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Old 21-04-2014, 11:11   #31
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Re: SWIMMING

Shapes? Are we talking keels and rudders? I'm sort of a full keel swimmer. I can go straight for long distances but have trouble with flip turns and I can't back up in a cross wind.

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Old 21-04-2014, 11:33   #32
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Re: SWIMMING

As to swimming in the ocean, I think most people equate swimming with a pool, not with the ocean. In most places, you have to get beyond the surf line to be able to swim and that alone can be quite a distance.

As to swimming for survival, that is a difficult situation. As a former USMC aviator, we were taught ocean survival skills. One of those skills was a "survival float". Learning where in the water your natural buoyancy put you and how to surface and breathe with the absolute minimum of physical effort. Our "final exam" was to float for 3 hours. It is way more difficult than it sounds, but effective. As I recall, at that time (35 years ago) at least one pilot had survived for about 36 hours before being rescued. On water temperature, even in 85 degree water, you will eventually suffer hypothermia, it in only a matter of time.

On a funny note, when we went through training, we had one guy who had the natural buoyancy of a rock. When he tried the "deadman's float', the only thing that stopped him was the bottom of the pool (30 ft deep). The instructor told him to never bail out over water, he had no chance!
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Old 21-04-2014, 11:57   #33
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Re: SWIMMING

Although I am a good swimmer, I must say that water temperatures in my area are too cold to allow a whole lot of ocean swimming (around 8C/48F) without a full wet suit or preferably a dry suit.
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Old 21-04-2014, 12:14   #34
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Re: SWIMMING

People on vacation are typically relaxing and getting over the hang over from last night. Swiming a couple miles continously isn't high on thier priority. It doesn't mean they are incapable.

Most boat owners I know can swim but as others have said in open water, your best bet is getting back on the boat, not trying to make for shore.

We launched today. Last week there were still a few chunks of ice in the marina. I don't want to go in if I can avoid it.
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Old 21-04-2014, 12:30   #35
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Re: SWIMMING

I'm a strong swimmer but the reality is even close to shore the cold and current will win out.
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Old 21-04-2014, 12:58   #36
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Re: SWIMMING

Would think that this discussion is less about knowing how to swim so you can make it back to shore and more knowing how to swim so you can make it back to the boat. Without making up numbers I can't say for sure but I would wager that your odds of falling overboard are immensely greater when leaving the dock, when anchoring, or when returning to the dock than on day 15 of your trans pacific crossing or even in severe weather.

Anyone with half a brain is going to be teathered or atleast wearing a life jacket when in bad weather especially if they do not know how to swim. However, I would wager that almost everyone on this forum has run forward with full confidence on a calm day to drop the anchor without so much as a life jacket or a teather. That is when you will fall in, guaranteed because you may not have noticed that extra salt spray that went over the deck five minutes earlier or maybe you didn't notice that loose line there on deck or maybe just when you get to the very pointy end of the bow a nice motor boat buzzes you at 25 knotts and you get tossed right off the end. I would think those would be the times when it was absolutely critical to know how to swim, not necessarily so you could make it to shore but so you could make it back to the boat from five feet away. Because if you don't know how to swim at all there's really no difference between the boat or the shore being 20 feet away and the boat or shore being 1,500 miles away.
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Old 21-04-2014, 13:09   #37
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Re: SWIMMING

Interestingly, Joshua Slocum (first man to circumnavigate solo) never learned to swim.
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Old 21-04-2014, 13:10   #38
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Re: SWIMMING

Quote:
Originally Posted by JayCall View Post
One of those skills was a "survival float". Learning where in the water your natural buoyancy put you and how to surface and breathe with the absolute minimum of physical effort. Our "final exam" was to float for 3 hours. It is way more difficult than it sounds, but effective.
On a funny note, when we went through training, we had one guy who had the natural buoyancy of a rock. When he tried the "deadman's float', the only thing that stopped him was the bottom of the pool (30 ft deep). The instructor told him to never bail out over water, he had no chance!
That's exactly like our "Drown Proofing" course in college. It was the only required physical education course. I was quite thin and a good bit shorter as a college freshman and I could do the float as could one girl in our class with my nose not under water. Then there were those who just sank. The two of us who didn't sink enough had to wear weighted belts to lower us some or otherwise we wouldn't benefit. Just because our noses were out there, didn't mean in ocean waves they would stay out. I'm 7" taller and 80 pounds heavier than the day I started college.
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Old 21-04-2014, 13:12   #39
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Re: SWIMMING

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Originally Posted by natew View Post
Would think that this discussion is less about knowing how to swim so you can make it back to shore and more knowing how to swim so you can make it back to the boat. Without making up numbers I can't say for sure but I would wager that your odds of falling overboard are immensely greater when leaving the dock, when anchoring, or when returning to the dock than on day 15 of your trans pacific crossing or even in severe weather.

Anyone with half a brain is going to be teathered or atleast wearing a life jacket when in bad weather especially if they do not know how to swim. However, I would wager that almost everyone on this forum has run forward with full confidence on a calm day to drop the anchor without so much as a life jacket or a teather. That is when you will fall in, guaranteed because you may not have noticed that extra salt spray that went over the deck five minutes earlier or maybe you didn't notice that loose line there on deck or maybe just when you get to the very pointy end of the bow a nice motor boat buzzes you at 25 knotts and you get tossed right off the end. I would think those would be the times when it was absolutely critical to know how to swim, not necessarily so you could make it to shore but so you could make it back to the boat from five feet away. Because if you don't know how to swim at all there's really no difference between the boat or the shore being 20 feet away and the boat or shore being 1,500 miles away.
Add the danger of dinghies and tenders to your shore dangers.
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Old 21-04-2014, 16:09   #40
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Re: SWIMMING

The person whose body is extremely dense has to keep moving in order to not sink. He or she can learn to swim, but it is hard, because they sink when they try to float, and it is hard to learn to trust the thrust they can get from their arms and legs. People who can float have an easier time of trusting the water is a safe place. There was a guy in one of my swim classes who could easily walk the length of the pool underwater. He could swim laps, but not float.

I used to play in the ocean as a toddler, and had swim classes a lot when growing up. I have taught adults to swim, and I have to admire the forethought of non-swimming cruisers who have made the effort to learn later in life than as a child. When you're used to swimming, when you start to fall in the water off the dock, you turn it into a dive. You may lose your glasses, but it's a non-event, you swim around to the stern, lower the swim ladder, and get on the boat. People say, "are you all right?" And you say, "of course." There's no drama, except you go hose off the water and everybody jokes a lot. This is somewhere the water is warm, where cold shock is not a factor.

Way different scenario if you cannot swim. Scary.

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Old 21-04-2014, 16:28   #41
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Re: Swimming

I still remember my parents teaching me to swim,- float first, in the warm waters of the ocean in Fort Lauderdale. We wouldn't swim in the cold winter when all the white skinned tourists were splashing about, but for most of the year we were in the ocean for the weekends. I always thought saltwater was most compatible with body fluids, open eyes and ocassionally in the mouth. I never have considered it a troublesome taste. Sea water is far more isotonic to our blood than any lake, river or pool. I first met some North Carolina Sound fishermen in the 1960's and I was amazed that they could not swim. 'seems as stupid as hiking in Death Valley without a hat or a bottle of water!
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Old 21-04-2014, 16:30   #42
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Re: Swimming

I remember my parents teaching me to swim my dad threw me on the water and said if I drown I was going to be on restriction lo and behold I didn't drown I swim back to the edge.

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Old 21-04-2014, 17:55   #43
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Re: Swimming

Neither my mother or any of her sisters ever could swim. Why? Her father wouldn't let them go swimming because the girls didn't know how to swim. Fortunately none of the sisters wanted their kids scared of the water so we all swam. But I still remember some of my aunts terrified when their kids swam.

We were swimming off the dock at the lake and my Aunt Doris asked how deep it was. 70' alarmed her and she thought we should stop. My father said, "It's not how much water is under them that counts, it's how much is over them." Didn't sooth her. But fortunately her kids never shared her fear. The thing too is many of them fished with their husbands. One aunt loves the beach but has never been more than waist deep in the ocean.
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Old 21-04-2014, 18:02   #44
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Re: Swimming

My Mother loved the water, they had a pool built the year I was born. I could swim before I could walk, used to dive for pennies I was told.
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Old 21-04-2014, 19:06   #45
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Re: Swimming

I think the majority of commercial fishermen I've met don't know how to swim.
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