When thinking about safety
we ask two questions about each item/choice.
1. Will this item assist us to
a) save ourselves when the **** is hitting the fan,
b) prevent the **** from hitting the fan in the first place, or
c) request outside help to clean up all the ****.
2. Is it a "black box" type device which I cannot check regularly (ideally daily or weekly)?
items will answer A/B to question 1 and NO to question 2. Examples would be excellent anchoring
systems, auxiliary rudder
on a wind vane
, rigid unsinkable sailing dinghy
stocked with water
, multiple watertight compartments, bilge
pumps, good tools, etc. We have all of these except the auxiliary rudder
(but our cat has 2 rudders that can operate independently).
What we consider to be poor devices will answer C to question 1 and YES to question 2. Examples are epirbs and life rafts (a liferaft
is conceptually still a C answer to Q1 because you still won't get back to shore by yourself and will need outside help). We do not carry them. We do not want our lives to EVER depend on a black box type device and this is a philosophical line drawn in the sand. (We are reluctant to request that others risk their lives to save our miserable skins, but that is another kettle of fish
Devices in the middle ground include a SPOT messenger, SSB radio
, sat phone
(you can check it's use daily BUT you are requesting outside help and not being self sufficient). We have these in case of medical
emergencies and the SPOT is configured to say medical emergency
, so we won't be tempted to use it in a dismasting
, flip or similar storm problem. We must fight to save our boat if needed.
The authorities do not focus their requirements on anchors, rigging
pumps, appropriate tools, etc but on ways you can "ring them for help" such as epirb
, flares. Wrong focus.
Let 'er rip!