I want to also add and share some points on safety
that we as a charter crew learned from this experience.
Checking the boat at handover
- not only check that the bilge pump
is running, but also make sure that the automatic switches (if any) that activate the pump in case water
is rising are in working order. Check if there is an alarm
- also check the manual emergency bilge
pumps: Are seals
ok, is the clapper/handle there, does it fit. (would not have helped in this case, but ion the meantime we found cases where the manual pumps were not in order)
- do not accept a missing life raft, even if that is supposed to be not required/not customary in the area
- Make sure the oars for the dinghy
are in proper condition. Do not accept cracked oar blades etc.
Of course this should all be standard procedure, but ...
checklist before leaving port
- Always execute a proper check list to ensure all windows, hatches, valves etc. are properly closed and secured
This should be a matter of course, but many skippers/crews become negligent after a few days.
Be better prepared to leave ship in the dinghy
- Always have the dinghy ready and prepared
are best but rare. If possible tow the dinghy. It may take very long to get it from deck
over the guardrail into the water and equip it.
- A dinghy needs oars (in working condition and secured), engine
and don't forget gasoline). Mounting the outboard motor
in an emergency
situation may be difficult.
- Also always have some water in the dinghy
- Try to organize what needs to come along in case you have to leave ship and have water proof bags ready for documents, electronics
, medicine etc)
- But don't have everything in a water proof bag in cockpit/saloon while you are anchored or docked - too easy for thieves
Most of this not only applies if you want to abandon ship, but e.g. also if you want to come to aid of others. Clock and train how long it takes you to properly equip and launch the dinghy.
There is nothing really new her, but based on this experience we look at it now from a new perspective