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Old 03-03-2014, 13:10   #1
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What if.....There's a Death at Sea

So you and a mate/spouse/partner are crossing an ocean and are 15 days from land. One of you die (for whatever reason) and your VHF heralds no response at all. You are alone..and no one can assist or give you guidance.

What is the protocol regarding a death on board. What documentation, procedures/ evidence will be required by the authorities when you arrive at port...with one less, so that they don,t march you off to the bin.
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Old 03-03-2014, 13:29   #2
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Re: What if.....There's a death at sea

get rid of the weapon !
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Old 03-03-2014, 13:30   #3
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Re: What if.....There's a death at sea

Death on a Passage ?

been discussed
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Old 03-03-2014, 13:32   #4
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Re: What if.....There's a death at sea

Be thankful you bought the big freezer, and the 20kw genset.
Should be an interesting thread.
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Old 03-03-2014, 13:35   #5
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Re: What if.....There's a death at sea

Don't do it man. Just get a divorce
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Old 03-03-2014, 13:37   #6
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Re: What if.....There's a death at sea

Hmm... there was a long thread on this subject a couple of years back but I can readily locate right now.

You have seen what they do on telly; treat it as a crime scene, take lots of photos, write up all the details in the log. If the body is on board and you are in a temperate climate, do your best to live with it rather than deep six it.

Assuming you can sail the boat, head for nearest port (assuming it's not a current trouble spot). If you can't sail the boat, pop the EPIRB. Whatever, keep trying to make radio contact say every 4 hours and record same in the log.

Would be a help if you are not a beneficiary of a large inheritance of the deceased

EDIT, I note SB1 has located the previous thread while I type slowly
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Old 03-03-2014, 13:38   #7
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Re: What if.....There's a death at sea

Been there; done that.

Death on a Passage ?
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Old 03-03-2014, 14:00   #8
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Re: What if.....There's a death at sea

Actually, I disagree about the EPIRB. There is no emergency. The beloved is DEAD. I suggest you discuss the possibility and work out a strategy. I agree with documenting everything you do and also writing it in the ship's log.

Personally, I expect my body to be put overboard, and I would extend that courtesy to Jim, if I could get him above decks. For those of you who think this is too gruesome, sorry, but we have agreed on this, neither will keep a decaying body aboard. Now, if you are within 24 hrs. of port, I think you could probably get it there without too much desecration, but either way, it's going to be a huge bureaucratic nightmare at a time of personal desolation.

In our case, since we have SSB, I would inform the people on the net and ask one of the land based members to notify Jim's sister and Customs of my destination location.

Ann
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Old 03-03-2014, 14:08   #9
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Re: What if.....There's a death at sea

Ann and Jim wrote a whole bunch of **** about lifting dead bodies in bags with ropes an' stuff. Should definitely look at that thread. Lots of good info.
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Old 03-03-2014, 14:41   #10
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Re: What if.....There's a death at sea

Take lots of photos. Do not edit them or delete any. Keep them on the card in the camera. You can transfer them to your computer but do not erase the origonals on the cameera.

Do the same with video, video everything, try to get in one shot the body and the GPS location. Do not stop the camera when moving from the body to the GPS. All tape and memory cards are time coded so done well it will help you imensly.

Then chuck the body overboard.

The only people who have something to hide are criminals so prove your honesty from the outset.



Then sail to the closest FRIENDLY port... for example in the Caribbean you would not sail to Dominica (either) or Venuzalea, you would head to a French island, BVIs USVIs etc
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Old 03-03-2014, 16:06   #11
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Re: What if.....There's a death at sea

First, if you were 15 days from land and didn't have a SSB or Sat Phone you are a fool.

With those devices you can contact authorities and they can tell you what to do.

Sometimes they will divert a freighter or other large ship, who do have refrigerators big enough to store the body.

Lastly, the only reason to activate an EPIRB in a situation like this would be if you can't handle the vessel without your partner or you were in some other kind of danger.
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Old 03-03-2014, 16:24   #12
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Re: What if.....There's a death at sea

This will come down to the laws of the country of registration. The vessel must comply not only with maritime law, but with the law of the nation it represents. "international" internet forums are probably not good places to get advice on the procedure. However, I would simply contact the emergency services, who in turn would contact a consulate or embassy, who would give instructions.

I have heard of bodies being required to be kept on board for several days . nice!
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Old 03-03-2014, 16:49   #13
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Re: What if.....There's a death at sea

I've told my wife if I die tie an anchor around me throw me over wait 24 hrs and report me missing at sea and go for accidental death and double the insurance money.
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Old 03-03-2014, 16:54   #14
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Re: What if.....There's a death at sea

Quote:
Originally Posted by jeremiason View Post
First, if you were 15 days from land and didn't have a SSB or Sat Phone you are a fool. Not necessarily a fool, just someone who doesn't like electronics, or possibly is unable to afford them.

With those devices you can contact authorities and they can tell you what to do. We do not wish to be told what to do in this circumstance, but quite happy to notify them of decision as captain of the ship.

Sometimes they will divert a freighter or other large ship, who do have refrigerators big enough to store the body. For us, 24 hr. time limit on keeping the body around.

Lastly, the only reason to activate an EPIRB in a situation like this would be if you can't handle the vessel without your partner or you were in some other kind of danger.
I completely agree.


t's poissible that whichever of us was the survivor might have more of a hassle without getting okays from "the authorities", but in some cases it's easier to get forgiveness than permission. I am not sure of the maritime law on this issue, but there is a long history of precedent.

Also, the actions depend partly on whether you believe it is necessary to preserve the body for religious reasons. Some people might be willing to keep a decaying body on deck as it is spoiling. There are health reasons for disposing of it, and also mental health ones.

I think most of us hope it doesn't happen to us; I think you should talk with your partner about what you want/expect; and I think it's wise to think about it beforehand so as to plan, as a belowdecks death will require moving the corpse, how? before or after rigor mortis? clothe body for burial? Stitch through the nose? Which sail bag to use? Which weight? It will be slightly easier to handle if you've thought about it before, so there will be less pressure/stress on you.

I apologize to all who are offended by such plain talk. i know it can be really scary/threatening for some people to think about, let alone talk about. So, good luck with it, everyone.
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Old 03-03-2014, 16:58   #15
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Re: What if.....There's a death at sea

Good luck getting a passing ship to take a body off your hands...... wishing you even better luck getting the body back from India or China or where ever the ship is going.

Moving right along .. the 'Shipmaster's Medical Guide ' used to say and maybe still does that the only sure sign of death is putrefaction. A small mirror held under the nose is said to work but if sewing the body up and putting the not quite 'last stitch' through the bridge of the nose make sure you can still see the eyes..
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