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Old 08-03-2009, 01:51   #1
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Tips for being rescued.

I my self am in the Coast Guard and although the next few things I am going to say may help, is unofficial and from the viewpoint of a guy in the back staring out to sea looking for signs of a vessel from a C-130. During a training mission we (aircrew of 7-8) the subject of boat color came up. Blues and even whites are the hardest to spot at altitude. White caps are roughly the same size as many vessels, which seem endless in rough conditions. Have a bright yellow or red or orange boat or dinghy. Have a radar refector of some sort. Our radars are currently getting up-graded, but when conditions are rough a small size vessel can be confused as sea clutter at night or in low vis. Of course have all the proper safety equipment as well but those are just a couple things I can think of right now; maybe this will spark a new topic. Does anyone have any experience getting rescued or comments. What do you think.
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Old 08-03-2009, 04:15   #2
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Upper hulls are white for a very good reason - this makes an enormous difference to temperature inside the boat.

In mid ocean most people stow their dinghies to avoid the probability of damage in a storm.

Having been involved in this area and run trials with HM Coastguard with both divers and ribs, even thermal imagers are not a great help.

The best item in daytime is a smoke float, deployed when the plane is in the vicinity.

Nightime is very different, and then even a torch will make a big difference. The hand held flare makes a big hit on a thermal imager.

In bad weather, even a decent radar reflector is not going to make a big hit on a radar.

I do believe that the underside of the bridgedeck on a cat should be a bright colour, but light coloured antifouling does not work as well as dark.
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Old 08-03-2009, 06:31   #3
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. Does anyone have any experience getting rescued or comments. What do you think.
How about a question:

Do you all use NVGs or thermals during night ops. I have IR strobes and IR chemlights in the ditchbag now. The reason I ask is you hear about all the searches being called at sunset.
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Old 08-03-2009, 06:38   #4
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Hmmm, Glow in the dark reflective hull paint. Can it be done?
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Old 08-03-2009, 08:26   #5
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I've read many of the accounts of people who have been stranded in life rafts or swamped boats for prolonged periods and one things that strikes me is that most of these people mentioned sighting other vessels long before they were rescued.

It seems to me the three key things in being rescued are:

1. You need to communicate to possible help that you need rescuing.

2. The people rescuing you, need to be able to locate you.

3. You need to survive until such time they arrive.

It seems to me a 406 EPIRB does both of the first two, but provides little else. Two-way voice or possibly text contact along with GPS coordinates would allow one to communicate even more, such as the number of survivors, their condition, needs, urgency, etc. Flares, bright colors and radar reflecters are useful once help is nearby, but do little to notify people farther away you are in distress.

It seems to me what one needs to survive will depend on the time until help arrives (which relates back to the first two), the environment and condition of those needing rescue.

My personal strategy so far relies heavily on preventing the need for rescue, and being able to communicate and get help to me in a timely manner should I need it. Fortunately for me, my cruising grounds consist of areas where there are plenty of VHF stations within range and the conditions are not harsh.
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Old 08-03-2009, 08:35   #6
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Stay with the boat as long as it is afloat. Demonstrated in west FL last week.
When I was in Hawaii a few years ago many of the commercial fishing boats were painted a flourecent orange. Flourecent orange streamers are available.
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Old 08-03-2009, 08:39   #7
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Quote:
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How about a question: Do you all use NVGs or thermals during night ops. I have IR strobes and IR chemlights in the ditchbag now. The reason I ask is you hear about all the searches being called at sunset.
In ocean areas, especially on a night with no moon, the normal strobes and chemlights or even a candle stand out for easy recognition. With bright moonlight or worse when you get close to the coast, the light pollution reduces the contrast. Most well developed nations will have NVG or even thermal imagery for search at night.

The less well developed countries will not have this equipment.

Low level search at sea at night has its own hazards for flying, where the reflection from the sea can be very distracting, and cause loss of perspective. A number of aircraft have been flown into the sea because of this, which may well be why searchs get called off at night.
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Old 08-03-2009, 08:46   #8
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Stay with the boat as long as it is afloat. ...
Steve
That would seem common sense, but I'm amazed at how many times I've read about people eventually being rescued because someone came across their abandoned vessel and then started looking for them. I remember reading that even the sailboat from which people were "rescued" in the prefect storm at great risk and cost was eventually found floating, relatively unharmed.
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Old 08-03-2009, 09:56   #9
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If you do not wish to paint your deck orange, get a distress flag.

http://www.boaterscatalog.com/alcien...l/flag_200.jpg

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Old 08-03-2009, 10:01   #10
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I've seen the top third of a mast painted orange. That would wave nicely, but is kind of small. Storm jib and trysail made in orange cloth either set or lashed out on deck . Visual distress flag bigger than the minimum 3'x3' size. Someone else already mentioned the streamers.

All provide continuous display not requiring a constant lookout by the crew. All but the first don't detract from the everyday looks of the boat.



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Old 08-03-2009, 11:41   #11
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In this time and age, I would opt for electronics 1st and pyrotechnics/smoke 2nd.

First is the EPIRB with it's 121 MHz home-in signal. Search party needs to have the direction finder for that.

What isn't discussed in this thread is the SART (Search And Rescue Transponder). This makes it very easy for any radar equipped search party (regular ship/yacht too) to find you (puts pattern on radar display).

3rd item is the handheld VHF. Very useful in contacting the plane, telling them they found you. We have a special emergency ACR version with lithium battery with channels 16 and 6.

Orange smoke during the day and lots of SOLAS rocket propelled parachute-flares during the night if electronics fail or for visual confirmation after electronics brought the SAR party in the neighborhood.

This is one of those situations where throwing money at the problem actually helps.

cheers,
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Old 08-03-2009, 14:55   #12
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Sartori, the W32 whose crew were rescued was a case of panicked crew. The inexperienced female crew called a mayday without the owner's knowledge. Once the Airforce showed up, they forced the skipper to abandon the boat. The boat eventually washed ashore in New Jersey, IIRC. The boat was refloated and is out cruising again after minimal repairs under different ownership.

The post gave me a good idea. I carry my rigid dinghy upside down on the foredeck. I'm going to paint the bottom with a bright colored antifouling paint. Will work the same as an orange deck without being a heat sink to the boat.
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Old 08-03-2009, 18:05   #13
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ALL GOOD RESPONSES,

1. We do not use NVG's on the C-130, we primarily rely on radar and line of sight from the guys on the flight deck and in the LH and RH scanning windows. We search at different altitudes as well, depending on the search area. The search area can depend on how good our information is about the vessels last known position and time to get on scene, winds, current etc.. GOOD NEWS, the CG helicopters use NVG almost everytime they do SAR at night. So for LRS (long range sar C-130) alot of searches are held till first light for that reason. Our new directing finding equipment is right on the money, super sensitive and although have never had first hand with it in a SAR case have heard that it points us right to the transmitting device (epirb and ELTs and even other freq but not sure). The old stuff was subject to alot or error and sometime have you going in circles.

Orange anything increases your chance as well, I can't tell you ow easy it is to see red or orange during the day, orange smoke during the day one of the best b/c we train every week with smoke flairs, so were are so acclimated to look for smoke, but I agree with NAUTICAL62 when he said
"My personal strategy so far relies heavily on preventing the need for rescue". Anyway my 2 cents.
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Old 08-03-2009, 19:00   #14
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I think ORC has been recommending or requiring "brightly colored" storm sails for some 20 years now. Red, dayglo orange, orange, anything you'd be embarrassed to show up at the yacht club with. And fluoroscien dye packs--to leave a huge bright green or red stain on the water--have been in rescue kits for way longer than that. Big rolls of dayglo orange plastic, which can be streamed to float on the water, are also available and a number of authors have suggested packing a coupe of cans (or spray bottles) of dayglo paint for use on the decks in distress situations.

Which leaves me to ask...Has anyone got dayglo storm sails? I've never asked a loft about making them up in "bright colors" or seen ay quotes for them, but with all the long-standing formal suggestions to use them, surely some lofts offer them?

Also of note--if you are using a strobe light and a helo is trying to work with you, TURN OFF THE STROBE. The flashes disorient the pilots and kill their depth perception.
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Old 08-03-2009, 19:50   #15
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Which leaves me to ask...Has anyone got dayglo storm sails? I've never asked a loft about making them up in "bright colors" or seen ay quotes for them, but with all the long-standing formal suggestions to use them, surely some lofts offer them?
Yes ours are day-glo orange and have been for many years. Orange, at least, has been readily available for at least 15-20 years that I can recall.

In response to your earlier post the OSR's (as current thru' 2009) "strongly recommend", but not require day-glo storm sails - in pink, orange or yellow (think pink is for female crews and yella for those that scare easily ).
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