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Old 28-07-2015, 09:47   #1
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Lucky? Unlucky? Prepared? Unprepared?

Today I came across a news story about a sailor who was in the news and whose "missing at sea" was discussed in threads here on this forum in December 2014.

What follows is posted here in order to help others in the future and to emphasize suggestion that when one is sailing or boating offshore, it is smart to prepare and have or do or use:

1. EPIRB
2. Waterproof VHF
3. Wear a PFD
4. File a Float Plan or Tell Family or Friends your plans

This is not disrespect for the man, it is about respect for the sea.

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The noteworthy aspects of the case was that the sailor had been "missing at sea" for 12 days off the Hawaiian islands and had been found and rescued.
"But his boat, Malia, began taking on water, and Ingraham made a distress call for help, saying his vessel was in danger of sinking, according to the Coast Guard.

That initial distress call and a second one later in the day prompted a massive search that involved helicopters and planes and covered 12,000 square miles. But nothing turned up.

A few days later, on Dec. 1, the Coast Guard called off the search."
In brief, (as I recall) his story was that he went out sailing on his small boat (25 foot)on Thanksgiving day and a "rogue wave" hit the boat, knocked him into the water, disabled the engine AND sail.

So, he drifted for days, with little to drink or eat. No EPIRB. While his radio worked for a while, and he did get off a MAYDAY call to the USCG, it failed later and prevented him from contacting them until the very last day, when he made contact and was found.
Following his rescue, Ingraham told ABC News that he was knocked into the water when a rogue wave hit his boat. “But I had a rope so I towed myself in,” he told the network. He also told ABC that he’d survived on fish.
Marine miracle: Sailor lost at sea for 12 days rescued off coast of Hawaii - The Washington Post
He was luckily spotted and rescued. He was about 60 miles south of the island at the time and drifting further away.

So, a good sea story, with a good ending.

At the time, the forum discussions focused on the thing missing from his boat that could have had him rescued in hours: an EPIRB.

He was lucky to be found and rescued.

______________

But…the story of this man does not end there.

Unfortunately, as the April 2015 news article (link below) mentioned, he was again "lost at sea" and this time due to being on a double handed fishing boat that wrecked on a reef while returning to one of the islands. This time, the boat was smashed to bits on the rocks, and the two crew went into the water without any PFDs.

This man's friend survived by clinging to pieces of wreckage, and attempted to recover this boats "emergency radio."
"Ingraham had been aboard the Munchkin, a 34-foot-fishing vessel owned by his friend, Kenny Corder. The boat smashed into pieces just after midnight on Friday, about one mile from Lanai, Hawaii, according to the Coast Guard. No one aboard was wearing life jackets, Corder told authorities.

Corder, who saw Ingraham clinging to a life ring, swam back to the boat to get an emergency radio and make a Mayday call. Ingraham was gone when Corder returned."
Unfortunately, this sailor/boater disappeared beneath the water. No PFD.

So, a sad ending.

Lost sailor miraculously found alive is now missing again - The Washington Post
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Old 29-07-2015, 10:13   #2
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Re: Lucky? Unlucky? Prepared? Unprepared?

Good post Steady! Complacency is Survival's best friend. Over 500 capsizes, 398 boating drownings of which 337 were not wearing floatation in 2013.
BTW- a EPIRB is nice to have on your boat, but having a personal locator beacon (PLB) on your person is paramount. I always say, I want them to find ME, not my boat.
They have a PLB so small now that you can attach it to the oral inflation valve on your life vest. It broadcasts on 406MHz and works the same way as an EPIRB.
BTW- Did you know that CG aircraft can lock on to your 406MHz EPIRB and PLB from 150 miles out?
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Old 29-07-2015, 12:00   #3
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Re: Lucky? Unlucky? Prepared? Unprepared?

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Old 29-07-2015, 12:23   #4
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Re: Lucky? Unlucky? Prepared? Unprepared?

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Originally Posted by ASTBoone View Post
Good post Steady! Complacency is Survival's best friend. Over 500 capsizes, 398 boating drownings of which 337 were not wearing floatation in 2013.
BTW- a EPIRB is nice to have on your boat, but having a personal locator beacon (PLB) on your person is paramount. I always say, I want them to find ME, not my boat.
They have a PLB so small now that you can attach it to the oral inflation valve on your life vest. It broadcasts on 406MHz and works the same way as an EPIRB.
BTW- Did you know that CG aircraft can lock on to your 406MHz EPIRB and PLB from 150 miles out?
I totally agree. PLB for me!

Thanks for adding to the discussion.

I also appreciate the facts. I did not know the USCG aircraft could pick up the PLB signal from 150 miles out. Good to know!
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Old 29-07-2015, 15:01   #5
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Re: Lucky? Unlucky? Prepared? Unprepared?

Quote:
Originally Posted by ASTBoone View Post
BTW- Did you know that CG aircraft can lock on to your 406MHz EPIRB and PLB from 150 miles out?
Modern PLBs have an inbuilt GPS unit and they broadcast these coordinates via satellite. They are picked up and relayed worldwide to rescue facilities. So if you push the red button authorities know you are trouble and know where you are before a plane ever takes off.

They also broadcast a 121.5 MHz homing signal, which may be where the 150 miles come from. This was much more use in days when EPIRBs and PLBs did not have GPS capability (there are still older units in service). With modern units the homing signal can still be used to help confirm and refine the position between satellite passes, but the range is largely immaterial.
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Old 29-07-2015, 16:13   #6
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Re: Lucky? Unlucky? Prepared? Unprepared?

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Originally Posted by noelex 77 View Post
Modern PLBs have an inbuilt GPS unit and they broadcast these coordinates via satellite. They are picked up and relayed worldwide to rescue facilities. So if you push the red button authorities know you are trouble and know where you are before a plane ever takes off.

They also broadcast a 121.5 MHz homing signal, which may be where the 150 miles come from. This was much more use in days when EPIRBs and PLBs did not have GPS capability (there are still older units in service). With modern units the homing signal can still be used to help confirm and refine the position between satellite passes, but the range is largely immaterial.
Hello noelex77,
Before the 406 technology and yes, GPS, we (USCG HC-130H crews) usually picked up the 121.5 signal from about 30-40 miles out when arriving on scene. And you're right about no GPS. The 121.5 would only get us in a search area and 9 times out of 10 it was a false alert. I wish I had a dime for every hour I've spent searching for EPIRB signals.
The 406MHz signal is much clearer and precise and it will broadcast at a much longer range.
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