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Old 02-11-2011, 05:31   #1
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Most Dangerous Sailing / Boating Is Coastal, Not Offshore

We get a lot of new threads/posters askng the Bluewater question (I know I did some of these back when). But with time I have a different view than when I started sailing.

In the beginning I thought the "Bluewater" was the dangerous thing, but now I consider by far the danger to be near the coast (what color it this as that is the blue on my chart)! I know I relax more as I get further from all the rocks, boats, bouys, ferrys, etc. along the coast. And as far as I'm concerned if I can not swim to shore it is out there and it doesn't matter how far it is anymore.

Except for a storm condition why do people spend so much worry on being in the "blue"? And why do spend so much effort to be safe for that and not for being along the coast?

I know the most dangerous thing I've done sailing was coming into Boston once with an East wind while the tide was going out. What I learned after was that in bad conditions it is BETTER to be out in the open, not along the coast.

Is it like flying where it is about the feeling of not being in control even though it is safe compared to driving?
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Old 02-11-2011, 05:39   #2
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pirate Re: Most dangerous sailing/boating

For me its the coastal traffic thats the concern... the static stuffs not such a problem..
In the 'Ocean' I can lay back and relax....
along the coast I'm to busy 'Meerkating'....
"WTF's that idiot doing... I don't believe it.... READY ABOUT...."
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Old 02-11-2011, 06:05   #3
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Re: Most dangerous sailing/boating

Quote:
Originally Posted by Don Lucas View Post
[...]And as far as I'm concerned if I can not swim to shore it is out there and it doesn't matter how far it is anymore.[...]
As far as I'm concerned, I'm in blue water when the passage time is long enough so that I can't rely on a forecast of a favorable weather window. This means that you need to have the preparation, including skills, boat and equipment, for whatever cards Mother Nature might deal you. Sailing from Maine to Bermuda is quite different compared to Maine to Nova Scotia, even though swimming ashore is not practical in either case.
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Old 02-11-2011, 06:14   #4
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Re: Most dangerous sailing/boating

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Originally Posted by Ziggy View Post
As far as I'm concerned, I'm in blue water when the passage time is long enough so that I can't rely on a forecast of a favorable weather window.
Heck that would seem to make blue water be about 100 yards out.

In the Boston area there are NOAA bouys in the Boston bay and one at Gloucester. Physically they are about 20 miles from each other, but the weather at each is a LOT different a lot of times (probably why each is there). So when I cross across the bay which is a normal day sail am I in Blue Water?

On the other hand once out to each of the bouys I'm far from most dangers and except for not hitting the bouy and making it across the shipping lane it is way safer than along the general Boston area coast that has all kinds of danger.
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Old 02-11-2011, 06:20   #5
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Re: Most dangerous sailing/boating

The old saying is:

Coastal Sailors get scared when they lose sight of land.

Ocean Sailors get scared when they approach land.

(or something like that!).


In the olden days I figure "blue water" meant that any rescue could take a week (if at all) and nowhere to bug out to within 24/48 hours. Nowadays of course modern boats go so fast they avoid all bad weather and there be the big red button for when things get tiresome..........so maybe time to redefine "Blue Water" as beyond helicopter / CG cover?
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Old 02-11-2011, 06:29   #6
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Re: Most dangerous sailing/boating

Top 10 boating insurance claims:
(according to Saga Boat Institute) It's easy to see where it's the safest.
  1. Hitting a submerged object while coastal cruising
  2. Theft while anchored
  3. Collision with other boats while boating
  4. Storm damage while moored
  5. Theft while in storage
  6. Accidental damage while cruising
  7. Flooding while moored
  8. Sinking while moored
  9. Owner negligence while cruising
  10. Accidental damage while moored
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Old 02-11-2011, 06:30   #7
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Re: Most dangerous sailing/boating

Hi Don,

An interesting question and an issue I have noticed myself. I think this phenomenon is similar to the fear of altitude in flying, all basically fear of the unknown. When I started flying I remember my mother cautioning me to not get too high, but in flying altitude is your friend, just like sea room is your friend in sailing. Altitude or sea room gives more time to deal with a problem. I would much rather have an engine fail at sea (or at altitude) than coming into a narrow channel (or on final approach to the runway),

I think one cause for this fear is the perception that you are further from where you feel safe or where you perceive a safe spot might be; further from land, port, the ground, etc., ignoring the fact that proximity to these introduces additional dangers.

Or to put the whole thing more simply, what DOJ said.
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Old 02-11-2011, 06:32   #8
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Re: Most dangerous sailing/boating

Fear of loss of human contact, distance from the hive.

It is emotional, not rational.
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Old 02-11-2011, 06:58   #9
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Re: Most dangerous sailing/boating

I saw a sign posted on the wall of the Durbek boat building office that said "A true sailor knows that the ocean is not the enemy, it is the damn hard stuff that surrounds it." "The most dangerous thing on a boat is the owner."
Some of the most challenging water I have been on is False Pass, Bering Sea, anywhere near the Aleutian islands, Shelikoff strait, Flat island rip, Barren island rip, and the Columbia river bar.
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Old 02-11-2011, 07:43   #10
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Re: Most dangerous sailing/boating

The most dangerous place that any of us will ever sail is where the demands of the conditions exceed the skills that we posses.

This can happen anywhere... but is more likely inshore than far at sea.

It is prudent to avoid those places.

Cheers,

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Old 02-11-2011, 07:58   #11
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Re: Most dangerous sailing/boating

Quote:
Originally Posted by Don Lucas View Post
Except for a storm condition...
I think it is specifically BECAUSE of the possibility of storms. Heavy storms. Strong winds. Big waves. Things that are difficult to deal with in any small boat, no matter how well prepared you are. And those who have never been through it are also never quite sure how well prepared they are.

Head out on a 20-30 day crossing and you are heading out into the unknown. Doesn't matter how may weather forecasts you check before you go, they just aren't that accurate beyond 5-7 days. So things could change and a completely un-forecast storm could catch you. And when you're 10 days sailing time away from the nearest help, you are completely on your own.

I think that's why people "worry" about long, blue-water passages. Maybe "worry" is the wrong word, but trying to plan and prepare for the worst is the prudent thing to do when thinking about such a passage. Yes, the actual dangers are probably more numerous and immediate in coastal cruising. But when a Coast Guard SAR helicopter is only an hour away after you set off your EPIRB, the consequences don't seem to require as much planning on your part.
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Old 02-11-2011, 07:59   #12
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Re: Most dangerous sailing/boating

The most dangerous boating by far involves personal water craft. There are far more deaths per year on these than any type of boating.
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Old 02-11-2011, 08:03   #13
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Re: Most dangerous sailing/boating

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ziggy View Post
As far as I'm concerned, I'm in blue water when the passage time is long enough so that I can't rely on a forecast of a favorable weather window. This means that you need to have the preparation, including skills, boat and equipment, for whatever cards Mother Nature might deal you. Sailing from Maine to Bermuda is quite different compared to Maine to Nova Scotia, even though swimming ashore is not practical in either case.
I hear what you're saying, Ziggy. That's why you wouldn't say want to jump from Cuba to South America during hurricane season as another example. Even if all is clear when you leave, a storm could form while you are enroute, and there is no place to flee to in the midst of the Caribbean Sea. Even during non-hurricane season, nasty storms roll through. You just have to prepare as much as you can so you do not end up in Jim's well worded situation where the demands of the conditions exceed the skills that you posses (or your boat possesses).
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Old 02-11-2011, 08:08   #14
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Re: Most dangerous sailing/boating

I love the west coast of the USA but it's all lee shore. I think that is a difference between the Pacific and the Atlantic coasts.
Flying and sailing have alot in common, if familiarity breeds contempt trouble will likely follow.

Todd
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Old 02-11-2011, 08:11   #15
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Re: Most dangerous sailing/boating

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Fear of loss of human contact, distance from the hive.

It is emotional, not rational.
Hell. There are plenty times that I'd love to lose human contact for a while. Actually I think that might be one of the main reasons I would like to be able to go sailing. I don't always play well with the other kids.
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