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Old 12-07-2006, 13:31   #31
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Dear All,

For my own curiosity, and since no marine biologists seem to be reading this thread, I decided to do my own investigation. In regards to animals smelling fear ihave found the following:

The fact that smells are processed and interpreted in the limbic system would seem to offer another clue, as one of the limbic system's primary organs, the amygdala, is directly responsible for perceiving and responding to fear.
On the other hand, it is widely acknowledged that pheromone communication via the accessory olfactory system is possible only within animals of the same species.

This section from an article on phermones was about horses, but since non-large molecule smells (apple pie baking is a large molecule smell) are from chemicals, it would seem that sharks don't really smell fear. Although it has been proven that they can pinpoint one drop of blood in a pool of water. This doesn't make me feel any better, but that could be from us watching "Open Water" on DVD. I've got to stop watching these movies with Bob and Michael!
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Old 12-07-2006, 15:40   #32
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Non-swimmers on board

I do like to take a dip now and again even though I am a so so swimmer. I LOVE to snorkel; it is much easier than swimming and very fascinating.

I figure it is a personal choice. Most times and places I sail I don't wear a pfd or harness. Under some conditions I do, but in conditions where I might it is more likely for a harness to make sense.

Remember that folks who can't fly go up in airplanes all the time. Some of them don't even wear a parachute!

Pete
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Old 12-07-2006, 19:06   #33
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Many sailors (navy sailors) couldn't swim and that was considered a GOOD THING because they couldn't jump ship either. Up till around WW1 it was also unusual for most people to know how to swim.

I'm a long term certified diver and a real water baby. Float very well and can fall asleep in the water. But I don't like sticking my feet anyplace that I can't SEE FIRST and that includes the bottom of lakes or beaches where there might be broken glass, urchins, coral, or anything else. Part of that might be because I cut one foot rather badly when I was young, if I had to think about it I'd rather not risk that again.

I can tell you from diving that I almost stepped into (IN TO) the mouth of a goose fish once, they blend in very nicely on the bottom. A goose fish is shaped a lot like a tennis racket--all head, skinny body, and they sit on the bottom with the mouth open waiting for dinner to drop in. UGH.

Thank you, but I'd rather swim where either the water is too deep for me to touch bottom, or clear enough so I can see bottom. Aquasocks or neoprene booties or fins and mask really preferred.

Once you get used to being in the water with power (fins) and vision (mask) and claws (dive knife) you can feel really naked and vulnerable WITHOUT all that good stuff.<G>

"if I had to swim I would be in trouble" Well, that's not so good for someone who sails on water. At least get yourself through basic "water safety" type classes, and by all means use goggles or whatever else it takes to get you comfortable started on the *swimming* portion of it.

I don't need a life jacket normally. But I figure, if I go overboard it will probably be after I've been boomsmacked (thank you, I've already had a light tap and what the books don't tell you is that your first reaction will be "Wow, where's that bell ringing?!" as the boom echoes in your head like a solid smack from an aluminum baseball bat) or hit my head on the hull. In that case, a life jacket is the *only* hope I will not drown immediately.
So about 20 years ago, my friends and I bought inflatable PFDs before the USCG even recognized them. And I've made a point to wear mine. Is it comfortable, sexy, stylish, or macho? Hell no. And anyone who doesn't like it, doesn't have to wear one.
But I was also taught to wear a PFD as a courtesty to the underpaid SAR teams that risk their own lives in all sorts of lousy weather looking for men overboard. You wear a PFD so they can find your body and GO HOME instead of staying out all night in the icy rain, as a courtesy to them, even if you don't care about drowning.
The automatic inflatables aren't bulky. And if you ever spend any time in open water, in a light chop, waiting around for a boat to get you (as when SCUBA diving) you quickly come to appreciate "a little help" from a PFD in keeping your mouth above the waterline.
Macho? Comfort? Yeah, that and "just going to pee over the rail" are the reason more than half of the floaters recovered every year have their flies open, and no PFD on. Nuh-uh, not me. I'm gonna make sure Poseidon has a long list of bigger fools to go after, before he gets down to me. I'm not afraid of the water, but I sure do respect it.

If that sounds a bit opinionated...Well, yeah, I guess it is. I don't care if someone doesn't want to wear a seat belt, or a life vest. That's their choice. I just object to being made to pay for that option--by wasting money keeping SAR teams out, or paying higher insurance premiums on the road. Same same.

Inflatable PFD and water safety training? Cheap insurance. Splurge, go for it.<G>
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Old 13-07-2006, 00:57   #34
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ed Steele
On the subject of swimming – do they still teach “drown-proofing”? I took a course about 40 years ago on this technique and once learned, you will die of exposure before you die of drowning and you don’t need to be able to swim to learn this.
I've never heard of it (at least not that I remember) and I'm over 40 years old. Fortunately, there is a web site about everything now, so I have some idea what you are talking about.

I doubt the technique would have worked for me when I was learning to swim. It presumes that you can take a deep breath and float at the surface,. When I was still in school I could take a breath, slowly sink to the bottom of the pool, and remain there perfectly still for a minute until it was time to come up for air. When I came up, anybody who had never seen me do it before would ask "How did you do that?" The answer, of course, is "don't work at swimming, and it just happens".

I can't do it any more because fat is less dense than water.
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Old 13-07-2006, 10:20   #35
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I float a bit above my lines these days, too. <g>
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Old 13-07-2006, 10:50   #36
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Quote:
Originally Posted by coot
I've never heard of it (at least not that I remember) and I'm over 40 years old. Fortunately, there is a web site about everything now, so I have some idea what you are talking about.

I doubt the technique would have worked for me when I was learning to swim. It presumes that you can take a deep breath and float at the surface,. When I was still in school I could take a breath, slowly sink to the bottom of the pool, and remain there perfectly still for a minute until it was time to come up for air. When I came up, anybody who had never seen me do it before would ask &quot;How did you do that?&quot; The answer, of course, is &quot;don't work at swimming, and it just happens&quot;.

I can't do it any more because fat is less dense than water.
Mark, I had the same problem when I learned “drown-proofing” 40 years ago. I was a very poor swimmer and negatively buoyant by nearly 2 pounds. Unfortunately those days are gone for me too. I could stand to lose another 7 or 8 pounds of buoyant fat right now…… The advantage of drownproofing to a non-swimmer is that you can evolve from the float position to motion towards shore, to eventfully learning to swim. The advantage for a poor swimmer is that when you get tired, you can “rest”. If you are a stronger swimmer but that islet you were swimming to turns out to be further than you thought, you can similarly rest. In none of these cases (swimming) are you likely to be wearing a PFD. In the tropics the water temperature is usually warm enough that you will not be a hypothermia victim for several hours. I was taught that you have a 50% chance of surviving 50 minutes in water at 50F (sea temperature off Britain). If you are a non-swimmer without a PFD, I guarantee you that you will not be lasting 50 minutes regardless of the water temperature - so why isn’t drownproofing taught anymore? Ed
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Old 13-07-2006, 19:21   #37
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Heat = Survivability

Ed, it's about the massive heat loss from the head. Ever cut your scalp & notice how profusely it bleeds? Many, many blood vessels in the scalp help dissipate body heat. There's an old adage for people who hike in the snow: if your feet are cold, put on a hat.

Having one's head in the water dramatically shortens survival time because heat loss in the water is approx. twenty-five times the rate of heat loss to the air. The basis physics are that liquids contain many more molecules per cubic centimeter of volume than do gasses, i.e., air, and so facilitate accelerated heat transfer through convection (this is why I always make sure there is an inch of water in the bottom of my iced-down cooler & that the cans are sitting in that water if I need to "crash cool" my beverages for a quick daysail).

Notice the body postures in my stolen graphic are all designed to conserve body heat: the "help" position for maximum individual heat retention; the "survival" position when your abs fail and your legs fall; and the heat-sharing "huddle" position, which also provides social/psychological support.

Of course, if you want to pick and choose your water conditions, you can survival float for quite a while. But in most places, the water temperature won't allow it: the time quickly comes when you're not lifting your head out of the water anymore. It makes sense to design conservative (no pun intended) techniques for colder conditons, then apply broadly, if you're wanting to educate the public masses effectively.

IRT "drownproofing:" old stuff, and to be abandonded. Intermediate swimmers desiring to rest will do much better by mastering the skill of comfortably rolling onto their backs, which facilitates breathing, is easier on the neck, and can be used to begin an inverted breast stroke (arms out, legs, out, down!) or transfer to the side stroke, a nice way to cover distance comfortably with the mouth and eyes out of the water: you can breathe and see where you're going.

Whitecaps hasn't posted for a while. I sincerely hope he's out buying a lifejacket.
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Old 13-07-2006, 19:54   #38
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teehee...maybe it will inflate like the one in Tommy Boy when they're on the plane....then he'll have a fear of lifevests too....and of creepy things under him...not a good combo
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Old 13-07-2006, 22:53   #39
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Cool

Ahoy Captain Jeff,I appreciate the diagram that you posted on the “HELP”, “SURVIVAL” and “HUDDLE” because folks need to be aware of how to survive a dunking. The point I was trying to make was simply that in all three examples you show, the victims are wearing PFDs. I think that knowledge of drownproofing would be useful in the event of a dunking without a PFD. Most intermediate swimmers will roll onto their backs as you suggest and I am sure you have seen many swimmers do this in swimming pools etc. The vertical float position was taught in drownproofing because floating on ones back is often not practicable when there are waves. The risk of hypothermia was well understood and we were taught to retain clothing, hats etc. I too hope Whitecaps invests in a lifejacket. Everyone has their own rule but FWIW, our rule is - PFDs to be worn by everyone on deck as soon as we leave the dock. Auto-inflate PFDs with strobe, harness and safety line to be worn in any rough weather and after sunset regardless of the conditions. Ed
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Old 14-07-2006, 01:23   #40
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Hi Whitecaps and JP,
I'm a nervous swimmer, too! Learned in a pool, but grew up in the mountains and so never encountered ocean or lake swimming until adulthood. I have to say that I totally agree with the posters who mentioned snorkelling and diving. I learned to dive in my early 20's, and now love being underwater WITH the creepy crawlies. When I can see them, they become friendlies! (Even the sharks are really beautiful!) But I'm still nervous on top of the water without a mask - I feel much more defenseless. So I totally agree - get into snorkelling! Seeing what is actually down there (rather than just imagining it) makes things so much more interesting and approachable. And snorkelling means floating on the surface and not touching ANYTHING (I can even "fly" over a bottom only inches below me if I straighten out and suck in my tummy a little...).

On a similar note, my courageous Mom has done even better. She has gone from being terrified of water (think clinging to the side of a pool) to, in her early 50's, taking snorkelling lessons and loving it! Now on cruises she is the one dragging my Dad out into the water to look at the fish! It has been so cool to see her overcome her fear of water. We're so proud of her. (Note: a good snorkel with a valve (easier to clear) and a well-fitting mask were ESSENTIAL.)

Anyway, last plus to snorkelling and diving. I met my husband on a dive boat in Australia. So you never know... (Though if you already have a spouse, he/she might not go for this...)

I'm not saying snorkelling will replace the ability to swim if knocked overboard, but it might be a nice, easy way to start.

Cheers,
Julie
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Old 16-07-2006, 21:22   #41
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Well today I was in the pool at the YMCA. I was just floating and swimming laps, but I would not call it laps. so i am trying
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Old 16-07-2006, 22:40   #42
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Ed— Every situation is different, and any skill you have in your bag might come in handy sometime. I have no argument, except to point out that it's never been easier to adapt to wearing a PFD than it is today, a fact your last post shows in spades.

Mareva— nothing like skill development for confidence, eh?

Whitecaps— Bravo! Now if we swimmers are wearing our vests on board…<wink>
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Old 17-07-2006, 09:32   #43
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Whitecaps, competitive swimming (what they usually teach) is designed to teach lap swimming, so don't worry about not doing that. Anything that keeps you comfortably on the surface and able to breath, is a good enough start. If there's someone there teaching, or any lifeguard, they should be able to show you a "rescue crawl" or rescue breaststroke, which is how they are or at least WERE<G> taught to keep a victim in sight while swimming towards them. The difference between the two is mainly how you are kicking/stroking, the basic body/head position is the same.
That might be more comfortable for you, because you keep your head and face UP and out of the water, so the breathing is easy, while you are swimming towards your goal. A rescue breaststroke should be an easy transition from a dogpaddle--so it isn't hard to master.
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Old 26-07-2006, 16:32   #44
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Still the idea is not to fall in!
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Old 26-07-2006, 17:01   #45
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I looking for two free tickets for The Annapolis Boat Show for two days October 6 & 7. Any suggestions, other than purchasing them online!
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