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Old 23-05-2012, 04:52   #31
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Re: Can you Buy Safety

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Originally Posted by denverd0n View Post
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.

A lot of newbies won't understand the difference. I am close enough to the time that I was taking substantial risks any time I left the dock to remember well.
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Old 23-05-2012, 05:45   #32
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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.
I like this statement

I feel the point of the original post is that lots of people spend more time thinking of equipment etc for use after the emergency occurs than in think of how to prevent the emergency happening.

All "stuff" is useless if you follow the main rule - stay on the boat and keep it floating.
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Old 23-05-2012, 06:24   #33
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Re: Can you Buy Safety

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Originally Posted by Ex-Calif View Post
To be honest, if your chartplotter quits and you can't find a shore in an otherwise capable boat, you are an idiot
Actually, the bigger problem is finding a shore when and where you don't expect it!
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Old 23-05-2012, 06:37   #34
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Re: Can you Buy Safety

To ask if "can you buy safety" is like asking "can you buy happiness". The answer to both questions is no, you can't. However, technology can help to enhance safety. Good ground tackle, radar, GPS, accurate charts, AIS, depthsounder, and access to weather forecasts can all enhance safety if used wisely. They will do nothing for safety if ignored or used improperly. Sailing now is generally a lot safer than it was a hundred years ago.
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Old 23-05-2012, 11:09   #35
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Re: Can you Buy Safety

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Originally Posted by nautical62 View Post
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.

Whatever happened to... "I sail because I like messing about in boats?"

Here is what happens...

Initially, safety relies on a keen survival instinct and a big dose of common sense.
If those 2 keep us alive, we add experience to the mix as we push the boundaries a bit.
Now we have competence... and FREEDOM .

BUT... evolution dictates that we have a small number of casualties along the way. Basically just eradication of those lacking enough common sense and survival instinct.

Well, we're civilized, sophisticated even, so we can't have that.
Better introduce some 'sytems' to cater for those deficient in common sense and survival instinct.

MMMmmm... that's not working. They're too dumb to follow the systems. We'd better help them some more... let's make them LAWS. Then they HAVE to follow them, and they don't have to think at all. It's for their own good.

But we have to make everyone comply for the good of the 'industry'. Particularly those damn free spirits who think they can do without us...
You know, those folk who are out there living life instead of working behind a desk, like us... responsible citizens... pillars of society...

Well now we have an industry, we'd better regulate it so we can have 'safety and consistency'.

But we need something to do it properly. Let's call it OHS. Hell I think we just created a whole new industry...
Now we can write a mountain of new laws and how to manuals, so any dummy can go to night school for a few weeks and set up shop as a 'consultant'... Look at all the employment we've created


SHEEEEESH... all I wanted to do was mess about in boats, and be left ALONE!
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Old 23-05-2012, 16:49   #36
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Re: Can you Buy Safety

Quote:
Originally Posted by VirtualVagabond View Post
Whatever happened to... "I sail because I like messing about in boats?"

Here is what happens...

Initially, safety relies on a keen survival instinct and a big dose of common sense.
If those 2 keep us alive, we add experience to the mix as we push the boundaries a bit.
Now we have competence... and FREEDOM .

BUT... evolution dictates that we have a small number of casualties along the way. Basically just eradication of those lacking enough common sense and survival instinct.

Well, we're civilized, sophisticated even, so we can't have that.
Better introduce some 'sytems' to cater for those deficient in common sense and survival instinct.

MMMmmm... that's not working. They're too dumb to follow the systems. We'd better help them some more... let's make them LAWS. Then they HAVE to follow them, and they don't have to think at all. It's for their own good.

But we have to make everyone comply for the good of the 'industry'. Particularly those damn free spirits who think they can do without us...
You know, those folk who are out there living life instead of working behind a desk, like us... responsible citizens... pillars of society...

Well now we have an industry, we'd better regulate it so we can have 'safety and consistency'.

But we need something to do it properly. Let's call it OHS. Hell I think we just created a whole new industry...
Now we can write a mountain of new laws and how to manuals, so any dummy can go to night school for a few weeks and set up shop as a 'consultant'... Look at all the employment we've created


SHEEEEESH... all I wanted to do was mess about in boats, and be left ALONE!
All good points but it doesn't end there.

With this new found industry and employment we have created, comes growth and expansion. We have to find new markets and sell niche products. So you think the existing "safety consultants" did a great job and now everyone is pretty safe; what are the new entrants into this exciting growth industry going to do.

Yes that's right, rewrite the manuals, invent new buzz words, redefine the problem and create new unsafe practices to worry about, control and regulate against. Even the safety industry started to realize that some of what they are doing is silly but rather than take the KISS approach and back off a bit, lets re-educate society to believe that we all have a right to 110% risk free existence.

Of course the insurance business was right on side here as this is their stable diet. They were more than willing to help as were the lawyers. Let's sue the bejesus out of anyone that was standing nearby when some idiot feel over the kerb and force everyone to insure against imagined risks. Hell I'm now trying to get an insurance policy to cover me for the pain and grief I might feel because nothing is happening to me, because there is no excitement left to me in this new over-safe world. And by the way, who can I sue!

For those who have bought the lie of a right to be always protected, you may feel threatened by such comments but I do have a solution, lets just take away the rights of idiots to breed.

OK, maybe the last bit is over the top and now is a good time to have my first coffee for the day. I will muse on VV's comment (worth repeating) "BUT... evolution dictates that we have a small number of casualties along the way. Basically just eradication of those lacking enough common sense and survival instinct. " and take solace in the fact that somewhere, in some small corner of the world, there flickers a small flame of eternal hope for the continuance of the evolutionary process.
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Old 23-05-2012, 17:10   #37
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Re: Can you Buy Safety

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Originally Posted by VirtualVagabond View Post

SHEEEEESH... all I wanted to do was mess about in boats, and be left ALONE!
People still do just that......

The Jester Azores Challenge 2012

Not sure if anyone has crunched the numbers, but i suspect the number of boats requesting assistance is lower than any "organized" events. I think most of these guys would agree with the general attitude to keeping the boat safe being put forward in this thread.

Quote:
no fees

no inspections
no regulations: skippers will be entirely responsible for the equipment they take, based on their own experience
only hint of bureaucracy will be the signing of a form of indemnity accepting the skipper’s full duty of care for himself, his dependants and his fellow seafarers during his participation in the JAC 2012.
.
.
Prizes:
Not being a ‘race’ there is no official finishing order - there is of course a time of arrival - thus there are no prizes other than the personal satisfaction of having sailed fairly against peer vessels of a like construction, rig, size, skipper’s experience and so on; ie, a number of personal challenges within the whole.
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Old 24-05-2012, 10:55   #38
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Re: Can you Buy Safety

Quote:
Originally Posted by VirtualVagabond View Post
Whatever happened to... "I sail because I like messing about in boats?"

Here is what happens...

Initially, safety relies on a keen survival instinct and a big dose of common sense.
If those 2 keep us alive, we add experience to the mix as we push the boundaries a bit.
Now we have competence... and FREEDOM .

BUT... evolution dictates that we have a small number of casualties along the way. Basically just eradication of those lacking enough common sense and survival instinct.

Well, we're civilized, sophisticated even, so we can't have that.
Better introduce some 'sytems' to cater for those deficient in common sense and survival instinct.

MMMmmm... that's not working. They're too dumb to follow the systems. We'd better help them some more... let's make them LAWS. Then they HAVE to follow them, and they don't have to think at all. It's for their own good.

But we have to make everyone comply for the good of the 'industry'. Particularly those damn free spirits who think they can do without us...
You know, those folk who are out there living life instead of working behind a desk, like us... responsible citizens... pillars of society...

Well now we have an industry, we'd better regulate it so we can have 'safety and consistency'.

But we need something to do it properly. Let's call it OHS. Hell I think we just created a whole new industry...
Now we can write a mountain of new laws and how to manuals, so any dummy can go to night school for a few weeks and set up shop as a 'consultant'... Look at all the employment we've created


SHEEEEESH... all I wanted to do was mess about in boats, and be left ALONE!
This is so right on! The gene pool can always use a little filtering...
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Old 24-05-2012, 13:50   #39
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Re: Can you Buy Safety

There are 2 major components to safety. One is a safe attitude and the other is the physical gear. Although they are separate and distinct, one won't work without the other. Boats crash, people fall overboard, $hit happens. Should we take swimming lessons in lieu of a life jacket or the othet way around? Rediculous question, but given limited funds, make your choice.
Most people with boats are not unlike most of the rest of the population in that we don't have unlimited funds. Common sense (and the law) should dictate what we need to have a board and common sense alone will dictate that we know how to properly use the stuff.
The author brings out some good points however I disagree with other things like. "The only way to make wise choices is by getting out sailing and racking up lots of sea time in lots of different weather situations so you can truly evaluate what equipment you need." Great info, but you have to live through it first. If someone drowns then you know that next time you will need a lifejacket.
The topic of the article "Can you Buy Safety" is somewhat cotroversial also leading you to believe that you can't but yet you can buy the following: "consider spending some of the funds you put aside for safety equipment on a learn- to- cruisecharter. ....Hire a professional deliveryskipper to join you for a day or two of sea-trails before you invest in any more “safety” gear. You will be buying something far more dependable than a piece of gear that might theoretically save your life in a theoretical situation; you’ll be buying first-hand experience that could prevent that theoretical catastrophe from happening in the first place."
My answer to this...Yes you can buy safety.
Buying safety equipment and not knowing how to use it is as useful as the authors last statement (above) of hiring these people and not paying attention. Its all about common sense and money.
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Old 24-05-2012, 14:10   #40
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Re: Can you Buy Safety

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Originally Posted by Lin Pardey View Post
If you are outfitting for your first foray offshore, consider spending some of the funds you put aside for safety equipment on a learn- to- cruise charter.
This could be dangerous advice, depending on what sorts of safety equipment end up not being purchased. Some safety equipment is not optional for someone venturing offshore. Harness, tether and jacklines, for example, should be considered mandatory equipment for offshore sailors. For those making multi-day passages, storm sails should not be considered optional.

There are certainly classes of safety equipment that are of arguable value. I don't carry a radar reflector, for example, largely because my boat is big enough, has enough topside steel, and has systems such as radar and AIS, that I don't consider a radar reflector to be of value.

I doubt anyone would be silly enough to argue that you can buy safety, per se. However, there are some items of safety gear that are essential for offshore cruisers. Equally, there are other items of safety gear about which we could argue endlessly without ever coming close to resolution.
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Old 24-05-2012, 14:40   #41
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Re: Can you Buy Safety

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I like this statement

I feel the point of the original post is that lots of people spend more time thinking of equipment etc for use after the emergency occurs than in think of how to prevent the emergency happening.

All "stuff" is useless if you follow the main rule - stay on the boat and keep it floating.

"
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.
I like this statement

I feel the point of the original post is that lots of people spend more time thinking of equipment etc for use after the emergency occurs than in think of how to prevent the emergency happening.

All "stuff" is useless if you follow the main rule - stay on the boat and keep it floating. "


Unfortunately you can't always "follow the rule." Ask the people whose boat is sinking because they hit a whale.

I view liferafts and EPIRBs as safety equpment. If the worst happens, they help keep you safe. Not everyone needs them but for those who do, I consider al that stuff "safety eqipment." I have a friend who has a SPOT. First time she tried to cross Tampa Bay by herself, she got caught in a storm and her headsail jammed. The SPOT showed her suddenly going in circles. We knew she was in trouble pretty quickly -- even could figure out at least some of what went wrong. Radar showed the storm, and a jammed headsail is a common cause of going in circles (gee how do I know that? Hmmmm -- grin!)

We were on the way to go find her when she called and said she'd called Boat US.
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Old 24-05-2012, 14:41   #42
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Re: Can you Buy Safety

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Originally Posted by Bash View Post
This could be dangerous advice, depending on what sorts of safety equipment end up not being purchased. Some safety equipment is not optional for someone venturing offshore. Harness, tether and jacklines, for example, should be considered mandatory equipment for offshore sailors. For those making multi-day passages, storm sails should not be considered optional.

There are certainly classes of safety equipment that are of arguable value. I don't carry a radar reflector, for example, largely because my boat is big enough, has enough topside steel, and has systems such as radar and AIS, that I don't consider a radar reflector to be of value.

I doubt anyone would be silly enough to argue that you can buy safety, per se. However, there are some items of safety gear that are essential for offshore cruisers. Equally, there are other items of safety gear about which we could argue endlessly without ever coming close to resolution.

I canjot see how that is bad advice unless you know for a fact that the purchaser is a fool who can't find a way to figure out what will be most useful for him or her.
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Old 24-05-2012, 15:40   #43
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Re: Can you Buy Safety

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.....I doubt anyone would be silly enough to argue that you can buy safety, per se. ............
Larry and Lin said you can "...spending some of the funds ...... on a learn- to- cruisecharter. ................ Hire a professional deliveryskipper..... You will be buying something far more dependable than a piece of gear that might theoretically save your life in a theoretical situation; you’ll be buying first-hand experience......"
Sounds like buying safety to me.
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Old 24-05-2012, 16:43   #44
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Re: Can you Buy Safety

There seem to be some folk here getting bogged down in symantics and arguing a few words mean this or that.

Sounds like a bunch of church folk arguing over what a particular text or passage means. Analysis overload.

Read the whole thing in context and take it as suggestions, that's all.

It all comes together really well if read in the spirit that was intended.
Oh yes, and with that other safety item... Common Sense
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Old 24-05-2012, 20:00   #45
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Re: Can you Buy Safety

I would definitely agree with Lin's excellent points in terms of safety equipment being purchased IN LIEU of the kind of preparation and methods she proposes. However, accidents do happen no matter the preparation. Feet slip, hands lose their grip, boats lurch violently at the worst possible moment, etc. I personally don't want to watch my boat sailing away from me with "Wow, I really should have seen that wave coming" as my only comfort. Instead, I will follow the points that Lin makes and ALSO wear my PFD on deck and a tether when going forward. Otherwise, why would perfectly healthy people ever consider buying health insurance?

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