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Old 22-06-2015, 14:13   #121
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Re: Keeping a Proper Lookout -- A Cautionary Tale

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Originally Posted by Ann T. Cate View Post
Muckle Flugga, and anyone else interested in the life jacket portion of this thread:

Said jackets were provided new, from vendors. Many of them floated the volunteers face down. The event has caused some rethinking of how testing of such devices is done here. Life jackets are being re-designed even as I write. I am awaiting further testing. I don't want a self-inflator that will float me face down when I'm unconscious.

This of course would lead into an inadequate safety gear thread, something Evans Starzinger has done some interesting investigation of, such as inadequate stitching on tethers, there's a thread here on CF somewhere about that, too.

Ann
Not very encouraging, to say the least. My Mustang arming kits tell me to replace if the small green button turns red during year 2012. Only trouble is they have yet to turn red at all. I guess I should just be proactive & replace at this point. My first MOM-A fell clean off the aft rail one day for unexplained reasons, never to be seen again. The second one came with a wire lanyard which was nice, but within two years its case had become distorted beyond repair. My Lifesling cover completely disintegrated within one year, but now you can buy, for an extra $100, an optional cover made from Sunbrella. Should making such "essential" or "critical" safety gear last for more than a couple of years be optional? Meanwhile every time I bring my 10+ year old Givens liferaft in for service I am told it remains in perfect condition and does not need replacing. So apparently it is possible to make these things durable.

OK, end of rant, but I've grown rather skeptical of certain items sold under the "safety" moniker. Your most recent example of pfd's either not inflating as advertised or floating people face down only adds to my skepticism. Perhaps a simple harness with secure tether attachment points is a better bet after all.
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Old 22-06-2015, 14:21   #122
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Re: Keeping a Proper Lookout -- A Cautionary Tale

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Originally Posted by Ann T. Cate View Post
Muckle Flugga, and anyone else interested in the life jacket portion of this thread:

Said jackets were provided new, from vendors. Many of them floated the volunteers face down. The event has caused some rethinking of how testing of such devices is done here. Life jackets are being re-designed even as I write. I am awaiting further testing. I don't want a self-inflator that will float me face down when I'm unconscious.

This of course would lead into an inadequate safety gear thread, something Evans Starzinger has done some interesting investigation of, such as inadequate stitching on tethers, there's a thread here on CF somewhere about that, too.

Ann
Ann,

Thanks for bringing this into the discussion. Has there been any published report on this (in a sailing mag or newsletter or blog)?

I do agree this is a topic deserving of it's own thread.
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Old 22-06-2015, 15:11   #123
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Re: Keeping a Proper Lookout -- A Cautionary Tale

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Ann,

Thanks for bringing this into the discussion. Has there been any published report on this (in a sailing mag or newsletter or blog)?

I do agree this is a topic deserving of it's own thread.
Not yet, as far as I know. I believe it's in the works. We have to understand that everyone was quite shocked, and there's a whole lot of re-thinking going on. I rather doubt anyone wants to talk about it.

One thing I really detest is that some places the gear is required by local law, and there are people who have the right to check that you have it, and at the same time it's NFG! Grrrh!

Ah, well, there's a lot of craziness in the world.
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Old 22-06-2015, 15:58   #124
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Re: Keeping a Proper Lookout -- A Cautionary Tale

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I'm not sure this is the right place for this, but at the close of my day here, I'm remembering the times we have come up on unlit sailing yachts on longish passages.

PLEASE, PLEASE do not sail unlit. Don't even be tempted.

Ann
Ann - The first 5 deliveries I made from Hawaii, and the round trip with my boat, were mostly done with no running lights because the salt air corosion of the wiring connections or battery failure. I did keep a watch all the time on the deliveries and the return trip on my boat (because I had crew) and a flashlight was shone on the sails when other lights were seen. But on my first trip there the masthead running lights gave out about the third day. So regretably I had no lights when I slept at night. I usually slept during the day AND most of the night - especially the last 8 days when I had two broken ribs. Thankfully much of the sailing route to Hawaii is not where most commercial shipping goes.
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Old 22-06-2015, 17:27   #125
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Re: Keeping a Proper Lookout -- A Cautionary Tale

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Not yet, as far as I know. I believe it's in the works. We have to understand that everyone was quite shocked, and there's a whole lot of re-thinking going on. I rather doubt anyone wants to talk about it.

One thing I really detest is that some places the gear is required by local law, and there are people who have the right to check that you have it, and at the same time it's NFG! Grrrh!

Ah, well, there's a lot of craziness in the world.
I think (but don't know) that MAST had something about this in their last publication and perhaps on their website.

I seem to recall it was more a problem with the type of clothing worn under the lifejacket rather than the auto inflate pe sec. OTOH, I may be confusing two difference issues .

For the upovers, MAST is the local state governement marine mob.
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Old 22-06-2015, 17:42   #126
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Re: Keeping a Proper Lookout -- A Cautionary Tale

One of the main purposes of lifejackets is that searchers can find and identify your body.
I think thats why NZ Cat 1 requires those going offshore to have names on the jackets.
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Old 22-06-2015, 18:02   #127
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Re: Keeping a Proper Lookout -- A Cautionary Tale

I agree with DeepRfz. A large percent of male boaters that drown are found with pants unzipped.
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Old 22-06-2015, 18:47   #128
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Re: Keeping a Proper Lookout -- A Cautionary Tale

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Probably a good idea in the middle of a yacht race but a bit weird on a trip when you haven't see another vessel for more than a week and there's no land for a couple of hundred miles.


Thank you, a tad of logic goes a long way.

I sail on three distinctly different bodies of water:

1. The central San Francisco Bay - constant lookout, but the amount of difference in the traffic between a weekend and a weekday is astounding. The old saw, though, does apply: even on an uncrowded weekday, if there are only two boats out, their paths WILL cross!

2. The California Delta - one HAS to keep constant lookout, since we're dealing with narrow sloughs and rivers with narrow channels and thin water abounds. Never sail there or move at night.

3. The ocean - empty, empty, empty, except for the fishing boats who use a pretty predictable course out the Golden Gate. Once out, it's serene, calm, peaceful and empty. Regular 10-15 minute scans work just fine, monitoring VTS for traffic.

One size fits all does NOT work, each body of water requires different amounts of time for constant lookouts.

More traffic? More situational awareness is required.

What's so hard?
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Old 22-06-2015, 20:19   #129
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Re: Keeping a Proper Lookout -- A Cautionary Tale

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Thank you, a tad of logic goes a long way.

I sail on three distinctly different bodies of water:

1. The central San Francisco Bay - constant lookout, but the amount of difference in the traffic between a weekend and a weekday is astounding. The old saw, though, does apply: even on an uncrowded weekday, if there are only two boats out, their paths WILL cross!

2. The California Delta - one HAS to keep constant lookout, since we're dealing with narrow sloughs and rivers with narrow channels and thin water abounds. Never sail there or move at night.

3. The ocean - empty, empty, empty, except for the fishing boats who use a pretty predictable course out the Golden Gate. Once out, it's serene, calm, peaceful and empty. Regular 10-15 minute scans work just fine, monitoring VTS for traffic.

One size fits all does NOT work, each body of water requires different amounts of time for constant lookouts.

More traffic? More situational awareness is required.

What's so hard?
I think what's hard for some, and justifiably so, is the language in Rule 5 that a watch must be maintained "at all times." As it should be in many situations such as the first two examples you cite. And as it should be at all times with, for example, larger commercial vessels traveling at much higher speeds. I think the vastly different scenarios & wide-ranging types of vessels is why the Rule is intentionally vague. Thus, a watch maintained "at all times" must be accomplished by a "proper lookout," namely one which, as the Rule also says, can fully appraise whatever situation exists so as to avoid any risk of collision.

The reality is that this is exactly what you describe in your third scenario, namely open, largely empty ocean with horizon scans every 10-15 mins. Under this regimen, you have eliminated any risk of collision, thereby satisfying the underlying reason Rule 5 & the Colregs exist. Nevertheless, while you are certainly avoiding any risk of collision "at all times," you are not maintaining a visual watch "at all times." So some ambiguity exists but, as you point out, not so hard to resolve.
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Old 22-06-2015, 21:12   #130
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Re: Keeping a Proper Lookout -- A Cautionary Tale

Kayakers can be easily overlooked and can appear out of nowhere (a strong paddler is as fast as I).





Personal watercraft and sailboarders are so fast and erratic, one often has no choice beyond maintaining a steady course. Fortunately, they usually maneuver around other vessels as they love an excuse to turn.
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Old 22-06-2015, 21:52   #131
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Re: Keeping a Proper Lookout -- A Cautionary Tale

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...this is exactly what you describe in your third scenario, namely open, largely empty ocean with horizon scans every 10-15 mins. Under this regimen, you have eliminated any risk of collision...
Up to now we have been in agreement. But it is important not to forget about other collision hazards, such as containers, that we likely will not see.
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Old 22-06-2015, 22:23   #132
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Re: Keeping a Proper Lookout -- A Cautionary Tale

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2. The California Delta - one HAS to keep constant lookout, since we're dealing with narrow sloughs and rivers with narrow channels and thin water abounds. Never sail there or move at night.
Stu - Through the years I have found that some of the most beautiful time on the water, be it ocean, bay or delta, have been at night.


For many years I frequently took charter parties out the gate and around Angel Island or to Drakes Bay or Pillar Point, and sometimes Monterey and Santa Cruz and Bdega Bay. Often to all three. Often these trips involved night sailing. But getting to the point, I berthed my Cal in Antioch or Pittsburg. I learned quickly that getting to the bay was more comfortable and faster if the water was going my way than if against the current - and it was dier when done between about midnight and sunup if possible. Next best was anytime after dark. So I singlehanded through the lower delta and San Pablo Bay in the dark.

In the delta east of Pittsburg, going to dinner at The Point in Rio Vista or the Potato Barge or the Sugar Barge or the Rusty Porthole involved coming home in the dark, or at least getting to where I wanted to spend the night. Sure, you had to watch where you were going, and you risked hitting the mud with your keel, but it was fine IF THERE WAS A MOON OUT. No moon - anchor or berth where you ate! Or anchor close enough to take a dinghy ride to dinner.
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Old 22-06-2015, 22:30   #133
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Re: Keeping a Proper Lookout -- A Cautionary Tale

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Up to now we have been in agreement. But it is important not to forget about other collision hazards, such as containers, that we likely will not see.
Yes, agreed. I shouldn't have phrased it so emphatically. There are always risks, including ones like containers that we may or may not be able to mitigate no matter how diligantly we stand watch.
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Old 23-06-2015, 01:02   #134
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Re: Keeping a Proper Lookout -- A Cautionary Tale

There is a fascinating thread over on ybw.com regarding single handing. ather than cherry pick what I think is valid, perhaps a read of all of the comments will be better.

Is it legal for a single handed skipper to sleep?
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Old 23-06-2015, 02:28   #135
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Re: Keeping a Proper Lookout -- A Cautionary Tale

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Originally Posted by Ann T. Cate View Post
Muckle Flugga, and anyone else interested in the life jacket portion of this thread:

Said jackets were provided new, from vendors. Many of them floated the volunteers face down. The event has caused some rethinking of how testing of such devices is done here. Life jackets are being re-designed even as I write. I am awaiting further testing. I don't want a self-inflator that will float me face down when I'm unconscious.

This of course would lead into an inadequate safety gear thread, something Evans Starzinger has done some interesting investigation of, such as inadequate stitching on tethers, there's a thread here on CF somewhere about that, too.

Ann
Hi Ann and all,

Well this is concerning, but one swallow doth not a summer make. I just wonder if the jackets had been checked and repacked prior to testing. Even when new this should be done. Further, the floating upside down thing is very concerning, and surprising, particularly if these were "quality" jackets.

I have to say that my own experience is that cheap jackets can indeed cause problems, but the more quality equipment I have seen and used (likes of Spinlock, Kru and Crewsaver and some others) have proven fast, effective and even impressive.

I have done several offshore safety courses in both pools and wave tanks and these all involved jumping into water, sometimes with strong wave generation, sometimes from a fair height, thence lying limp, swimming, joining together in a swimming line (on the back with legs and locked around the waist and one arm locked into the webbing of the upper back, alternating), climbing into/righting liferafts etc etc. The jackets I have tested in these circumstances performed excellently. There was NO CHANCE of floating upside down, and indeed it was impossible to turn onto the front even to attempt swimming. Swimming in a good jacket is to be done BACKWARDS using a synchronised backstroke action. If you can swim on your front you need to change your jacket.

It is not the case that jackets/pfds are just randomly produced and untested. They are indeed tested and certified by national authorities, eg:

CE Approval ISO lifejacket approval - Marine Warehouse Ltd

As well as tested regularly by other bodies:

Group test: Lifejackets - Yachting Monthly

But they are constantly tested in wave tanks by the likes of myself and the countless other seamen who have to jump into them for safety and sea survival certification and update. If there was a general failure in any particular model this would fairly rapidly become known, as we do this fully kitted, including sometimes in drysuits, in which case a failed jacket can result in floating inverted! Very dangerous even in a wavetank!

I am sure that things went wrong at the event you witnessed, but I am very concerned that this does not lead to any generalised failure in the confidence of readers here or elsewhere in the use of harness/PFD's which remain the most important line of personal defense against death by drowning at sea.

I simply stress that people do NOT skimp on their investment in jackets and other safety equipment. Good equipment is INVALUABLE and can be reliable. If you are skeptical of ALL pfds, then, I ask you, what is the alternative? Are you going to go back to the old style Mae Wests? I somehow doubt it.

Attached is a photo of my own working jacket, taken this morning, still perfectly inflated after 2 days tested. Note the integral pull down hood, not in a separate pouch (which is very poor option though still better than none), and double crotch straps, as well as permanently attached signalling kit (AIS beacon set to autofire [though that option disabled for the test], PLB, Laserflare) and cutting equipment (sailor's knife in Spinlock pouch, seperate linecutter attached to waist webbing, attached beside pouch in black and orange). The style has cutaways for the shoulders and harms to facilitate adequate movement for swimming, climbing etc, and massive buoyancy in the lower chest/stomach area for rapid righting moment. This jacket is 190N, and I do not recommend less than 175N for serious offshore work, though I consider the 275N kit to be excessive and even counterproductive, as the extreme bulk when inflated inhibits vision, motion, and self rescue activity.

Lifejacket maintenance should be a key part of any boaters life. I have discovered critical degeneration after a few years in even high quality jackets. Manual (breath) inflation tests should be a personally enforced mandatory activity (on the part of each boater not regulatory per se, as like most seamen I am not a great big fan of legislation).

I strongly encourage people to test their own jackets in safe circumstances and with at least one standby, and a good rescue plan if failed. I always thoroughly check the jackets of every boat I step aboard, and, for example, attend the repack of each liferaft I am responsible for, if I can (though sadly often impossible as I work on many boats), and certainly my own, and I am a FIRM believer that the place to find out whether your safety kit is up to the job is NOT while sinking off Madagascar or on fire off Barbados!
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