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Old 01-04-2011, 08:23   #121
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Re: How Many EPIRBS and Liferafts ever Save Lives ?

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Originally Posted by estarzinger View Post
Quote:
Who is safer?
Answer #1: we don't know. But training surely helps. Training in handling extreme emergency situations helps in all regards because the human is typically not so rational in such situations.

Answer #2: Fortuately it does not matter so much because sailing is so safe

Answer #3 it's the wrong question. Safety is not the be all and end all objective. If safety is your be all and end all objective, you should stay home. The question might better be "in which case I get more from the cruising life?"
Well thinking about it some more, it was a trick question -- because we haven't really defined what we mean by safety.

If by safety we just mean a reduction in the incidence of accidents, obviously liferafts and EPIRBs make no contribution at all to prevention of accidents, and may actually increase the incidence of accidents due to the "safety blanket effect" (the point of this thread, I guess).

I also agree (quite strongly) that we do not go to sea to be safe. With risk comes reward.
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Old 01-04-2011, 09:31   #122
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Re: How Many EPIRBS and Liferafts ever Save Lives ?

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Originally Posted by Feral Cement View Post
PS - I carry all the safety gear I can afford and stow. Accidents do happen.
Just to carry that a little further - its a tangent but perhaps a useful one . . .

-How many have pulled and inspected all their thru-hulls and hoses this year?
-How many have pulled their rudders and inspected the stock and bearing/seal and checked to see there is no water in the blade?
- How many have inspected/replaced the various rubber parts on their fuel system and engine?
-How many have inspected all their electrical connections, especially inside the shore power plug recently?
- How many have opened and cleaned their fuel tanks?

Maintaining these basic systems is the essential step in carrying 'safety gear'.

- how many have taken the sort of training that catamount has mentioned (first aid, water survival, fire fighting, flares and rafts)? Knowing what to do and how to do it is critical in surviving.

- How many have automatic fire extinguishers in their engine rooms?
- How many have absolutely oversized and best designed anchors?
- How many have bow crash boxes and fore/aft water tight bulkheads?
-How many have dorades and/or hatches that will down flood if capsized

These sorts of things are 'the first line of defense safety gear'.

These are the sorts of things that will in fact make you significantly safer at sea.

If you have not done these things, why not?

Is it possible that some of you are not doing these things because you already feel you have done your 'safety duty' because you have insurance and carry a pile of 'safety gear'?
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Old 01-04-2011, 09:42   #123
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Re: How Many EPIRBS and Liferafts ever Save Lives ?

Regarding a couple of issues raised at various points in the thread:

Quote:
Originally Posted by estarzinger View Post
..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....
Agreed. However regarding EPIRBs, as has also been mentioned, anyone with a radio and a GPS already has the capability of calling the nautical equivelent of 911. An EPIRB is just a refinement of that.

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..ABS does in fact reduces the likelihood of accidents in many driving situations. However, people then get used to that and drive more aggressively, which leads to more accidents in the situations where ABS does not help. Those two effects net out - people consume all the extra 'safety'....
Then might we also say that having 3 watertight bulkheads also encourages one to sail more agressively, or perhaps sail into more dangerous waters?

For the record, I have neither a liferaft or an EPIRB. However, I don't agree with the generalization that having those devices automatically changes one's behaviour in an emergency. People are all different, and react in different ways, based on training, experience, and individual mental makeup.
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Old 01-04-2011, 11:24   #124
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Re: How Many EPIRBS and Liferafts ever Save Lives ?

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Quote:
Originally Posted by estarzinger
..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....
Agreed. However regarding EPIRBs, as has also been mentioned, anyone with a radio and a GPS already has the capability of calling the nautical equivelent of 911. An EPIRB is just a refinement of that.
The radio is capable "calling 911" only if you are in radio range of a responder. The EPIRB is satellite-based and effectively global, which allows people to carry with them the 911-mentality out on the open seas well beyond the range of VHF and coastal rescue resources.
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Old 01-04-2011, 12:01   #125
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Re: How Many EPIRBS and Liferafts ever Save Lives ?

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Then might we also say that having 3 watertight bulkheads also encourages one to sail more agressively, or perhaps sail into more dangerous waters?

Perhaps. But what I have learned from this discussion is that there are two types of safety blankets. Some safety gear gives you a direct operational ability to take additional risks (ABS and EPRIBS) and the statistics seem to show that people use that capability to 'consume' the incremental safety, while other gear is passive (Seatbelts and fire extenguishers) and does not give you a new operational capability but merely makes the outcome of a bad incident better. And statistics seem to show that people do not 'consume' this type of incremental safety.

I would guess that ice strengthened bows would encourage people to a new operational capability and to take more risks, but that water tight bulkheads would not. But I do agree with your point that different people will respond and react differently.
Regarding safety, I always thought this quote was spot on:
Eric Lee, Secretary of the Naval Lifesaving Committee (UK), summed up his vast experience with, "Men with a minimum of equipment, but with a strong will to live, have survived for long periods, whereas other men with ample equipment have succumbed in less."
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Old 01-04-2011, 13:08   #126
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Re: How Many EPIRBS and Liferafts ever Save Lives ?

I would try Tight Rope Walking with a net...I would not with out.
I think I agree with the premise that having these safety devices on board may influence ones decisions.
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Old 01-04-2011, 13:25   #127
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Re: How Many EPIRBS and Liferafts ever Save Lives ?

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Originally Posted by estarzinger View Post
Have you been in many situation where your life and the lives of those around you depends on what decision and actions you make in the next few seconds?

The typical human reaction in such situations is NOT rational - its Freeze, Flight or Fight. It comes from deep in the brain and not the logical/rational part. With training and experience you can and do get more rational in such situations, but what you say you will do in such situations while sitting at your computer is often vastly different than what you will actually do.
yes I have.

Taking to a liferaft is not a "flight" response. Fight or Flight has to do with chemical response in the brain, it has nothing to do with rationality, intelligence, or responsiveness.

If you are aware that a liferaft is your one and only last resort, you will respond to the situation in exactly the same manner you would without one. The only difference will be that once you've exhausted all your options, and the boat is still going down despite your efforts, you still might just survive...

Other than your willingness to die for your boat, the other major flaw with your logic is that you're assuming you will be completely healthy and physically capable of saving your boat at the time of this hypothetical incident... That's a pretty big assumption. Would your crew/family choose to go down with the ship without you there to make that decision for them? Would you deliberately choose to NOT give them a second option?

There are those who have/will view a liferaft as a 911 device, but its simply not. Its a last resort. And when you're on a boat, its the ONLY last resort that will ever be available.

I certainly don't mind if other people choose to go down the ship, go ahead But to suggest that not having a liferaft is somehow "safer" is irrational and irresponsible. The type of people who require "911" devices will continue to be that type of person with or without a liferaft... The other side of that coin is those people who will fight to save their boat will continue to be that type person, with or without a liferaft.

With that said, I probably won't have a liferaft anytime soon, because they're too expensive. I'll have to make due with a "life boat" instead. I hear they're easier to sail anyway

an Eprib is an entirely different story...
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Old 01-04-2011, 13:37   #128
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Re: How Many EPIRBS and Liferafts ever Save Lives ?

Quote:
Originally Posted by estarzinger View Post
...
Can you please show a study, not sponsored by the "ABS eduction alliance", which demonstrates that*?
* "that" = In fact study after study has shown that ABS has reduced accidents or the severity of accidents.

An Australian study, by Monash University Accident Research Centre, found that ABS:
- Reduced the risk of multiple vehicle crashes by 18 percent
- Reduced the risk of run-off-road crashes by 35 percent

"Effectiveness of ABS and Vehicle Stability Control Systems" ➥ http://www.monash.edu.au/muarc/repor...ectiveness.pdf

Quote:
Originally Posted by estarzinger View Post
Regarding safety, I always thought this quote was spot on:
Eric Lee, Secretary of the Naval Lifesaving Committee (UK), summed up his vast experience with, "Men with a minimum of equipment, but with a strong will to live, have survived for long periods, whereas other men with ample equipment have succumbed in less."
About as meaningful as: “Your results may vary.”
As strong man may lift more weight “bare handed”, than a weak stupid man with (but unable to operate) a 100 ton crane.
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Old 01-04-2011, 14:11   #129
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Re: How Many EPIRBS and Liferafts ever Save Lives ?

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Would your crew/family choose to go down with the ship without you there to make that decision for them?

Yes, She has made that decision.

The type of people who require "911" devices will continue to be that type of person with or without a liferaft... The other side of that coin is those people who will fight to save their boat will continue to be that type person, with or without a liferaft.

OK you are saying that you don't think having the raft on board will change or effect behavior. We can agree to fundamentally disagree on that. I have seen enough first hand cases of people who have gotten in rafts when they did not need to, and obviously could not have if they did not have the raft, to believe the empirical evidence supports my position on this.
Quote:
Originally Posted by GordMay View Post

"Effectiveness of ABS and Vehicle Stability Control Systems" ➥ http://www.monash.edu.au/muarc/repor...ectiveness.pdf

So Gord, I read this report and it seems to support the position that ABS does not clearly provide "incremental net safety". The summary says (and I quote exactly):

"The findings from this review were somewhat inconclusive. Some evidence suggests that vehicles with equipped with an antilock breaking system (ABS) were involved in fewer crashed with opposing, adjacent, or same direction vehicles compared to non-ABS fitted cars but were over involved in run-off-the-road crashes." . . . It goes on to say "ABS have been acclaimed as providing significant improvements in braking and hence crash and injury reduction on our roads. Yet, the real-world crash evidence to support these claims is thin and equivocal" . . . and then "The overriding conclusion from the evidence examined is that ABS seems to be effective in reducing some types of crashes but can lead to increases in others."
My reading of that report suggests it is support for the twin conclusions that ABS does in fact change driver behavor and they seem to on average consume the safety benefit.

Quote:
Originally Posted by GordMay View Post

About as meaningful as: “Your results may vary.”
The point was that in both the mountains and on the oceans 'will to survive' was much more important than 'safety equipment' in determining the final outcome. I thought that was relevant to the discussion. I guess you did not
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Old 01-04-2011, 14:55   #130
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Re: How Many EPIRBS and Liferafts ever Save Lives ?

Funny so many people in one place half of them thinking life rafts and EPIRBs are safety. Let alone the fact that the OP asked a completely different question.

I will disappoint some: liferafts and EPIRBS are rescue, NOT safety.

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Old 01-04-2011, 14:59   #131
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Re: How Many EPIRBS and Liferafts ever Save Lives ?

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Originally Posted by estarzinger View Post
OK you are saying that you don't think having the raft on board will change or effect behavior. We can agree to fundamentally disagree on that. I have seen enough first hand cases of people who have gotten in rafts when they did not need to, and obviously could not have if they did not have the raft, to believe the empirical evidence supports my position on this......
No, I'm saying those people, that you've witnessed, are the type of people who would not be able to "save" the ship if it were sinking, even if they did not have a liferaft to "force" them to behave differently.

The empirical evidence only shows that some people can't cope while others can. It does nothing to prove those people would have acted differently without a liferaft. Obviously if the ship didn't sink, they would have survived, but the fact that they abandoned a vessel that was not sinking only supports my theory that they are not the 'surviving' type to begin with...

The problem, of course, is most people have never been in (or trained for) a real survival situation prior to going to sea, so they don't actually know which type of person they are, they just assume they are one or the other. usually the one...

Survival 101 is about having options. We can argue all day about which options are better than others. But you are suggesting that having one less option gives you a greater chance of survival. That, we'll have to disagree on
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Old 01-04-2011, 15:14   #132
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Re: How Many EPIRBS and Liferafts ever Save Lives ?

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. But you are suggesting that having one less option (may) gives you a greater chance of survival. That, we'll have to disagree on
That's well stated . . . and we can disagree on it.

If having one less option forces you to make the right decision (in most situations) and NOT pick the bad option, then your chances of survival are better without the bad option.

One slight quibble . . . I have repeadly (I think 6 times now) said that I don't know, and I don't think anyone does, which way the the chance of survival is greater. But I will add now that I am quite sure if the owner/skipper has put the raft ahead of the long list of other more fundemental 'safety concerns' I listed that he is less safe:

- how many have taken the sort of training that catamount has mentioned (first aid, water survival, fire fighting, flares and rafts)? Knowing what to do and how to do it is critical in surviving.-How many have pulled and inspected all their thru-hulls and hoses this year?
-How many have pulled their rudders and inspected the stock and bearing/seal and checked to see there is no water in the blade?
- How many have inspected/replaced the various rubber parts on their fuel system and engine?
-How many have inspected all their electrical connections, especially inside the shore power plug recently?
- How many have opened and cleaned their fuel tanks?
- How many have automatic fire extinguishers in their engine rooms?
- How many have absolutely oversized and best designed anchors?
- How many have bow crash boxes and fore/aft water tight bulkheads?
-How many have dorades and/or hatches that will not down flood if capsized
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Old 01-04-2011, 15:20   #133
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Re: How Many EPIRBS and Liferafts ever Save Lives ?

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the OP asked a completely different question.
Well Sven seemed happy with the direction of the discussion, but if you want to go back to his original question - I know about two dozen cruisers who have gotten into rafts and/or used Eprirbs over the past 5 years. With 20/20 hindsight 3 of those were good decisions and 20 some bad decisions (eg the situation was clearly save-able, with 20/20 hindsight). Two of the three were clearly 'consuming their safety margin' in extreme cruising.

edit - one of the three was racing, so if you want to limit it to cruisers it would be 2 were good decisions.
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Old 01-04-2011, 15:38   #134
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Re: How Many EPIRBS and Liferafts ever Save Lives ?

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edit - one of the three was racing, so if you want to limit it to cruisers it would be 2 were good decisions.
Yep. I think it is different when racing. Racing you want to win. In the process you sometimes break the boat. I think racing boats would carry more RESCUE equipment than cruising boats.
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Old 01-04-2011, 15:47   #135
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Re: How Many EPIRBS and Liferafts ever Save Lives ?

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Yep. I think it is different when racing. Racing you want to win. In the process you sometimes break the boat. I think racing boats would carry more RESCUE equipment than cruising boats.
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Yes, a few years ago I thought about entering my boat in the Newport to Bermuda race and I talked to a number of people about how to prepare but I most remember the chairman of the race committee telling me he did not think I it was something I would want to do because 'racing was being unseamanlike as quickly as possible'. He was obviously using hyperbolic language but the point he was trying to make was clear.

Although . . . there have been zero rescues in the race in recent memories. Its amazing how safe even offshore racing is. My observation is that their boats do tend to be better prepared than the average cruising boat on the sort of stuff on my 'basic safety' list.
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