I didnt say anything about "government regulation" and I'm generally opposed to it regarding personal safety
, so lets not have this thread devolve into another political debate, ok?
My thesis is that sailing, especially offshore
, is a sport that can turn "Extreme" at any moment - and that people should be aware of this before casting off.
is far and away the biggest mortality factor - not sinking, and certainly not pirates, lol...
I've suggested that MOB
prevention and recovery be consistently studied and tactics refined - by an independent, private, non profit organization like US Sailing. My guess is they lack funding
because of the fatalistic attitudes reflected in many of the posts in this thread.
Perhaps if Paris Hilton was lost
at sea, the Hiltons might establish a research
endowment, and give grants to study and improve survival at sea.
Actually, the loss of Paris Hilton would improve many things.
Donald Trump and Oprah too.
But I digress:
Macho guys in open faced helmets, without HANS devices until recently, with all sorts of rationalizations about the practice.
Drivers were killed on a regular basis too.
Then, NASCARs most famous (and profitable) driver was killed in a run-of-the-mill crash:
"There were several safety improvements made in the sport of stock car racing following Earnhardt's death.
In response to the speculation about a broken lap belt in Earnhardt's car, many teams migrated from traditional five-point safety harnesses to six-point safety harnesses.
At the time NASCAR's report on Earnhardt's death was published, there were no rules requiring drivers to wear head and neck restraints. NASCAR president Mike Helton stated that "We are still not going to react for the sake of reacting." However, NASCAR did wish to "encouraged their use." By August 19, 2001 41 out of 43 drivers were wearing them at the Pepsi 400 by Meijer at Michigan International Speedway, just two days before NASCAR's report came out.
Two months later, after a crash during an ARCA race that killed driver Blaise Alexander, NASCAR mandated the use of head and neck restraints. Coincidentally, Earnhardt's eldest son Kerry Earnhardt was involved in the crash that killed Alexander, but Kerry was not injured.
In addition to head and neck restraints, NASCAR began requiring the use of soft walls at race tracks in which its top touring series compete. The soft walls feature foam and move slightly upon impact, dissipating energy and resulting in less forces being exerted on the driver during an impact."
The boom and head injuries rank a close second - and booms can and do knock people overboard. Every sailboat manufacturer should include some sort of accidental gybe preventer in thier standard rigging
- mine cost all of $14 to rig, and it has all sorts of other benefits, like light air boom positioning control.
People should be encouraged to wear helmets in rough conditions - tradition be damed - kayak
style vests too, and to CLIP ONTO THE BOAT.
note - I said "Encouraged" not "Required" though as skipper
, your word is law at sea, and any deaths are your responsibility - so I, as the "government" REQUIRE my crew to clip in at night - or whenever I tell them to. If they want to argue, they get "deported" from my "country", and are never alowed into it again.
I installed a throughbolted pad-eye right below the companionway
bridgedeck for this - along with handholds both inside and outside on the bulkheads, and on the aft edge of the companionway hatch
, and along the starboard and port perimeter of the opening after detmining that climbing in and out of the cabin
in rough weather
was DIFFICULT, and greatly aided by the additional handholds.
They dont look "traditional" and frankly, I dont care about tradition when I'm getting hammered out on the bay.
There is a profound schitzophrenic attitude about safety at sea - boating equipment
manufactures and retailers, from West Marine
to Island Packet
try to scare the crap out of sailors to sell them "Safety Gear" of unproven, and thus dubious value.
But when a call like mine is made for a rational study of the issues, the fatalism, denial, and vassilation sets in - "when its your time its your time" "it wont happen to me" "eh, its hopeless anyway".
I wonder how safe air-travel would be right now had this attitude been adopted by the major airlines.
....and if the private sector doesnt step up to the plate on this, history
shows that your big, bad government
All they need is a big distaster to justify such intervention in the non-sailing public's mind - the vast majority.
That's why no-discharge zones have proliferated - boaters didn't take the bull by the horns and encourage things like composting toilets through private associations and PR campaigns.
Same with anti-fouling
So agricalutural and urban run off - and even municipal sewage plants - A MUCH larger problem get a pass, while your "personal freedom" got screwed.
Finally, I think its important to look at how the face of sailing and seafaring have changed in the past 100 years.
We went from "the age of sail" where almost all sailors were professionals who worked thier way up from cabin
boy or poweder monkey to seaman, mate, and captian.
They served long appreticiships at sea, and the stupid, careless, or weak were weeded out with Darwinian efficiency by both the sea and thier more competent peers.
We live in a different age now - an age where weekend sailors of means save up or borrow enourmous sums of money
, then take a leave of absence from thier full time white collar careers, and put to sea short-handed, often with a spouse with much less experience and expertise than even they possess, in enormous luxury yachts.
Often these sailors are as someone else pointed out, unfit for sea duty, and often they join rallys like the NARC or BaHaHa to 'cruise in company' for the sense of security
They are lulled into trances by airbrushed magazine spreads showing calm crystal waters, emerald palms, and endless, deserted white sand beaches - with a single
boat anchored in the distance, and young, nubile females in the foreground.
They are assured by the press that modern communications
, and forecasting make passages safe, especially aboard large yachts.
....and usually, everything is fine - the forcasts hold, the passage
is completed, and the dream is realized.
But just as surely the sea hates a coward, its also patient: It will eventually seek and find any weakness in those who enter her realm.
Someone above said that too many people here fear the sea.
Well, only lubbers have no fear of the sea. In "Moby Dick" Ahab's first mate, Starbuck will not allow fearless men
in his whaleboat.
"They are dangerous" He says.
Mellvile was a seaman. So was Joseph Conrad. Moitiessier writes of "that little voice" Tristan Jones too. They all knew that fear, managed correctly, and grounded in a respect and awareness of actual dangers, was an important motivating instinct that keeps ships out of trouble and men
alive at sea.
This is one area where tradition is absolutely correct.