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Old 13-09-2011, 23:24   #1
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Challenge: 'Must Have' Safety Equipment

I have a new Beneteau First 36.7 on a lake and taking her out to salt water for the first time next month (San Diego to Mexico).

On a tight budget. Need to add additional safety equipment and would like some advice as to what is essential.

The boat has VHF/digital, Raymarine chartplotter, compass, life ring, PDF's, basic intruments (Raymarine wind/speed/depth), autohelm.

I'd also like opinions about liferaft vs dinghy. Both or can you safely count on a dinghy for safety too?

Tow the dinghy?

Number and type of anchors?

Radar?

Thanks a lot. I look forward to your feedback.
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Old 13-09-2011, 23:33   #2
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Re: "Must have" safety equipment

regarding dinghy v. life raft, either but a life raft wont get you to shore from a mooring. you cant tow a dink.
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Old 14-09-2011, 02:40   #3
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Re: "Must have" safety equipment

Jack lines and a good tether
Anchors: You decide what type, but I'd say at least two
Liferaft/Dink: How far offshore are you going, I'd have both. Can tow a dink over day passages if the sea and weather conditions are OK
Long way offshore EPIRB is good

There's a whole heap of stuff really, a lot depends on how far from the shore you will be, how close to assistance if needed
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Old 14-09-2011, 03:21   #4
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Re: "Must have" safety equipment

First of all, you need the legal minimum requirements. Which include items not on your list:

signal devices (flares)
Sound making device (I like a whistle on each pfd)

To that +1 on an epirb the new ACR resqlink PLB is not as strong a signal as others, but it's only $250 and is the size of a cell phone.

The Spot Messenger is good, cheap added insurance.

For offshore I'd recommend aerial flares, in particular SOLAS or 25mm.
and a couple smoke signals.

I'm not a big fan of life rafts. I think for the $$ I'd rather have an immersion suit and the dinghy. but OTOH I've never been out 'in the ****' either so it's all theoretical I guess. If you have the means more is probably better.


I definitely like Radar, it's very useful in general and especially offshore at night.


AT LEAST two anchors. I prefer two different types, but both should be big enough to hold the boat on their own in any conditions. I like all chain rode, so that means a good windlass, but I'm not sure you're gonna want to put 600 feet of chain in the bow of a new first :-)
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Old 14-09-2011, 03:38   #5
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pirate Re: "Must have" safety equipment

200 cigarettes and a good lighter....
They'll be able to smell the smoke 500 miles away....
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Old 14-09-2011, 04:48   #6
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Re: "Must have" safety equipment

Quote:
Originally Posted by Pacific View Post
I have a new Beneteau First 36.7 on a lake and taking her out to salt water for the first time next month (San Diego to Mexico).

On a tight budget. Need to add additional safety equipment and would like some advice as to what is essential.

The boat has VHF/digital, Raymarine chartplotter, compass, life ring, PDF's, basic intruments (Raymarine wind/speed/depth), autohelm.

I'd also like opinions about liferaft vs dinghy. Both or can you safely count on a dinghy for safety too?

Tow the dinghy?

Number and type of anchors?

Radar?

Thanks a lot. I look forward to your feedback.

The guy in the slip next to me saved his own life in May. He had a safety tether attached to him around the mast while reefing his sail. So when the storm hit full force and he was knocked off his feet, he stopped JUST short of going through the lifelines on his back.

Put jacklines on your boat. Set it up so that the tether keeps you ON the boat.
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Old 14-09-2011, 06:15   #7
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Re: "Must have" safety equipment

Quote:
Originally Posted by Pacific View Post
I have a new Beneteau First 36.7 on a lake and taking her out to salt water for the first time next month (San Diego to Mexico).

On a tight budget. Need to add additional safety equipment and would like some advice as to what is essential.
You want to prioritize things that will keep you out of trouble. So,

#1 anchors: two is fine but make sure they are both good sized and that you have adequate rodes. Mexico has some difficult anchoring spots.

#2 Take a close look/inspection at your rudder and at your rig. Its worth spending some money here to avoid serious problems later.

#3 Bring a decent collection of tools and spares. Its hard when you are starting out to know exactly what to bring and it varies boat to boat (depending on specific equipment and age). But you spares which will ensure you can get the engine to start (spare injectors, impeller, perhaps starter) and the sails to go up and down (spare halyard, spare main sheet block, sewing materials and sail slugs). Also carry stuff to plug leaks/openings - wood plugs, epoxy and plywood and screws and battery drill, etc.

#4 I think a chart plotter with current chart chip is a 'safety device'. As it tells you instantly where you are when its 2am and things are going to ****. It also can tell you definitely if you are dragging anchor. That can keep you off the beach.

#5 You can tow the dink during day sails inside Baja, but you should not on the Calif/mexico outside. Thats just asking for trouble. Get an inflatable. It would be best if you could stow it on deck inflated (quicker launching), but if you don't have the deck space then stow it deflated and get a 12vt electric inflation pump.

Hopefully you will keep out of trouble but if you have to call for help the priorities are:

#1. Make sure your vhf is well installed. Very many boats have really poor antenna installations and only get half or less the range the should. Usually this is because of poorly done pl259 connectors in the cable. You will be within vhf range the whole way to Mexico.

#2 An Epirb is the best offshore signaling device, bur for your route would I think be optional.

#3 Radar would also be an optional nice to have. There is some fog and shipping around/north of Diego but not much south of that. I would rate a chart plotter much higher. A receive only AIS would also be a nice to have.

#4 the life raft is a controversial and difficult one. We have never carried one, and I think its more important to invest in ways to protect and save the boat. If you can stow the inflatable dink on deck inflated I would suggest you are well covered. If you don't have the space for that then its a risk/$ trade-off for you. There are scenarios where you could need one (like a whale attacking/breaking the boat) but their probability is less than the proverbial lightening strike, and if you have good pdfs and an epirb you will probably still be found and picked up out of the water.
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Old 14-09-2011, 06:19   #8
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Re: "Must have" safety equipment

Quote:
Originally Posted by boatman61 View Post
200 cigarettes and a good lighter....
They'll be able to smell the smoke 500 miles away....
Not all of them.............
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Old 14-09-2011, 06:24   #9
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Re: "Must have" safety equipment

For the OP, step one could be to add radar and AIS to the Raymarine Plotter so it all overlays.
Step two IMHO is an EPIRB.
Then the liferaft.
And as others have said, don't tow the dinghy at sea. Too risky if weather gets up plus it will slow you substantially.
Enjoy
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Old 14-09-2011, 06:57   #10
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Re: "Must have" safety equipment

The life raft question has gone around a lot in this forum. What I got out of it was that they can be a false sense of security for more than one reason. The biggest reason to me is that they simply have been known to fail to deploy. A dink is not a perfect life raft. A life raft is not a perfect life raft.

I'm also 36". I carry 2 dinks. One is hard with flotation. It deploys in less than 2 minutes every time, and stows even faster. My setup is unique, but the point is I like having two to go in the water that I get daily use out of as opposed to one that you hope you never have to use and might not work anyway.

2 anchors isn't quite enough in my book. Too easy to loose one and be down to just one. I carry bow and stern plus 1.
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Old 14-09-2011, 07:15   #11
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Re: "Must have" safety equipment

at 36" you have a great advantage in being able to use smaller dinghys then most of us. with a properly set up boat being short could have alot of advantages safety wise.
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Old 14-09-2011, 08:22   #12
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Re: "Must have" safety equipment

I'd unpack the problem by risk

#1 - Fall overboard. Likely death. Tethers, jacklines, reefing system that keeps you in the cockpit. Everyone in crew wears a knife. No one leaves cabin without wearing a lifejacket with lights, whistle. After dark everyone outside the cabin wears a harness and clips in. Boom preventer rigged downwind to stop unexpected jibes.

#2 - Abandon ship - (fire, sinking) - Today a working EPIRB means that help will arrive in less than 12 hours except maybe in high latitudes. Inflatable dinghy is just fine as a liferaft for that length of time. Carry it partially inflated tied to the foredeck. I carry two PLBs with GPS (signal is just as strong as EPIRB. Battery life is 24 hours but that's plenty. Ditch bag with handheld VHF and spare alkaline batteries. Keep the Beacon Registration database comments current with boat description, markings, dinghy description. It's web based so I update it before each offshore trip with schedule/route info.

#3 - Ship collision - Install AIS transponder (West Marine has one that can occasionally be gotten for just $500 on sale) and two radar reflectors.

#4 - Serious injury or illness - Clotting agent for bad cuts, EPI pen if anyone has a history, Benedryl, aspirin, several forms of seasickness remedy. Use radio or in life threatening situations EPIRB.

#5 - Boat damage (depending on budget) - Foam footballs to jamb in holes. Plywood with some neoprene, tubes of 5200 and long screws (screw plywood, foam, 5200 sandwich over hole from inside with battery driver. Extra 2000+ GPH bilge pump with hose and long leads that can be moved to area of leak and hose stuck out port hole. Heavy hammer and punch to disconnect rigging and a hacksaw with a bunch of blades. Check all seacocks before leaving. Spare engine cooling hose. Spare fresh water pump. Spare bilge pump. Spare alternator, cheap regulator and belt. Spare charged car battery with jumpers for emergency engine start. Lots of fuel filters, check emergency steering system. Handheld GPS.

Carl
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Old 14-09-2011, 08:36   #13
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Re: "Must have" safety equipment

Quote:
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at 36" you have a great advantage in being able to use smaller dinghys then most of us. with a properly set up boat being short could have alot of advantages safety wise.
I was going to say that "most of us" is just... wrong. But then I saw that you and I both said 36" (36 inches), so I'll move on.

My 8' sailing dink is the most popular size made by that manufacturer. At 10' my RIB is the same or bigger than what I see on many boats bigger than mine. It is a RIB lite with a folding transom, so if I want more space on deck I can have it.
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Old 14-09-2011, 09:37   #14
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Re: "Must have" safety equipment

Quote:
Originally Posted by boatman61 View Post
200 cigarettes and a good lighter....
They'll be able to smell the smoke 500 miles away....

You'll be asked to sink 550 miles away then
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Old 14-09-2011, 09:49   #15
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Re: "Must have" safety equipment

i will save ye--just smoke down wind of me.......

best safety equipment ever made for sailing day or night--YOUR EYES. use em.

rechargeable spot light used sans cord for lighting up sails so others do not collide with ye.
donot spot in someones face or helm station/bridge. the purpose is not to blind, but to advise of position.
as well as normally accepted safety gear. radar is good, ais is unnecessary. use your eyeballs. ais is included in many older garmin units--read the book and get yours for a lot less than buying a redundant unit.
charts and gps
depth sounder
something that produces a LOUD noise.
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