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Old 02-09-2016, 11:29   #46
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Re: When do you abandon ship?

When your boat is sinking under you or on fire. Read the 79 Fastnet disaster official report, several crewmembers lost their lives through abandoning their boat to the liferaft, only for the boat to be found afloat and sound after the storm had blown out. I suggest you take the opportunity if available to try out a liferaft, they are very uncomfortable, liable to turnover if not contaning their designed payload and claustrophobic. If your boat is still afloat, it is your best life raft no matter how uncomfortable, the liferaft will be worse.
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Old 02-09-2016, 11:29   #47
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Re: When do you abandon ship?

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That has got to be one of the most amazing things I've ever seen on here.
+1 Agreed! That was incredible!
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Old 02-09-2016, 11:31   #48
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Re: When do you abandon ship?

There is an old saying that under stress of weather a well found boat can take better care of you than you can of it. Obviously that only holds if you have the discipline to let 'er.

As has been said many times in this forum: "I went below and read for two days"

As someone else said, if you are freaking out, hit the little red button on the VHF. The CG/NLI/Rescue Services will be right on it. Amazing how many PAN-PANs I hear in the Salish Sea when the wind goes above 15 knots :-)!

To quest for a generally applicable rule is obviously nonsensical, since the circumstances of every distress situation will differ from those of all others. In matters like this skippers don't act by rule, they act on consideration of all the circumstances including the competence of themselves and their crews.

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Old 02-09-2016, 11:35   #49
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Re: When do you abandon ship?

abandon ship no sooner than when i have to STEP UP into the life raft.
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Old 02-09-2016, 11:41   #50
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Re: When do you abandon ship?

Quill had the same thought as mine. "only abandon when you are stepping up into your dinghy/liferaft."

As far a laws go this is always a flag for me. At sea in situations as described the idea of "laws" is tough for me. We're making survival decisions in that case and common sense should be the guide. There seems to be a vibe of "having to ask" and part of what I love about cruising is getting away from all that statism. (open that can of worms)

The boats can generally handle a lot more than the people can. Stick with it as long as possible.
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Old 02-09-2016, 11:44   #51
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Re: When do you abandon ship?

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Over the last few days I've been, for some reason, watching a lot of rough seas videos. I'll get stuck in the youtube rabbit hole, and video after video plays.

On multiple videos of boats sinking, or partially sinking, the owners stayed with their boats. Is this something that they do out of respect for the sea and vessel, or is it required by law?
Tradition says a captain goes down with his ship. Captain Smith went down with his ship, Titanic, while standing at attention behind the helm. Way to go.
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Old 02-09-2016, 12:25   #52
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Re: When do you abandon ship?

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That has got to be one of the most amazing things I've ever seen on here.
Kind of amazing that it just broke in half like that, but she sunk so rapidly it's rather shocking.
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Old 02-09-2016, 12:50   #53
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Re: When do you abandon ship?

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The crew is the weakest link. Short of a gash or puncture that overwhelms the pumps and/or the ability of the crew to deal with it, or a severe fire, the boat is always a better option than a raft or dinghy. But it may not appear that way at the time.

It's clearly staged for obvious reasons of danger, but Yachting Monthly's "Crash Boat Testing" shows pretty clearly how long it takes to finish off a boat and how long you have to stop that:
Entertaining and instructive! Lesson 1: bring a stronger umbrella. Lesson 2: have a large plastic sheet WITH small weights on two adjacent corners. Lesson 3: Too bad he didn't have a couple of these:
Forespar StaPlug Soft Cone-Shaped Emergency Boat Plug
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Old 02-09-2016, 13:02   #54
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Re: When do you abandon ship?

yes i would like to see how plugs and some rags or plastic would have performed.
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Old 02-09-2016, 13:25   #55
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Re: When do you abandon ship?

No law requires humans to kill themselves by going down with a sinking ship. The tradition of the skipper going down with the ship has two separate origins - the older relates to protection of property, the maritime salvage laws are amongst the oldest maritime traditions - a captain, whether he owns the vessel or not - would be basically committing financial suicide and condemn himself to a life of indebtedness/servitude/prison if he survives but lost the ship and all its cargo. The other aspect is the captain should be last to abandon ship - to ensure the survival of others. That often results in death.

In re damage control - I wish more would experience a day or two of damage control training in a sinking ship simulator. Whether you're using wood wedges, or cushions - if you can slow the leak while others man the pumps, you have a fighting chance. In the case of the rudder axing the hull or ripping off bearings - I wish CE seaworthiness directives would require better crash bulkheads around simulated potential points of impact/tearing instead of worrying which direction the hatches open.
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Old 02-09-2016, 13:30   #56
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pirate Re: When do you abandon ship?

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Originally Posted by SV DestinyAscen View Post
In the case of the rudder axing the hull or ripping off bearings - I wish CE seaworthiness directives would require better crash bulkheads around simulated potential points of impact/tearing instead of worrying which direction the hatches open.
Seeing as they are set by the Manufacturers I doubt that'll happen..
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Old 02-09-2016, 13:41   #57
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Re: When do you abandon ship?

We would not abandon ship, well, abandon the boat, unless

1. Uncontrolled fire that we could not extinguished. Broadcast the lat and lon position, get the passengers and crew up wind from the flames and smoke. Follow your practiced and prepared abandon ship procedures.

2. Vessel is has a collision at sea, ( whale strike or submerged container, and taking on water. Holed hull where you cannot stop taking water on board, Pumps cannot handle it, you cannot change tack to keep the holed side out of the water.

Holed hull near land that you cannot stop from sinking the vessel, run her aground . Everyone safe, boat is on the hard.

We have often seen crews abandon their vessel in strong weather, and take to a small life raft. The boat is found later, maybe even dismasted, rigging torn to hell, but still afloat. The crew never seen again.


As the captain of a vessel, my top responsibilities are to the vessel and crew. Not to a race committee or sea lawyer. The actual situation would dictate my reaction and decisions, and I need to be prepared and knowledgeable as to how to handle emergencies at sea or actually anywhere the vessel is located.

I need to check the weather, charts, stand watches, be aware of shipping lanes, check for leaks or broken fuel lines, have all electrical up to safety standards, no leaking fumes from fuel tanks, the list goes on and on.

As others posted, there is no law that you have to abandon ship, or not abandon ship....the circumstance will dictate your actions.


Your seamanship and knowledge and training and experience and good
common sense and staying cool and collected as well as being familiar with procedures for handling situations will be vital .


Not to mention putting ourselves into harms way in the first place due to lack of any of the above.
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Old 02-09-2016, 17:54   #58
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Re: When do you abandon ship?

You abandon ship when it sinks out from under you or, if its on fire and you are down wind of the flames.
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Old 02-09-2016, 18:09   #59
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Re: When do you abandon ship?

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Originally Posted by SaltyMonkey View Post
OK, I'll bite. You have to expand on this story! What happened?
The Spiegel Grove or the Woodie?
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Old 02-09-2016, 18:18   #60
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Re: When do you abandon ship?

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The Spiegel Grove or the Woodie?
BOTH!!!
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