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Old 31-03-2011, 14:27   #91
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Re: How Many EPIRBS and Liferafts ever Save Lives ?

One difference between fire extinguishers and first aid kits vs. life-rafts and EPIRBs is that the former are tools for addressing the problem( e.g. fire or injury), whereas the latter are only tools for escaping the problem.

Carrying this further, some safety equipment, like tethers, are tools intended to help keep a problem from escalating, while there are other things one can do help prevent the problem from occurring in the first place, for example good handholds and non-skid decking to prevent the fall or slip that could lead you to fetch up against your tether (the escalation of that problem being going overboard and watching your ship sail away from you; the tools to address the overboard problem being your PFD, the MOB rescue and tracking gear, etc...)
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Old 31-03-2011, 15:26   #92
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Re: How Many EPIRBS and Liferafts ever Save Lives ?

I like this kind of question as well because they get us to think, although I also agree with many that for an INDIVIDUAL deciding whether to get an EPIRB or raft it is less likely to have any meaning.

As a society we may choose to offer safety equipment that offers an increased level of rescue despite the increased level of need that creates because we see it as a way to increase a behavior that is desired, i.e., people want to go out in the ocean thus we strive to make it safer as a whole so society benefits. It is possible though that a single individual that otherwise wouldn't have gone out into the ocean might face a danger they would not have otherwise faced.

As an individual who would have chosen to go out on the ocean anyway to not avail yourself of the safety equipment would put you at a disadvantage that you didn't need to face. If you wouldn't go out had that safety equipment not been available as some have suggested then they are actually increasing their own particular risk.

Here is where I disagree with EStarzinger theory about liferafts even though the rest of his posts I am in complete agreement with. In his scenerio he says he will do more to save the boat if he will drown as a result of not doing them and thus he feels "safer" because being on the boat is ultimately safer then being in the raft. I would argue that this is true only if the range of things that you could possibly do (but might choose not to do) are very likely to save a sinking boat and that the motivation of having all your possessions lost and being at sea in a small rubber raft would not also be adequate to stir you to do the same things. I would argue that there are very few things on the average boat that you would be able to do to save it that you would forego just because you had a liferaft and therefore an individual would be "safer" with a liferaft. You are also not decreasing the likelyhood of losing the boat because you can make a decision to deploy the liferaft at a time after all hope for the boat is lost.

EPIRB on the other hand I might agree with someone who felt it made them less likely to save the boat. You have to activate these ahead of an actual sinking event and it seems often that once the rescuer is there you only have a choice to get off or stay on and go it yourself. Having to force that choice at a time that it may not be clear that the boat will indeed sink could increase the risk of losing the boat. While your safety may be increased the safety of the boat is not.

That is why I would choose to have a liferaft, but put the EPIRB inside it.

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Old 31-03-2011, 15:30   #93
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Re: How Many EPIRBS and Liferafts ever Save Lives ?

When I am wearing my PLB, I am often reminded of my own mortality and am more concerned about safety.
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Old 31-03-2011, 15:59   #94
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Re: How Many EPIRBS and Liferafts ever Save Lives ?

Sven - Diesel mechanics last time
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Old 31-03-2011, 16:16   #95
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Re: How many EPIRBS and liferafts are ever used to save lives ?

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We in fact have not carried a raft precisely because we want to be forced to do everything possible to save the boat. We realize that means we may die in some circumstances, but it also means we will save the boat and ourselves in other circumstances. Its a trade-off we consciously make.
Obviously this decision is 100% yours to make so I won't second guess it, but this type of rationalization is absolutely fascinating to me.
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Old 31-03-2011, 18:42   #96
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Re: How many EPIRBS and liferafts are ever used to save lives ?

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Obviously this decision is 100% yours to make so I won't second guess it, but this type of rationalization is absolutely fascinating to me.
Me too
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Old 31-03-2011, 18:57   #97
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Re: How Many EPIRBS and Liferafts ever Save Lives ?

Some more thoughts on the safety equipment as problem-solving tools analogy -- many people do confuse me with Tim the Toolman, and I confess that I do have a big tool box (and some big power tools, too). It's a family trait -- my dad describes his metal lathe as the tool to make the tool to make the tool to get the job done.

The thing with tools is that the user has to know what problem the tool was designed to solve, and how to use it; furthermore, developing skill in using the tool to actually solve the problem requires practice. Finally, like everything else, the tools we use need maintenance themselves.

How many here have actually been in a liferaft, even if just in a pool? Tried boarding a liferaft from the water? Tried righting an upside-down liferaft while in the water? Fired flares off? Used fire extinguishers? etc., etc... the list could go on and on.

Investing in a bunch of tools is of limited use if you don't also invest in training and practice so you know how to use them and what their limitations are. Do you really want to be getting your sole training "on-the-job" in an emergency situation?
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Old 31-03-2011, 19:11   #98
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Re: How Many EPIRBS and Liferafts ever Save Lives ?

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In his scenerio he says he will do more to save the boat if he will drown as a result of not doing them and thus he feels "safer" because being on the boat is ultimately safer then being in the raft.

I have said that I will do more to save the boat, but I have NOT said I will thus be net 'safer'. I will say again, for I guess the third time, I don't know and I don't think anyone knows, which approach is 'net safer'. I am quite sure the boat is 'safer' without a raft because I will do more and in the right priority to save her, but I am not sure whether I am or not.

In the end, we have chosen the course we think is philosophically right. We are choosing to go to sea for pleasure and we aim to be self-reliant and self-rescuing and hope never to put others at risk to come get us. So we have chosen to force ourselves to save the boat.

I may well be hypocritical about this. We do for other reasons (beth's writing) have communication gear (Iridium) on the boat that would allow us to call for help, and given that we do have that ability I felt we also needed to have the gear for help to find us efficiently (Epirb). Being a total realist I expect in the end if we think it will do any good at all we will call for help. Although in the high latitude waters we have been cruising (unlike say US coastal waters) there is not all that much help available.

I would argue that there are very few things on the average boat that you would be able to do to save it that you would fore go just because you had a life raft and . . . . You are also not decreasing the likelihood of losing the boat because you can make a decision to deploy the liferaft at a time after all hope for the boat is lost.

I have seen first hand, three different times, situations where that has not been true. Water starts coming in the boat, and the first thing the crew does is launch the raft 'in case' and then they go look for the leak BUT by that time there is so much water in the boat they cannot find the leak (its hard as hell to pinpoint a leak once its under water) and/or can not stop it. One of these boats sunk in shallow water and was subsequently raised and it was determined the leak was from the stuffing box and could easily have been cured if addressed immediately when it was clear where the water was coming from.

So, if you really know in a time of stress you will definitely first, before even looking at the raft much less taking any time to launch it, do everything possible to cure the problem with your full resources at hand, then I agree with you. BUT my actual observation of people in times of emergency and stress is that they often don't operate that way. They often first think "S&*T I am sinking I better launch the raft before it is too late" and only later "Let me go see if I can find/stop the leak". I would like to think I am better than that and that I would do exactly the right things in the right sequence, but, having taken a hard cold look at both my historical actions and those of other experienced people, I know enough to know that I might well not.
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Originally Posted by Prerequisite View Post
Obviously this decision is 100% yours to make so I won't second guess it, but this type of rationalization is absolutely fascinating to me.

That's perhaps the most polite way of saying you think I am an idiot that I have ever seen! I like to think that my assessment of both the risks and likely human actions in times of emergencies are very empirically based, clear headed and rational in the cold light of day. In fact rather more so than the safety gear marketing rose colored glasses viewpoint. Sometime, in some other thread, we can discuss the actual statistical facts about pfd's effectiveness.

Just as an aside others do share this 'rationalism'. It has become rather more rare today, but was more common when we started ocean sailing. The 911 mindset has become more common.
I personally feel two things quite strongly:

#1 The 911 mindset should not be taken to sea. Practically speaking, it does not work at all as well at sea as it does on a US or European highway. When you go to sea the mind set should be self-reliance and self-rescue.

#2 We are choosing to go to sea for pleasure and for the experience it offers. One of those experiences is the demand/requirement to help ourselves. To cling to the shore based safety net both weakens the gain and experience we can get from the life and puts others lives at risk for some thing we have chosen to do for pleasure. SAfety is in fact not the be all and end all of life. We would not have gone to sea if all we wanted was to 'be safe'.

I (and Beth also) feel these things strongly enough that we have chosen not to carry the raft, even if it makes us net less safe (for the fourth time, I don't know what the net impact is, but we make this choice even if . . . ), because we think that will help force us to act correctly when in a moment of weakness and stress we might not.

This is very obviously a very personal decision. I don't think anyone on either side is irrational or an idiot.
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Old 31-03-2011, 19:27   #99
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Re: How Many EPIRBS and Liferafts ever Save Lives ?

I certainly never called you an idiot. I do see this from a different angle than most (but not all) of the people in this thread since I'm the guy who has to go out and look for (and hopefully rescue) the hypothetical person in the scenario. Honestly, I would prefer if everyone would carry an EPIRB- The faster I can find someone on a dark and stormy night, the less time I need to be at risk in the helicopter. I'm always happy to go out to help someone, I just wish sometimes they'd "help me help them".
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Old 31-03-2011, 19:48   #100
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Re: How Many EPIRBS and Liferafts ever Save Lives ?

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I certainly never called you an idiot. I do see this from a different angle than most (but not all) of the people in this thread since I'm the guy who has to go out and look for (and hopefully rescue) the hypothetical person in the scenario. Honestly, I would prefer if everyone would carry an EPIRB- The faster I can find someone on a dark and stormy night, the less time I need to be at risk in the helicopter. I'm always happy to go out to help someone, I just wish sometimes they'd "help me help them".
Interesting the timing of your reply as I was just about to hit the keyboard with much the same point. I was spurred by the comment that we do not want people risking their lives looking for us. Well I have news for you people like Prerequisite will go looking for you. Your family and friends will demand it regardless of your not wanting it.
Sailors going to see and putting themselves in bad situations sometimes by accident, not equiped for the journey, has caused a lot of public debate and pressure to make them pay at least something towards their rescue whether they wanted to be rescued or not. Your attitude will eventually rebound on other cruisers with higher insurance premiums and more regulations meaning more cost for all so replace the idiot with selfish.
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Old 31-03-2011, 20:01   #101
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Re: How Many EPIRBS and Liferafts ever Save Lives ?

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replace the idiot with selfish.
no raft = Selfish!?

Hmmm . . . you did read my post? You did see that we do carry an EPRIB in fact just to help SAR resources find us as efficiently as possible if it ever became necessary?

I can't possibly see how our approach will increase other's insurance rates - you want to explain your logic there? We will save the boat when others would not. If we don't save it, anyone else would have lost it also. An insurance company would only win with our approach. BUT our HULL IS NOT INSURED in any case. No-one will lose but us.

Incidents at sea always cause that discussion about costs. Our approach is designed to minimize that possibility - the most likely possibilities are we either save ourselves or we die without calling for rescue, can't see how that will cause more discussion about costs and regulation than if we (or our parents) did call for rescue. And if we (or our parents) do call for rescue as I said above we do have the gear to help them find us as efficiently as possible and they will sure be able to find us faster/better if we have saved the boat. Can't see how that will cause more discussion about costs and regulation than for a rescue of someone from a raft. There is one outcome, we or our parents call for rescue, the boat sinks and we die when others might have been saved and found in a raft. In that case I agree the SAR resources might spend more time looking for us but I honestly doubt it would create much incremental discussion about costs or regulation.

By the way, we have no children and our parents full well understand what we are about and how long we might be overdue on our passages.

Just to get back to the point(s):

(1) Fortunately what we all do is quite safe.
(2) Times of emergency and extreme stress sometimes leads to decision making that looks 'strange' in 20/20 hindsight. Its fine to say from your computer you will only step up into the raft but its another thing to actually do it.
(3) There are (well documented and statistically proven) unintended psychological consequences of both insurance and safety equipment that we as skippers should understand.
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Old 31-03-2011, 20:12   #102
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Re: How Many EPIRBS and Liferafts ever Save Lives ?

Having sailed through the eye of a huricaine on a boat with an out-dated life-raft and eprib, and survived, I would say that they are not needed, but I would not like to go off-shore without them because when the **** hits the fan you want all the resources to save your ass.
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Old 31-03-2011, 20:13   #103
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Re: How Many EPIRBS and Liferafts ever Save Lives ?

I'm sorry but this is silly. The claim that "epirbs provide a false sense of security and so cause more reckless sailing, and so you're better off without epirbs" can be applied to seatbelts in cars: seatbelts give you a false sense of security and so you're more likely to drive recklessly, so you're better off without seatbelts. Does that make ANY kind of sense? no one said you can stop being a safe sailor just as long as you have an epirb or a liferaft aboard just as no one says you can check your brain in as long as youre wearing a seatbelt whilst driving.

Risk is defined as the liklihood of something bad happening multilplied by the severity of its consequences. As unlikely as it may be that I would ever need a liferaft or epirb, the severity of not having one when i really need one is itself sufficient to justify the cost.

Does the accessibility of a "safety blanket" make it more likely that people will become over reliant on them? Perhaps. But trying to justify poor decisions with facetious reasoning is a human trait too. Yes, epirbs and liferafts are pricey. No one said that sailing was cheap. It is a big, big ocean out there. If you want to choose not to spend the $ on these things, don't try to justify it by getting others to agree with you that they're either not worth it or self-defeating. Instead, go ahead take the risk, but with your eyes open to what you're doing...and be ready to accept the consequences for yourself.
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Old 31-03-2011, 20:26   #104
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Re: How Many EPIRBS and Liferafts ever Save Lives ?

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The claim that "epirbs provide a false sense of security and so cause more reckless sailing, and so you're better off with epirbs" can be applied to seatbelts in cars.

You might want to read a few of the posts above more closely. . . there has been a good discussion why seatbelts and epirbs are not analogous. In short, Epirbs allow you to abandon ship when you should not - seat belts do not.

Risk is defined as the likelihood of something bad happening multiplied by the severity of its consequences. As unlikely as it may be that I would ever need a liferaft or epirb, the severity of not having one when i really need one is itself sufficient to justify the cost.

Actually linear calculation is bad/incorrect risk analysis for long tail probability events. Look up the literature on correct risk assessment asteroid strikes. We can discuss it in great detail if you want - I used to be an insurance actuary!

Yes, epirbs and liferafts are pricey. No one said that sailing was cheap. It is a big, big ocean out there. If you want to choose not to spend the $ on these things,

No-one/anywhere has brought up the cost as an issue!

Instead, take the risk with your eyes open to what you're doing...and be ready to accept the consequences.

We walk the talk and put our lives behind our decisions. That's all we can do.
.....
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Old 31-03-2011, 20:33   #105
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Re: How Many EPIRBS and Liferafts ever Save Lives ?

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.....
The question of whether seat belts let you leave the car or not is besides the point. The point I was making was that you can characertize ANY safety device as a "security blanket" that encourages reckless behaviour...helmets, condoms,jock cups, tethers/// Seat belts was just an example. And frankly I don't really understand the relevance of the point that epirbs allow you to leave the boat and seatbelts don't. So what? Obviously your supposed to use them both in the manner they're intended to be used. Like I said just because you have an epirb doesn't mean you can then traipse off the boat into open waters when you shouldn't do so.

And yes, ultimately it is about the price (whether out of pocket, or the price of having to have the deck space for a life raft). If they were cheap, no one would think twice about having em on board and we wouldn't be having this discssion

my "linear" risk calcuation may not be accurate enough for insurance rate calculatios but it is good enough to get some clear thinking. We humans have a way of thinking silly when it comes to judging and dealing with risks. Las Vegas was built in this. Just because in 5 instances someone left their boat too soon doesn;t mean that in the 7th instance, you shuldn't use an epirb -- these are independent event, just like each flip of a coin is an independent event: even if it comes up heads 29 times in a row, you still have a 50-50 chance that in the 30th flip it;ll come up tails.

We tend to over-estimate risks that we have the least control over, and underestimate risks that we can control -- like the smoker who worries about nuclear attacks. I'm ALWAYS surprised by the number of boats that have a fancy sextant on board but not an epirb.
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