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Old 04-09-2018, 10:37   #1
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Onshore safety contact procedures

Hello, I am planning to make my first ocean passage to the Marquesas from the Caribbean and I was talking to my onshore contact whose details are included in the registration of my EPIRB and PLB. She will have my passage plan and contact info.

She asked me, who should she contact if she loses contact with me and the search and rescue folks donít call her. She is based in the USA. Should she call the coast guard here in the US and let them forward any messages to other coast guards?

Thanks for any advice.

Hamish
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Old 04-09-2018, 10:47   #2
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Re: Onshore safety contact procedures

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Originally Posted by HBrew View Post
Hello, I am planning to make my first ocean passage to the Marquesas from the Caribbean and I was talking to my onshore contact whose details are included in the registration of my EPIRB and PLB. She will have my passage plan and contact info.

She asked me, who should she contact if she loses contact with me and the search and rescue folks donít call her. She is based in the USA. Should she call the coast guard here in the US and let them forward any messages to other coast guards?

Thanks for any advice.

Hamish
I don't quite understand when she means when she asks about "losing contact with you." She certainly will not be in contact with you through your EPIRB or PLB...

If you plan to be in contact from stops along the way, and you are significantly overdue, yes she can call the appropriate USCG Rescue Coordination Center.

USCG RCC Phone Numbers
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Old 04-09-2018, 10:55   #3
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Re: Onshore safety contact procedures

I have Iridium satellite and plan to send my contact an sms once a week and also I will sms her when I arrive at various stopping points.

By lose contact I mean that she doesn't receive any message from me for some time or I am significantly overdue for my next arrival.

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Old 04-09-2018, 11:10   #4
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Re: Onshore safety contact procedures

Your shore-side contact should contact the US Coast Guard if you become seriously over due for an arrival. However, none of the countries you will be transiting have significant naval, much less 'Coast Guard', patrols and the reach of the US Coast Guard is primarily limited to US coastal waters. On top of that, finding a small sailing vessel at sea is roughly equivalent to finding a needle in a hay stack.

As my wife and I make blue water passages, we know we are left to our own devices to maintain our safety and that those on shore have minimal, if any, impact on our rescue in the event of a catastrophe. Still, we send daily emails with our coordinates to our children but we know that ultimately we are responsible for our own survival skills.

Fair winds and calm seas.
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Old 04-09-2018, 14:25   #5
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Re: Onshore safety contact procedures

I understand and agree with your point about the chances of it making any difference. However, I think it makes sense to have a shore contact and to have some agreement about what to do if you disappear off the grid 😀
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Old 04-09-2018, 16:36   #6
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Re: Onshore safety contact procedures

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I understand and agree with your point about the chances of it making any difference. However, I think it makes sense to have a shore contact and to have some agreement about what to do if you disappear off the grid 😀
I think you should give them hard rules, especially if they have not been offshore passage makers. I don't think sat phones and spots, etc are reliable enough to justify calling out a rescue based on missed check ins. I tell our contacts that we will use our Eprib if we are in trouble and they should confirm our basic position when the RCC calls.
While direct Coast Guard support is not available on the passage you are doing, or much of the S. Pacific, the CG will request ships to divert their route to look for you.

If you have an SSB onboard and a Ham licence , then checking in daily with the Pacific Seafarers net is a good thing. These are guys experienced and can generally always pick up a signal in the SP. Its nice to hear a land voice when you haven't seen anyone for two weeks.
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Old 05-09-2018, 09:06   #7
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Re: Onshore safety contact procedures

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Originally Posted by HBrew View Post
I understand and agree with your point about the chances of it making any difference. However, I think it makes sense to have a shore contact and to have some agreement about what to do if you disappear off the grid 😀
Send daily SMS with updated location + course & speed, or something similar.
If you disappear without EPIRB/PLB activation at least there will be a start point to look for you.
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Old 05-09-2018, 09:34   #8
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Re: Onshore safety contact procedures

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Send daily SMS with updated location + course & speed, or something similar.
If you disappear without EPIRB/PLB activation at least there will be a start point to look for you.
That doesn't really answer the OPs question. They are planning a 3 week passage and want to know what instructions should the shoreside contacts have concerning position reports. In your suggestion should 1, 2, or 10 missed reports occur before trying to get the RCC to start a search?
My contention is that it is too frequent that these devices have issues onboard to have shore crew cry wolf. That's the Epribs job.
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Old 05-09-2018, 10:20   #9
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Re: Onshore safety contact procedures

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That doesn't really answer the OPs question. They are planning a 3 week passage and want to know what instructions should the shoreside contacts have concerning position reports. In your suggestion should 1, 2, or 10 missed reports occur before trying to get the RCC to start a search?
My contention is that it is too frequent that these devices have issues onboard to have shore crew cry wolf. That's the Epribs job.
In my experience Iridium is highly reliable and I have sent without problems daily reports in one Atlantic crossing and a long Pacific leg.
If no message received at home - the shore person should try and make satphone contact.
2 days without contact in my opinion are enough reason to worry.
The days of Bernard Moitessier are over😃
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Old 05-09-2018, 17:27   #10
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Re: Onshore safety contact procedures

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In my experience Iridium is highly reliable and I have sent without problems daily reports in one Atlantic crossing and a long Pacific leg.
If no message received at home - the shore person should try and make satphone contact.
2 days without contact in my opinion are enough reason to worry.
The days of Bernard Moitessier are over😃
That's a much clearer answer to the OP.
While your setup was reliable for you, I'm sure you can think of a number of ways where it not functioning does not constitute an emergency. Almost all the sat phones and sat communicators are not waterproof. Most require an external antenna or being held outside. Charging issues on some are common. Just plain fatigue and forgetfulness by the crew might be cause of no messages, along with operator errors.
I can't see having the shoreside contact call out an emergency responders based on missing messages. We've seen enough of these cases come up on CF. If you wish to declare an emergency offshore, then pull the Eprib red button.
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Old 05-09-2018, 18:15   #11
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Re: Onshore safety contact procedures

I did a Atlantic circle 2017-2018. We were sending messages to family and they could track us with the Inreach. Spouses of crew members were told in no uncertain terms that if they didn't receive any messages or tracking info at some point, NOT to call out the Coast Guard. I tried to impress on them we had 2 epirbs (one brand new with GPS built in) one personal epirb, 1 inreach with . emergency button, and an Icom 802 SSB and we would declare an emergency if needed. It took more than one conversation to get that point across to everybody.
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Old 05-09-2018, 18:33   #12
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Re: Onshore safety contact procedures

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I did a Atlantic circle 2017-2018. We were sending messages to family and they could track us with the Inreach. Spouses of crew members were told in no uncertain terms that if they didn't receive any messages or tracking info at some point, NOT to call out the Coast Guard. I tried to impress on them we had 2 epirbs (one brand new with GPS built in) one personal epirb, 1 inreach with . emergency button, and an Icom 802 SSB and we would declare an emergency if needed. It took more than one conversation to get that point across to everybody.
The above and all the other posts which advocate NOT calling any authorities should the expected message not come through are very good advice. Especially the point about being very firm and specific with family members who in the real world tend to over react to lack of comms. We've been victim of this ourselves back before EPiRBs were around. A fellow cruiser who was landbased for the moment on Hawaii called the CG when we were 8 HOURS past an ETA given in a ham contact two days prior, and at the end of a slow passage from Bora Bora. Imagine our embarrassment when we were moored alongside the CG boat in Radio Bay a few hours later when we did arrive. Fortunately they had not started a search or exerted much effort as yet, so no unnecessary expenses had arisen.

What your shore contact SHOULD do is keep at least rough records of the reports she does receive. Then, should you activate your EPIRB and the RCC contacts her to see if it is from a reasonable position she can confirm it. This info will help the RCC and others to determine that it is likely a real hit and not a false alarm and speed up the response.

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Old 05-09-2018, 21:31   #13
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Re: Onshore safety contact procedures

I set up a specific communication schedule. If I were to miss xx number of check ins the shore based person would contact the USCG and provide my last know position. They would be able to provide them with a log of my course and speed. I also provide weather conditions to my contact and told him if we were making better or slower time than expected. It was 48 hours for me to miss check in before the person would contact the USCG. We were sending a message every 12 hours. I gave them all of the phone numbers need for the search and rescue center and next port harbor master.
Your shore communication should have some knowledge of sailing and the route you plan on taking.
I also have an Iridum and neve had a problem connecting. I am told the newer u its are better. I also have a mast mounted antenna.
My 2 cents.
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Old 06-09-2018, 03:31   #14
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Re: Onshore safety contact procedures

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That's a much clearer answer to the OP.
While your setup was reliable for you, I'm sure you can think of a number of ways where it not functioning does not constitute an emergency. Almost all the sat phones and sat communicators are not waterproof. Most require an external antenna or being held outside. Charging issues on some are common. Just plain fatigue and forgetfulness by the crew might be cause of no messages, along with operator errors.
I can't see having the shoreside contact call out an emergency responders based on missing messages. We've seen enough of these cases come up on CF. If you wish to declare an emergency offshore, then pull the Eprib red button.
I do agree that an Iridium (or Inmarsat) satphone is delicate. However, it is exactly the skipper's responsibility to take good care of it, including charging and keeping dry. If are not sure, you may add another piece of equipment like Inreach.
I think that the latest Iridium is waterproof (nor sure).
Fatigue and forgetfulness should not be an issue. On a long crossing you need a good daily schedule of tasks to perform, including your daily report back to shore. And, if you do miss a daily contact, I have suggested that the shore contact should initiate the call.
What remains, is what several people already addressed: how long should you wait before alerting authorities. I did suggest 48 hours, but the period may/should be a decision of the skipper and the home contact should abide by it even if worried.
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Old 06-09-2018, 04:05   #15
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Re: Onshore safety contact procedures

EPIRB contacts are used the other way round actually. Should you activate the beacon, the SAR authority will contact the people you put on the EPIRB list.


The same applies to say Garmin InReach device in its Mayday function. Except that with an InReach device and its alternatives the SAR body simply tries to call you up first. EPIRB does not have this functionality yet. This is why they call your shore contacts.


Make your shore contacts out of your sailing buddies and pick out the more reasonable and experienced ones.



You truly do not want shoreside non-sailors (e.g. family members) to start panick and ask SAR for any action. This happened before quite a lot.



If you have a dire emergency onboard, you are not calling your shore team either, you are calling a SAR center. Assuming you are on the sat network or closer inshore (mobile phones, etc.).



Avoid including shore non sailors in the chain, they tend to create or add confusion and occupy the resources that may be required elsewhere.


Cheers,
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