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Old 22-12-2011, 03:55   #91
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Re: Safety of Life at Sea - Life and death matters at sea.

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Originally Posted by rebel heart View Post
Guys with a lot more sea time than you and me (and everyone on this forum) never wear harnesses. Bernard Moitessier used to go swimming while single handing by trailing a line astern (with the sales up and windvane going), jumping in the water and swimming happy as a clam until the end of the line, then pulling himself back to the boat and doing it again.
You are aware he disappeared overboard singlehanding a few years ago aren't you
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Old 22-12-2011, 05:47   #92
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Re: Safety of Life at Sea - Life and death matters at sea.

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Terrible news when someone dies, especially when it seems like some basic safety measures (that are often ignored) might have prevented it.

I find the 30' wave thing a little hard to believe. Sure, they happen and so do rogue waves. However sailors overestimating sea conditions and using terms incorrectly are a hell of a lot more common than 30' waves and once-in-thirty-years rogue waves that every guy with ten minutes on the water seems positive that they have personally experienced.

Terrible that the lady died, probably preventable, but saying you're going to spend your entire sailing career clipped in to a jackline is bogus. Accidents happen, but if (and that's a huge if) they really had waves three stories high and weren't clipped in that's crazy.
90 foot waves are very common in the Southern Ocean,

Those so called freak waves happen where the floor of the ocean changes in height, Or there is a strong sea current running,

Along the edges you get these huge waves that stand up straight out of the sea, 30 feet or so,
Then just flatten out, nothing left of them,

When the weather is rough, these edges are some thing else, Very bad chop, and monster waves, They are about 3 miles wide on each side,

Its not pleasant crossing them either,

I have a full shoulder harness and I dont go outside with it firmly on and clipped to my jack rope,

Make sure your harness is not long enough to allow you to go over the side, As you cant pull your self back on board with the pressure of the water on you at 5knots,
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Old 22-12-2011, 05:52   #93
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Re: Safety of Life at Sea - Life and death matters at sea.

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Originally Posted by idpnd View Post
You are aware he disappeared overboard singlehanding a few years ago aren't you
Bernard Moitessier - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Subsequent life

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It took him two years to finish the book about his trip in Tahiti, during which time he met Ileana Draghici with whom he had a son, Stephan. They moved to the atoll of Ahe, where Moitessier attempted to cultivate fruit and vegetables. Ileana encouraged him to move to America to complete films about his sailing but he left after two years in his boat Joshua. Joshua was beached, along with many other yachts, by Hurricane Paul at Cabo San Lucas in 1982. It was salvaged and restored, and is berthed in La Rochelle, France. After further travels, Moitessier returned to Paris to write his autobiography.
Moitessier was an environmental activist against nuclear weapons in the South Pacific. He died of cancer on 16 June 1994 and is buried in Bono, in Brittany, France.
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Old 22-12-2011, 13:08   #94
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Re: Safety of Life at Sea - Life and death matters at sea.

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.

MOB 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:

Remember NASCAR?

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.[21]

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."[22] 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.[23] 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.

Litterally, lol...

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 WILL.

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 paints.

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 this provides.

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, navigation, 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.
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Old 22-12-2011, 14:05   #95
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Re: Safety of Life at Sea - Life and death matters at sea.

[QUOTE=webejammin;843515]
Quote:
Originally Posted by rebel heart View Post
Guys with a lot more sea time than you and me (and everyone on this forum) never wear harnesses. Bernard Moitessier used to go swimming while single handing by trailing a line astern (with the sales up and windvane going), jumping in the water and swimming happy as a clam until the end of the line, then pulling himself back to the boat and doing it again.
Not a bad practice. I'll bet he didn't do that in a storm though.

Having a tether is a good practice, a trailing line will only help in calm conditions when the MOB is concious and not fatigued.

A tether is like a seat belt, most people die in automobile crashes when thrown through a windshield, or for any reason exit the vehicle while in motion. (primary cause of death when vehicle rolls).

Applying this to boats, most people who stay on board survive, while most of those who do not die.
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Old 22-12-2011, 14:22   #96
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Re: Safety of Life at Sea - Life and death matters at sea.

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Originally Posted by Hogan View Post
Then, an overweight woman who'd been drinking fell into the water near my boat earlier this year. \
He and I both were unable to lift her out of the water, and the sling just slid over her shoulders. The docks have no ladders. She was unable to climb a transom ladder I deployed on adjacent boat.

She was to big - no way I would be able to rescue her

This woman had been in the water for perhaps 30 minutes, and I'm convinced she would have died without the immediate intervention of myself and 3 other persons - it took four of us to rescue her in flat water, complicated by the darkness -
It is sad really that someone would allow themselves to gain that much weight without regard to the consequences. Something to be aware of when you weigh more than most people can lift, Apparently she could not even lift her own weight.

I can lift any member of my family from the water with one hand, but none of them can lift me. Fortunately I can lift myself, so if I am conscious all they have to do is throw me a line.
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Old 22-12-2011, 14:35   #97
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Re: Safety of Life at Sea - Life and death matters at sea.

I should add we have 2 teathers with 3 connections points and we have 2 different types of PFD's, one type is our old white water kayak vests with safety harness built in and the other type is off shore auto inflating with harness built in. Were not often off shore or in too rough of water but we use the teathers when going foward if the breeze is over 30kt's even on the river, not that I would get blown off our deck.
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Old 22-12-2011, 14:39   #98
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pirate Re: Safety of Life at Sea - Life and death matters at sea.

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Men go to war to die for freedom, and then we give it away to imbicilic beaurocracy. I'd rather die from freedom than for it!
Correction... The young men go to war to fight and die for freedom and a new world... and after its over the 'Old Bastards' crawl back out of their holes and proceed to Feck it all up again...
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Maybe even a blanket ban on any vessels under 25' going offshore.........
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Old 22-12-2011, 14:44   #99
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Great post and great examples.

Accidents and hazards don't discriminate and generally occur at the most inconvenient times.

Luck equates to a lack of planning and preparation.
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Old 22-12-2011, 15:39   #100
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Re: Safety of Life at Sea - Life and death matters at sea.

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Correction... The young men go to war to fight and die for freedom and a new world... and after its over the 'Old Bastards' crawl back out of their holes and proceed to Feck it all up again...
Well that's a fair variation of what I was saying...

I like the quote.. "War is where old men send young men to die..." or some suchlike.
You really do wonder if the older politicians would decide to go to war if they had to go out and lead the charge themselves.

I think I may have just discovered the secret to world peace... Pollies First.
And right on christmas too
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Old 22-12-2011, 16:01   #101
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Re: Safety of Life at Sea - Life and death matters at sea.

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...
What are others experiences and thoughts regarding MOB emergencies, and especially, their prevention?
After trying a few MOB drills in the open water with a swell running, we've added one more thing to each PFD - dive signal tube. It's a long bright-coloured tube that can be filled with air. Once the person is in the water [if they are conscious] they can inflate the tube and hold it. Its visibillity is much better than just a person with a PFD and a strobe light.

We know it doesn't cover the case when the person is not conscious, and you need to expend energy to blow it up, but it's better than not having one at all.

As example, Amazon lists several: Amazon.com: 45 inch Dive Signal Tube with Inflator: Sports & Outdoors

Now our PFDs (with built in crotch harnesses) have: strobe light, whistle, knife, and dive signal tube. As the next upgrade we're looking at getting the personal AIS beacons - in our opinion better than PLBs for couple sailing.

At Southampton boat show we saw the next generation of a dive signal tube: self-inflating signal tube with a strobe light at the top. A small enough package to carry on you. The price was a bit too much for what you got though...

Also considering a small mirror and a package of small flares. But after a few of these upgrades we're starting to feel more like a Christmas tree than sailors...
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Old 23-12-2011, 12:53   #102
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Re: Safety of Life at Sea - Life and death matters at sea.

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After trying a few MOB drills in the open water with a swell running, we've added one more thing to each PFD - dive signal tube. It's a long bright-coloured tube that can be filled with air. Once the person is in the water [if they are conscious] they can inflate the tube and hold it. Its visibillity is much better than just a person with a PFD and a strobe light.

We know it doesn't cover the case when the person is not conscious, and you need to expend energy to blow it up, but it's better than not having one at all.

As example, Amazon lists several: Amazon.com: 45 inch Dive Signal Tube with Inflator: Sports & Outdoors

Now our PFDs (with built in crotch harnesses) have: strobe light, whistle, knife, and dive signal tube. As the next upgrade we're looking at getting the personal AIS beacons - in our opinion better than PLBs for couple sailing.

At Southampton boat show we saw the next generation of a dive signal tube: self-inflating signal tube with a strobe light at the top. A small enough package to carry on you. The price was a bit too much for what you got though...

Also considering a small mirror and a package of small flares. But after a few of these upgrades we're starting to feel more like a Christmas tree than sailors...
Now see?

This to me is the proper attitude:

Try out something, recognize a problem, apply a logical solution.

I had a similar idea to the dive-stick after watching kiteboarders.

You can see those kites easily from miles away, but not the person flying it.

So why not develop a small inflatable kite?

Like the dive stick, it would make the victing MUCH easier to see, and the stronger the wind, the better. Great psychological boost too - hahahaha who doesnt enjoy flying a kite?

Like the personal AIS thing - if hydrostaticaly activated and lashed high on the PFD, it wouldnt require active intervention by a panicked, unskilled victim the way a HHVHF and PLB do.

If you go in the water unconcious, you are DEAD.

End of story.

The whole "save the unconcious victim" thing came out of the old naval battles of WWII:

A ship gets hit by a Kamakazi, its powder magazine blows, the ship sinks, and hundreds of survivors are left bobbing in the sea - some able bodied, some injured, some unconcious from the blast.

Under these circumstances, the boyant collared PFD made sense - many potential rescuers were in the water with the victim, and were trained in basic life support by the military.

An elderly cruising couple (the majority of cruisers are couples, and most qualify for social security) is a different matter:

No one is going into the water to save an unconcious victim - If they do, well, at least they die together I suppose.

Ever wonder why whitewater kayakers dont wear those silly collared life vests?

Whitewater kayakers brave class 5 rapids with rocks flying past at 20 or 30 miles per hour, and they plunge off 8 story waterfalls:



That's Steve Fisher, and he's a world champion, so that not the first big fall he's hucked in his boat.

Notice anything?

That vest wont keep his head above water, but it allows him to SWIM and manuever.

...and like all whitewater kayakers, he wears a HELMET TO PREVENT HEAD INJURIES.

But sailors take the the opposite approach:

Assume your skull is gonna get bashed in by the boom or something, do nothing to prevent getting it bashed in, then design an awkward, cumbersome PFD to keep you alive so you can die of complications from your bashed in skull and exposure rather than drowning.

How stupid can we be?

There is a younger generation coming of age who've grown up wearing helmets in a variety of extreme sports - from skiing, to skateboarding, to motorcycle riding, and they've been pushing the boundries of these sports far beyond what was ever dreamed of by past generations.

Anyone think Fisher is a wimp?

Guys like him are heros to this generation, and thier heros wear safety gear.

They are smart, and they are courageous, and they recognize that safety equipment like helmets allow them to push harder and further with less chance of severe injury or death -

While us sailors remain mired in the hidebound traditions of the past -

And all too often we pay for it with our lives, or with the lives of our crews.

When will we move into the 21st century?

To survive, sailing must continue to attract new participants, and the number one thing I hear from non-sailors is that sailing is "too dangerous".

And they are right given the current attitudes towards safety.

Its needlessly dangerous.
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Old 23-12-2011, 13:07   #103
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Re: Safety of Life at Sea - Life and death matters at sea.

Fortunately my version of simply messing around in boats isn't a sport.
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Old 23-12-2011, 13:09   #104
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Re: Safety of Life at Sea - Life and death matters at sea.

Maybe I should go to the "fat, out of shape sailors" thread and update it to being a positive survival item. Then post the same on the "life raft" thread.

Have to remember to check the harness next year to be sure it is as short as possible to allow proper use. I have always figured that if I go overboard that I have a 90+% chance o being dead afterward/before.
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Old 23-12-2011, 13:16   #105
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Re: Safety of Life at Sea - Life and death matters at sea.

FWIW, I bought a boat with full standing headroom under the Boom - not so much because I feared it would decapitate me and send me overboard, but to prevent me simply walking into it.

I am currently thinking of keeping an inflated liferaft on deck, in which all crew and me would sit 24/7 after leaving port - with modern electronics no problem in controlling the vessel. Can't ever be too safe.

Anyone know if cotton wool is waterproof? and how I can buy in bulk - to wrap boat and me in.........
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