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Old 21-05-2012, 10:26   #16
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Re: Can you Buy Safety

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Originally Posted by Rakuflames View Post
If you buy a drogue are you buying safety? How about the storm sail I'm going to get? Am I "buying safety," or am I just using ordinary prudence which happens to involve an expenditure? I would say the second.
Exactly
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Old 21-05-2012, 10:44   #17
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Re: Can you Buy Safety

after having seen the 27 catalina named my sweet lord that was a successful circumnavigator, i say, is the souls on board more than the equipment contained on board or the boat that is the key--they returned to port of los angeles in 1990.
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Old 21-05-2012, 10:45   #18
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Re: Can you Buy Safety

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Originally Posted by Rakuflames View Post
If you buy a drogue are you buying safety? How about the storm sail I'm going to get? Am I "buying safety," or am I just using ordinary prudence which happens to involve an expenditure? I would say the second.
I think it very much depends on whether you have "integrated" it with your Chartplotter. Or EPIRB
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Old 21-05-2012, 11:01   #19
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Re: Can you Buy Safety

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Originally Posted by zeehag View Post
after having seen the 27 catalina named my sweet lord that was a successful circumnavigator, i say, is the souls on board more than the equipment contained on board or the boat that is the key--they returned to port of los angeles in 1990.

i still argue that it was both. Would they have done as well in a bathtub? On a boat with degraded rigging? On a boat with old, worn sails? On a boat with no anchors? All the skills in the world won't help them sail if the mast is in the water because they didn't keep the rigging sound.
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Old 22-05-2012, 06:31   #20
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Re: Can you Buy Safety

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Originally Posted by Rakuflames View Post
All the skills in the world won't help them sail if the mast is in the water because they didn't keep the rigging sound.
Exactly the point. I really think we're saying the same thing, just saying it differently.

The item/device/object/whatever that you buy does not--in and of itself--"make you safer." It is only when you use it in a prudent and appropriate fashion, along with all of your other skills, that you can then increase your safety factor (what I am referring to as "making yourself safer"). Hence, there are items that you can buy that can be used to make yourself safer, but there is nothing that you can buy that automatically, all by itself, simply through the act of buying it, makes you safer.

And I think that's an important difference that we need to be sure newbies understand (and I'm quite sure that not all of them DO understand the difference!). It's a fine thing to buy EPIRBs, and liferafts, and integrated chartplotters, and what-not. All of these can be useful and convenient. All of them can be used to make yourself safer. In the end, though, you still need the basic sailing and seamanship skills that have kept voyagers safe for hundreds of years. Without those basic skills, all the fancy gadgets in the world are just a waste of money.
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Old 22-05-2012, 07:44   #21
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Re: Can you Buy Safety

I avoid calling things like liferafts / EPIRBs safety equipment. The reason is these and many other 'safety' items onboard are emergency equipment, not safety equipment.

Now on to the question of 'can we buy safety?'.

Yes, we can. By investing in quality, seaworthy boats with well attached rudders and ballasts, with strong and reliable rig, with sails that let us drive in all kinds of weather ... also by investing in our seagoing skills as well as in our physical and mental strength.

When we need our liferafts and EPIRBS is already 'behind safety', when things go wrong and there are some who claim that things go wrong more often with sailors who load their boats full of 'safety equipment' thinking this is what will buy them safety.

b.
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Old 22-05-2012, 09:29   #22
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Re: Can you Buy Safety

I run an outdoor program and teach an outdoor leadership class. I'll give my views on safety and say how I think it related to your chapter segment.

Safety: An interaction of environment, gear and human knowledge/action.

I think safety is largely a product of the interaction of these three variables, and there can be trade-offs between the three, though those trade-offs have limits. All three variables can be influenced by paying to change those variables.

A novice with little sailing experience and no safety gear can take a sunfish out on a small lake in 6 knots of wind, 75 degree air and 80 degree water and be fairly safe. To go out on that same lake in the same boat when the air is 40 degrees, the water 50 and it's blowing 25 knots, and maintain a similar degree of safety requires a higher level of skill/action and/or gear. A wet suit and PFD will increase the time someone can safely be in the water. Having the skills to never capsize and/or quickly right the boat and get back in is also a means to increase safety, so there can be trade-offs between gear and skill. Using a GPS to navigate from Florida to the Bahamas, does decrease the need to calculate offsets accurately, or with passage making decrease the need to know how to use a sextant.

In terms of safety being bought - all three of those factors can be purchased to some degree.

You can spend money to fly to a cruising area where it's warm and the sailing is easy with fewer hazards.

You can buy gear that increases safety. A GPS, a first aid kid, replacing that worn rigging and buying a more appropriate anchor are all ways to increase safety, by spending money.

One can also increase their knowledge and skill by spending money. Taking a sailing course, an engine maintenance course or a first aid class are all ways one increases their safety by spending money to increase their skills and ability.

Where I certainly agree with your points is that the trade-offs between gear and knowledge/action have their limits. A first aid kit does no good if you don't know how to use it. It most certainly does a dead person no good, and if nobody ever gets hurt due to your preventative action, you never need a first aid kit. In addition to trading off safety gear for safety knowledge, this relates directly to trading off incident avoidance with incident treatment.

Incident avoidance vs. incident treatment:

Applying knowledge to action such as properly preparing to keep people safe is means to avoid an incident from happening. In risk management terms, this reduces the frequency (or odds) of incidents, not the severity. First aid, man overboard rescues, etc. are all about treating an incident that has already happened so as to reduce the severity or consequence of that incident. While both are important, I think many place too much emphasis on incident treatment instead of incident avoidance. I see many outdoor organizations that will spend 10 days training staff as wilderness first responders, but spend only a few hours on avoiding accidents in the first place. In my opinion, one of the best ways to increase safety and manage risk, is to stop a loss or injury from even happening in the first place. Its good to know how to do a man overboard rescue, better yet to never have anyone go overboard. In over 20 years of running outdoor programming, we've never had an injury that couldn't have been treated just as efficiently with common sense. However, I'm aware of many examples of accidents being avoided due to the awareness and actions of leaders.

Regulation vs. Education (safety policies vs. accident avoidance skills)


One way many try to influence the human action element of safety is through rules and regulations. Wearing a PFD, being harnessed in whenever leaving the cockpit, and all the coast guard regs are examples. While rules or safety practices are certainly useful, I think they are often a poor substitute for sound judgement, proper preparation and situational awareness.

I remember after my first solo trip to the Bahamas being scolded by another cruiser for being unsafe because I did not have a man-over board pole. I was harnessed in the entire time, and going solo, saw little use for a man-overboard pole. Who exactly did he think would throw it to me I asked? He on the other hand had a pole, but went out on deck at night, unharnessed while his wife slept below. By his thinking however, since he was observing the rule of having a man overboard pole, he was being safe and I was not.

Compared to many forms of recreation, the environmental factors when sailing or doing other outdoor pursuits are constantly changing. Many rules or practices may fit one set of circumstances but not another and I think too many rules can sometimes even get in the way of things like situational awareness and gaining the experience which allows one to make good decisions in the future.

___________________________________

Having done internships or exchange programs at some outdoor centers outside the U.S., one thing I've noticed is Americans tend favor accident treatment and a reliance of stuff for safety more than many others. Many also fail to realize that while safety items may reduce risk, every item also comes with disadvantages. Every dollar spent on a piece of gear that wasn't used, could have been spent on something else. Gear can be tripped over, broken or lost, not so much with actions and awareness. Gear that's not necessary adds weight, takes up space and can make it more difficult to find the things one really needs.

To address your points: Yes, money can help buy safety. It can buy training, it can replace worn gear, it can purchase safety gear and it can potentially even change the safety of the environment. However, I agree with your point that purchasing gear to be safe only goes so far. There's no substitute for knowledge and action.
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Old 22-05-2012, 10:16   #23
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Re: Can you Buy Safety

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Originally Posted by barnakiel View Post
I avoid calling things like liferafts / EPIRBs safety equipment. The reason is these and many other 'safety' items onboard are emergency equipment, not safety equipment.

Now on to the question of 'can we buy safety?'.

Yes, we can. By investing in quality, seaworthy boats with well attached rudders and ballasts, with strong and reliable rig, with sails that let us drive in all kinds of weather ... also by investing in our seagoing skills as well as in our physical and mental strength.

When we need our liferafts and EPIRBS is already 'behind safety', when things go wrong and there are some who claim that things go wrong more often with sailors who load their boats full of 'safety equipment' thinking this is what will buy them safety.

b.
Very well put

I think focusing on "safety" items, which could very well save your life one day, should take place only after you done everything you can think of to make sure you won´t need them in the first place.
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Old 22-05-2012, 11:00   #24
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Re: Can you Buy Safety

I think Ra-flames and L&L are talking apples and oranges. Money and experience are two different things. To be truly safe one needs a compound where he can live optimally and experience the world from cyberspace. We choose not to do that, besides that costs money. That we choose adventure in our lives, that entails risk. Sometimes lots of risk. As I read about the adventures of L&L sometimes they take my breath away. Being in a hurricane in less than 30 feet LOA without an aux! That takes courage. The equipment needed to safely confront that risk also costs money. I think you might be able to fudge the time (aka experience) a little if you have lots of money, and if you have lots of time you can surely cut down on the money. In the end however, I agree with my luddite heros: the safest journey is with an experienced crew and a well founded boat (in that order)!
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Old 23-05-2012, 02:50   #25
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Re: Can you Buy Safety

There's also a question akin to moral hazard.

For example:

Most people think an auxiliary engine is a safety aid, but I'm inclined to believe that an auxiliary on a far-ranging sailing vessel is unlikely to be reliable enough that you can be sure it will be available under emergency conditions.

The unavailability of the engine - to sailors who have thought of it as an indispensable safety aid - will make things much worse in these circumstances than the same situation would be for sailors who didn't have one in the first place.
Not just because the latter would have developed other coping strategies, but also because distraction, disappointment and deprivation make for bad decision-making.

I could argue that the 'safety item' in question might actually decrease safety when the chips are down - this certainly happened in the early days of satellite navigators, when they were somewhat temperamental.

One "middle ground" option is (say) to treat an item as a "treat", to be rolled out on special occasions such as, in the case of an auxiliary engine, crowded company -- but in the more general case to address problems another way (by all means, with the engine ticking over in neutral, if pushing the envelope/easing into the idea).

Admittedly I'm inviting incredulity with this proposition, but the most fun I ever have on sailing yachts is when there's no engine, or none that works.

There's nothing like planning and executing a crisp manoeuvre when it's truly consequential, and the things you learn along the way are beyond price.
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Old 23-05-2012, 03:54   #26
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Quote:
Originally Posted by barnakiel
I avoid calling things like liferafts / EPIRBs safety equipment. The reason is these and many other 'safety' items onboard are emergency equipment, not safety equipment.

Now on to the question of 'can we buy safety?'.

Yes, we can. By investing in quality, seaworthy boats with well attached rudders and ballasts, with strong and reliable rig, with sails that let us drive in all kinds of weather ... also by investing in our seagoing skills as well as in our physical and mental strength.

When we need our liferafts and EPIRBS is already 'behind safety', when things go wrong and there are some who claim that things go wrong more often with sailors who load their boats full of 'safety equipment' thinking this is what will buy them safety.

b.
Barn's comments sum up my experience, both in the sailing world and other "off the grid" travels. Emergency equipment is different than safety equipment. If you're stepping up into that life raft (something we don't carry yet, and likely won't when we head off shore) then all safety systems have already failed. Part of being safe is how to avoid ending up in an emergent situation.

For me, the best way to "buy" safety is to continually enhance my skills, maintain and strengthen my boat's systems, and take the time to add chits to my black box. For me, a key aspect of traveling safely is understanding my own limitations, and respecting the land (or water) that I am traveling in. All the skills, gadgets and knowledge in the world will not make me safe if I've left my wisdom and humility back on shore.
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Old 23-05-2012, 04:01   #27
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Re: Can you Buy Safety

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Originally Posted by Andrew Troup View Post
There's also a question akin to moral hazard.

For example:

Most people think an auxiliary engine is a safety aid, but I'm inclined to believe that an auxiliary on a far-ranging sailing vessel is unlikely to be reliable enough that you can be sure it will be available under emergency conditions.

The unavailability of the engine - to sailors who have thought of it as an indispensable safety aid - will make things much worse in these circumstances than the same situation would be for sailors who didn't have one in the first place.
Not just because the latter would have developed other coping strategies, but also because distraction, disappointment and deprivation make for bad decision-making.

I could argue that the 'safety item' in question might actually decrease safety when the chips are down - this certainly happened in the early days of satellite navigators, when they were somewhat temperamental.

One "middle ground" option is (say) to treat an item as a "treat", to be rolled out on special occasions such as, in the case of an auxiliary engine, crowded company -- but in the more general case to address problems another way (by all means, with the engine ticking over in neutral, if pushing the envelope/easing into the idea).

Admittedly I'm inviting incredulity with this proposition, but the most fun I ever have on sailing yachts is when there's no engine, or none that works.

There's nothing like planning and executing a crisp manoeuvre when it's truly consequential, and the things you learn along the way are beyond price.
Have to agree with all your points, especially the last.

This is especially where I see the dangers of chartplotters. They are a very fine tool in the hands of the skilled navigator but unless one has HAD to navigate using only paper, then most folk (but not all ) rarely learn the skills of manual plotting - simply because there is no reason to when the CP is doing it all for you.
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Old 23-05-2012, 04:11   #28
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Quote:
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Have to agree with all your points, especially the last.

This is especially where I see the dangers of chartplotters. They are a very fine tool in the hands of the skilled navigator but unless one has HAD to navigate using only paper, then most folk (but not all ) rarely learn the skills of manual plotting - simply because there is no reason to when the CP is doing it all for you.
"the dangers of chartpllotters?"

Can we dial the rhetoric down a bit. I bet more booms injure people than chartplotters.

Chartplotters don't kill people. Navigators kill people.

To be honest, if your chartplotter quits and you can't find a shore in an otherwise capable boat, you are an idiot.
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Old 23-05-2012, 04:34   #29
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Re: Can you Buy Safety

Back to the original question.

I have attended many days of "safety" training over the years regarding safety in the workplace, minesites and off-shore oil and gas. The general consensus is that safety is enhanced by controlling the risk by using the most effective options first and the least effective options last. I see no reason why the same process should not be used when cruising.

The hierarchy of controlling risks from the most effective to the least is:
1. Eliminate the risk.
2. Substitute the risk item for a less risky alternative item
3. Engineer the problem to reduce the risk
4. Isolate the potential problem
5. Carry out administrative actions to reduce the risk
6. Use personal protective equipment.

I suggest that more people spend most money on the last item and it is the least effective option - so one can't buy safety effectively.

For instance, let's take falling overboard. Some ideas might be:

Don't go sailing (or stay below ), item 1 - free

Stay in the cockpit by having all leads coming to the cockpit, items 2 & 3 combined - cheap(ish)

Fit good lifelines, handholds, have clean decks etc, items 3 & 4 combined - reasonable once only cost.

Have rules about when crew can leave the cockpit, item 5 - free

Use of tethers, self inflating PFDs, PLBs, MOB poles, MOB alarms, liferings, lifeslings etc, all item 6, all expensive and generally considered the least effective way of reducing the risk.

However let us not forget that many (including me) go sailing to escape the cotton wool nanny state of modern life so a bit of risk is a refreshing thing.

YMMV.
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Old 23-05-2012, 04:42   #30
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Re: Can you Buy Safety

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Originally Posted by Ex-Calif View Post
"the dangers of chartpllotters?"

Can we dial the rhetoric down a bit. I bet more booms injure people than chartplotters.

Chartplotters don't kill people. Navigators kill people.

To be honest, if your chartplotter quits and you can't find a shore in an otherwise capable boat, you are an idiot.
Ahh true re the rhetoric - I could have worded that better, trying to say something like "the hidden downside of CPs" or suchlike, - my bad.

As to finding the shore, that is not the hard part for the skilled navigator or the idiot. The hard part is making a safe arrival - akin to suggesting that every aircraft that ever took off, always lands somewhere, somehow; however it is better to be in driven by the skilled operator (and in Ex-C's case, maintained by the skilled engineer )
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