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Old 28-01-2008, 13:33   #16
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There are actually a couple threads on similar topics circlulating here, and a response I gave in one applies here as well.

While I am ALL FOR helping stranded sailors with my own boat (I have towed in many who got in trouble and rescued a couple in my dinghy that were capsized), please read the following post from another thread regarding this same issue:

These threads grow more and more disturbing every time I see a new one.

As far as I'm concerned, we ought to have *only* coastal rescue for day sailors who get in trouble "X" amount of miles from shore. It's cheap, they usually just need a tow, and they can be babysat by the nanny state.

In this modern day of EPIRBs and satellite phones, people are too reliant on rescue services and are doing nothing but encouraging the nanny state by RELYING ON THIS VERY SAME NANNY should a storm cause them to "chicken out."

To be completely honest, if I couldn't get my boat together and left so unprepared as to not be able to limp back in a case such as the case that Ken Barnes guy had, I would deserve to go down with the ship. I know that sounds extreme, but personally, I make sure I will never need rescue. It's called redundancy. If my redundant systems fail, I (and my wife) are completely comfortable with going down with the ship. Just means your time is up.

If you *do* lose your boat to the sea and you are truly sinking or floating around in a liferaft, ok... call for help. But even then, it's at the expense of the nanny state, who you just became more and more controlled and indebted to by accepting the ride.

This is a real problem. Maybe we (as sailors) should be prepared to die if we are unable to cope with what the sea dishes out. Seriously. This *should be* the nature of traveling offshore.
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Old 28-01-2008, 13:47   #17
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At a more personal level, I feel that my duty is to my crew first, and to a vessel in distress second. Therefore I would render assistance to a vessel in distress only insofar that it would not expose my vessel and crew to unacceptable risk. What constitutes "unacceptable"... that would be a decision made at the time.

It is worthy of noting that, around here, if a vessel gets into difficulties in bad weather, rescue services emphasise the point that private vessels should only consider rendering assistance if they are 100% confident / comfortable with their own abilities and the their vessel's capabilities in the conditions.
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Old 28-01-2008, 13:50   #18
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"Maybe we (as sailors) should be prepared to die if "
That really doesn't matter, does it? Except for the unprepared ones who somehow survive and then bitch about the lack of red carpet rescue craft, I mean.

One thing that sailing teaches you is that it doesn't matter what you want or how loud you holler, the wind and sea are going to do what they want, when they want, and you can either learn to deal with it, or not learn. Neither the wind nor sea give a damn if you're happy about it. And you can't bluff, argue, intimidate, threaten, con, or cajole either one of them into meeting your schedule.

Interesting the way a question about unspecified "duty" to "Stranded" sailors morphs into LAWS governing DISTRESS and EMERGENCY. As the USCG will quickly tell you, if you are in a rowboat, cold and miserable and out of gas, you are not necessarily in any danger, and you can damn well call BOATUS and pay your own way home.

Coupla stranded sailors? That's no problem, that's a business opportunity. Or a chance to bank karma points, depends on just how politely they're waving.<G>
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Old 28-01-2008, 14:00   #19
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An interesting question would be:

"Would you still set sail (whether accross the bay or accross an ocean) if you KNEW that no one would come and rescue you?"

Duty to help? I dunno about the word "Duty" itself, but certainly when you set sail accross any water you enter into a brotherhood, including with folk who are past and long gone - you help those who need help, on the basis that they would do the same for you.

Of course the reality may sometimes be different.........

Would I turn down proffesional help out of principal? No, not if I felt I needed it. But I would not plan to EXPECT anyone else (proffesional or amateur) to help me.

If I wanted an interesting AND 100% safe experiance - that did not require me to think - I would go to Alton Towers or Disneyland.
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Old 28-01-2008, 14:09   #20
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If I wanted an interesting AND 100% safe experiance - that did not require me to think - I would go to Alton Towers or Disneyland.
People need rescuing in those places too my friend. The difference is, the rescue is paid for by the price of admimission........think about it .
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Old 28-01-2008, 15:06   #21
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Duty to help? I dunno about the word "Duty" itself, but certainly when you set sail across any water you enter into a brotherhood, including with folk who are past and long gone - you help those who need help, on the basis that they would do the same for you.
It is that simple basis that everything else flows. You don't get to opt out of the world. If you saw a situation and were able to help without risk and did nothing then you are branded criminal by most people as well as the law. It is from this that springs the problem. Governments have large resources available and have the at hand ability to provide aid. Isn't the duty of the many the same as the one?

Above in the example you have the clear ability to render aid and you do not and so are guilty of failure in your duty under the law and the sailor dies. Is the drowning sailor's duty to say "don't save me I shouldn't be here".

When it is no single persons duty to save another then it will no longer be anyones duty. As captain my duty is no less if I am alone or if I have a crew of 100. The question is still the same. The obligation to act is the same only my ability to act is in question. Those can not always be predetermined but may be subject to scrutiny.

Should a government be held to a lower standard than a captain? Can a government claim a lower standard than a captain?
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Old 28-01-2008, 15:30   #22
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People need rescuing in those places too my friend. The difference is, the rescue is paid for by the price of admimission........think about it .
Yeah, ok
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Old 28-01-2008, 15:49   #23
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It is that simple basis that everything else flows. You don't get to opt out of the world. If you saw a situation and were able to help without risk and did nothing then you are branded criminal by most people as well as the law. It is from this that springs the problem. Governments have large resources available and have the at hand ability to provide aid. Isn't the duty of the many the same as the one?

Above in the example you have the clear ability to render aid and you do not and so are guilty of failure in your duty under the law and the sailor dies. Is the drowning sailor's duty to say "don't save me I shouldn't be here".

When it is no single persons duty to save another then it will no longer be anyones duty. As captain my duty is no less if I am alone or if I have a crew of 100. The question is still the same. The obligation to act is the same only my ability to act is in question. Those can not always be predetermined but may be subject to scrutiny.

Should a government be held to a lower standard than a captain? Can a government claim a lower standard than a captain?
I am a little bit confused (easily done!) - I really do not see why it should ever be a legal matter to help / not help someone on the sea. It does not mean that folk should not help others. Just that somethings are either done or not. IMO a law is an irrelevence.

Is it the Govt's duty to provide SAR for sailors? I honestly do not think so - but their may be a commercial or other reason for the Govt to do so - Just like the Bouyage systems and lighthouse were set up by the Govt for reasons not solely to do with charity! - and of which private yachtsmen is a beneficiary.

Obvioulsy as a Captain you should also have a legal duty to take care of our crew / passengers, but another vessel? No. But you should still try to help, if reasonably possible. in your sole judgement. at the time.........not a matter for blokes in wigs 6 months later with the benefit of 20/20 hindsight sitting in a warm courtroom.
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Old 28-01-2008, 15:50   #24
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The CCG were more involved in buoy servicing and protecting their resources and the general consensus amongst the tough seaman who made their living in those waters, was that the CCG risk threshold was lower.

As a proud Canadian I was embarrassed that our CCG depended a lot on the USCG, who are still in my opinion the greatest! Again, it was a long time ago and I hope things have changed.
It's a common misconception that we (CCG) are the same sort of organization as our neighbours to the south. The CCG in terms of mandate CCG is different than the USCG with some overlapping mandates for SAR, Aids to Navigation, Icebreaking etc. and on all those programs we work cooperatively along shared coast lines and waterways (Great Lakes & St. Lawrence River). In terms of resources at sea and on land the CCG is less than 1/10'th the size of the USCG and fall far behind on airborne resources. It's a sad fact, true, given we have a longer coast line but w/o the population base to support a massive organization like the USCG the CCG will never be able to muster the same resources to be applied in any given incident.

I asked around the 5th. floor today (SAR HQ) and other than one well publicized incident back in the early 80's nobody had heard of a reported incident where resources did not, at least, make an attempt to respond to a call. The ultimate call is that of the unit's Commanding Officer and if he/she believes there is grave risk to the crew or the vessel they alone have the discretion to abandon the call, although it doesn't end there. The Rescue Coordination Centre(s) can reallocate other resources if available and this includes auxiliary vessels and crews. In recent memory nobody in HQ could recall when this had happened.

Now, back in the 70's it was a different story. Resources were spread even thinner on the ground than they are today. The boats were less capable and the crews not trained anywhere near the level they are today. Given the lack of EPIRBS & GMDSS & COSPAS SarSat etc. the ability to quickly execute a SAR was an order of magnitude greater than it is today. I'm not making excuses, it's just the way it was.

Many incidents in the last 30 yrs have changed the face of CCG. A merger with Fisheries and Oceans lead to a massive downsizing of the CCG Fleet. Program Review (massive GoC downsizing exercise) removed millions in operating funds and recapitalization of the fleet resources. These have only started to correct themselves in the last few years with new MLB's being built and more active recruiting and advanced training for Ships Officers & Crew. So yes, things are getting better but we will never ever reach the level of resources the USCG can muster for any given incident.

There's a new web site for CCG coming in the next few months that will (hopefully) explain all this in more eloquent terms than I can must. I'm just a hairy ass'd ole sailor who rides a desk nowadays.
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Old 28-01-2008, 15:58   #25
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[FONT='Calibri','sans-serif']I am a little bit confused (easily done!) - I really do not see why it should ever be a legal matter to help / not help someone on the sea.[/FONT]
It's required under the law. (see Gord's post above). It does not require you to die in the attempt, but reasonable action as well as the requirement to report all information is required.
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Old 28-01-2008, 16:41   #26
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Pelagic,

I'm glad Rick chimed in with his comments on the CCG - good to get info straight from the horse's mouth, so to speak. Thought I should add that SAR in Canada isn't in the sole domain of the CCG - it's a shared responsibility with the Forces. The SAR aircraft (the yellow ones) are all military; the CCG has helo's too; they're red and mostly used for general work, such as ferrying people between ships and lighthouses, although they can be used as air ambulances. I'm not sure how it was in the 70s, but think the primary SAR helo was the CH113 Labrador vertol, which IIRC had very stringent wind limits - that's a limitation of the equipment, not of the gutsiness of the crews. Now they have the Cormorant, which is an all-weather bird with greater range than the USCG's Jayhawks. Still, you're talking about an area that is Canada's hinterland; we just don't have the facilities up North. Alaska has the population to support 2 USCG Air Stations and a dozen cutters.
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Old 28-01-2008, 17:10   #27
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There's some good discussion of the duty to provide assistance in the book Degrees of Reckoning. It is about a family run down in their sailboat off New Zealand by a Korean lumber ship. 3 dead. 1 survived.

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Old 28-01-2008, 17:15   #28
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Thanks for the update Knottybuoyz but what you explained unfortunately sounds like the typical government bilingual doublespeak and citizen apathy that has restricted the capacity to protect their own citizens.
Sad to hear if you are a working mariner and I imagine very frustrating for a young person who would like a career saving lives in the Canadian Coast Guard. I had many friends in the CCG and remember their own frustrations at lack of support.

Having said that I totally agree with Hello sailor’s comment:
One thing that sailing teaches you is that it doesn't matter what you want or how loud you holler, the wind and sea are going to do what they want, when they want, and you can either learn to deal with it, or not learn. Neither the wind nor sea gives a damn if you're happy about it. And you can't bluff, argue, intimidate, threaten, con, or cajole either one of them into meeting your schedule.”

It is that very attitude of self reliance and preparedness that led me to a career at sea and a respect for all those who do the same. That is why I shudder at governments trying to control and diffuse the pride of being your own master onboard your own private ship, by over-regulating.

Time for me to get off this soapbox and go check the bilges….lol
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Old 28-01-2008, 18:42   #29
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Thanks for the update Knottybuoyz but what you explained unfortunately sounds like the typical government bilingual doublespeak
Ohhhhhhh that hurt!

Oh yeah, I was holdin' back. I still got 7 yrs to retirement!!! Wouldn't be pretty getting fired at this point in time! After I retire I'll tell ya all how it really went.
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Old 28-01-2008, 19:25   #30
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Paul-
"You don't get to opt out of the world." No, but many people go blithely past without lifting a hand, and yes, they do get to live that way.
"Should a government be held to a lower standard than a captain? Can a government claim a lower standard than a captain?" Consider if you will, the Royal National Lifeboat Service...whatever it is Brits call their shore rescue service? That's an all-volunteer program, not a government funded one. You could say that the Crown has indeed set itself lower standards than the US/USCG and the Crown Subjects seem content with that.
Or the situation in Australia and other places, where massive government SAR resources just aren't there. Or for that matter, the USCG, which receives so little funding that they routinely ask for volunteer watch standers to supplement the station crews, via the USCG Auxiliary--unpaid. Heck, the only USCG Air Rescue groups in the busy Northeast are Boston and Atlantic City, with NOTHING IN BETWEEN any more except some local and shut down the rest.
Duty? Legal obligations? Yeah, whatever Congress imposes, for Captains and everyone else alike. And that's a somewhat arbitrary imposition, within or outside any one nation. Beyond that? Everything else is rather personal and subjective, isn't it?
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