluses, but you first have to admit it to yourself that it may be there. This is not a cowboy mentality, but sound psychology.

Ann

on edit: for documentation, which may be needed here, I point to the CF discussion about the vessel "missing" off Morocco, and the demonstrations of failed liferafts presented by a liferaft repacker as a public service at many yacht clubs around the San Francisco Bay area, which admittedly took place a long time ago. The valve failure issue mentioned above has been noted for years. So I have to agree with Evans that the liferafts are not a "sure thing", and with FamilyVan that staying with the boat is often safer. Not, of course, in the terribly sad Cheeki Rafiki sinking, where the two crew's personal EPIRBs did work for a while.

Please don't misunderstand, I am not arguing against liferafts, only for keeping aware they appear to offer safety that may not be there at all; that that fact makes them seductive; and that awareness of our vulnerability to that seduction can make us better sailors, improve our seamanship.
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