In the case of Cat Shot we had a Captain
with excellent experience driven to risk his life, and crew in a well-forecast storm. Apparently he had overconfidence in his ability, the seaworthiness of the boat, or both. It is an unfortunate conclusion that his overconfidence may have led to the loss. A nervous Captain
would have stayed in harbor, or perhaps better prepared to protect life in the event the boat flipped/sank.
There are multiple lessons to be learned form Cat Shot:
#1 If you captain or crew a boat, don’t venture into a storm. Storms are things to go around or avoid.
#2 If you sell boats, either get your product to the show before storm season, or don’t attend it at all. Having your boat featured on page one of local press is not a good thing.
#3 If you manufacture boats engineer
life critical components to be stronger then the forces they must withstand. eskfreedom observed it appeared Cat Shot deployed a parachute anchor
and the bridal broke. Manufactures take note of this fact and suggestions on this board how to beef up that component.
#4 No matter how confident you are, when it comes down to a small boat in heavy seas, prepare.
#5 Have a plan and procedure in place that maximizes the chances of survival for the worst case situations.
#6 Conduct drills to be on the ready, and implement the plan when conditions warrant.
Each plan will vary depending on type of boat, temperature of water, weather conditions, and number of crew/passengers. All plans should include man-overboard drills and everyone should be well practiced turning the boat around and squaring the area searching.
In the case of Cat Shot it is safe to say that they didn’t prepare for what befell them.
The Coast Guard said they found the vessel's Emergency
Position Indicating Radio
Beacon locked in a box, unable to float free and alert authorities. Therefore, all plans should include making this device ready to serve what it was designed to do.
There will obviously be levels at which different elements of a plan should be implemented. I.E. 10-ft seas may not require a particular step whereas 25-ft plus seas would put all elements into play. For example a part of the plan should IMHP be to have everyone dressed and ready as best as possible should warm body meet cold sea.
When Lakonia sank in calm sea, the water temperature was 62.6-64.4 F (17-18 C) and within 3 hours 113 fully dressed people died from hypothermia. In water at 50 F an average person can survive an hour to an hour and a half. At 32 F the limit for a dressed person is about 30 minutes. It is of course possible to extend these times by layering, new materials, and making sure to where a good hat. High-energy food
sources along with the flare should also do some good. How to get a wrapper off a food
bar should be planned out in advance before being confronted with hands too cold to tear it open.
Since Cat Shot had what appeared to be a rope
tied around the propeller
it is possible that at least one person survived when the boat overturned. Perhaps this person tried to stay out of the water by sitting lashed to the hull. That may initially sound like a good thing, however, now the person has to contend with the wind
chill. Clearly if the water is cold and wind chill is low you got to get out of both the water and wind.
The most logical place I can think to go to get out of the elements when a cat is overturned is either your life raft or a forward locker. Using the forward locker poses three questions.
How do you get into it, how do you get fresh air, and how do you signal a rescue
I’m sure this has monohull
people laughing right now since I’m talking about surviving within an upside down boat when their boats turn right so nicely. (Of course they may sink with a cabin
full of water, but at least you go down dignified.)
Here are a few thoughts:
If a forward locker was designated as being the emergency
refuge, it should contain a few things to make life more pleasant while waiting for rescue
. A little food and water, some dry towels, and most importantly some room.
Items within the locker would have to be arranged so that if the boat flipped they wouldn’t shift and prevent entry. If you were inside the hull when access was needed, an inside escape to the forward locker would be good provided it was mounted very low.
Regarding fresh air there would have to be a port to the main compartment of the hull that was closed until all were in and the access covers closed and water tight. Hopefully there would be enough air or air exchange in the main compartment to last until rescue.
Regarding signaling to rescuers that there are people inside the locker, I’m not sure.